DENVER (CBS4)– A resolution to replace the Regional Transportation District’s contract security guards with social workers and mental health professionals failed to pass out of committee Tuesday night. Shontel Lewis introduced the resolution in June and was the only RTD director to vote in favor of the measure.
The resolution called for RTD to terminate its contract with Allied Security and reallocate the $27.3 million in funding for social workers, medical professionals and homeless outreach.READ MORE: 'You Look Good Today. Want Snacks?': Artificial Intelligence Learns To Flirt Thanks To Colorado Scientist Janelle Shane
The main driver’s union said eliminating all contracted guards could put passengers’ and drivers’ lives in danger.
“Operators are feeling physically threatened, as a matter of fact, they are being physically threatened,” said Lance Longenbohn, President of ATU 1001, “They get spat on, drinks thrown at them. We don’t know if providing mental health and social services to offenders is RTD’s job, but we are certain it is their job to keep their bus and train operators safe.”READ MORE: Colorado Weather: Rain Expected With Snow Soon To Follow
Lewis said the assault of man inside Union Station by Allied guards in 2018 is one reason why she proposed the resolution.
“If it’s an issue you need security for, a criminal response, that’s who responds to that. But if you have someone who is having a mental health crisis, we don’t want to send a security guard there,” Lewis said to CBS4 in June.
The proposal did not cut funding for RTD’s own police force. Some RTD board members suggested Lewis revise the proposal to clarify how the $27 million would be spent.MORE NEWS: April Is Autism Awareness Month, And Denver's Firefly Autism Is Working On 'Changing The Narrative'