Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Incident at Washington Square

At about 10:40 am Friday, July 24th, I arrived at my layover at Washington Square. I unloaded my passengers, secured the bus, turned it off.

I noticed a small group in developmentally delayed individuals waiting for a different bus. With them, were some chaperones. Just as I stood up from my seat, an autistic male boarded my bus and grabbed my breast. As I was trying to fight him off of me, one of the chaperones was also trying to pull him away from me. Finally he let go, and went to the back of the bus to sit down. 3 of the chaperones went with him and were talking with him and singing to him to try and get him off the bus.

 I got off the bus and used my cell phone to call dispatch. I told the dispatcher what had happened and at that point that the guy was finally getting off my bus. I asked the dispatcher to alert the drivers of the 62 and 56 to be aware of this guy and what he had done. At one point the dispatcher asked if I was okay. My response was a very flip "Well, yeah, as long as I keep telling myself he's autistic and not just some ass."

The dispatcher did make contact with the 62 operator and I was able to speak with the 56 operator. Now, being as this was an assault, police should have responded. Is arresting an autistic guy for grabbing my breast and pulling so hard that he's left bruises the best solution? Maybe, maybe not. BUT THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN CALLED, AND SHOULD HAVE RESPONDED. If nothing else, the police can figure out who is responsible for this guy and notify that person as to what he did. There was no police response, therefor I assume dispatch chose to NOT notify the police.
A road supervisor never made contact with me to get any kind of report or to make sure I was okay.

At 4:40pm when I arrived back at Merlo, I spoke with the Assistant station manager and requested the data pack be pulled, and explained why. He was shocked that merlo HAD NOT BEEN NOTIFIED of the situation. When he called dispatch, he found that dispatch hadn't even opened an incident report.

So, answer me this: Shouldn't dispatchers be required to notify police, a road supervisor and the appropriate garage when an operator is assaulted?

 Back in the 90's when I worked back there, IT WAS STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE to make those notifications and to open an incident report. Was this a dispatcher error? Or is this TriMet's new policy in order to keep the number of assaults reported down?


The Deacon in Blue said...

Yes, this should have been dealt with accordingly. Thanks for posting her account, and here's what I had to say about it.

Al M said...

I actually posted that essay on this blog as a stand alone post

Jason McHuff said...

That's interesting, because at least sometimes it seems that they'll start an incident report when something even minor happens to a rider.

The Deacon in Blue said...

Thanks Al, for BOTH postings. I see Sun Tran drivers in Tucson are on strike for better pay AND safer working conditions. Too bad our right to strike was given away.