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RTD Director Proposes Replacing Armed Security Guards with Social Workers

The Regional Transportation District would cancel its contract with Allied Universal Security, whose guards assaulted a Denver artist, under a proposed resolution that seeks to remove most armed officers from trains and transit stations.

The move would be among the most drastic steps taken by a U.S. transit agency in response to activists’ nationwide calls to defund police. The resolution cites concern about security officers’ run-ins with the homeless, people of color and other disadvantaged groups, and it would direct RTD to hire outreach workers — including professionals with mental-health training — to replace them.

But ahead of its first formal hearing at a committee on Tuesday, Director Shontel Lewis’ proposal is drawing some skepticism on RTD’s elected board, as well as concerns about safety from the operators’ union.

Lewis said she was motivated not only by the severe beating of Raverro Stinnett inside a Union Station bathroom in 2018, but also by this summer’s demonstrations calling for law enforcement reform.