Why do Sound Transit police sometimes park in the Capitol Hill Station entrance?
We've noticed your questions about police/security vehicles parked inside the Capitol Hill Station entrances. Here's why this sometimes happens.
Sound Transit Police occasionally park in the entrance areas when large crowds are anticipated or if police believe there may be the possibility that station entrances will need to be closed due to public disturbances. If the gates come down, police cannot be separated from their vehicles.
"Police and security officers have everything they need inside their vehicles to address any situation," said Sound Transit Director of Public Safety Ken Cummins. "You could create an unsafe situation if officers are on one side of the gate and their vehicles are on the other."
Sound Transit Police, who are King County Sheriff’s employees, took this step last Saturday as a precaution in case planned demonstrations downtown led to disruptions that required the station to temporarily close. Thankfully, this did not happen.
Sound Transit Police have reviewed where the vehicles were parked on Saturday and will adjust their placement in the future to ensure the vehicles do not impede the flow of passengers through the entrance areas.
"Our intent was good, but we created a problem," said Sound Transit Chief of Police Rob Mendel. "Sometimes it is necessary to park inside a station. However, we'll do so in a manner that does not impede riders."
Decisions that may disrupt service at our stations are not made lightly. The safety of our riders is our top priority.
Any request to close a station for safety reasons are subject to the procedures put in place following the January Sea-Tac/Airport Station closure at the request of Port of Seattle Police. Requests by law enforcement to disrupt rail or bus service, except for an immediate and serious threat, are quickly reviewed by senior leadership before actions are taken.
Having a police presence at the stations as we did Saturday can help keep the system running safely and smoothly for our riders.