He says he was sprayed twice with bears, had a gun waved at him, and was attacked with a knife – all in the first seven weeks he worked for Edmonton Transit Service security.
A local man tells of his experience and he showed a bag of paperwork to back up his claims.
“The young lady hit me with her bag… 0300 in the morning when I was given bear spray,” the man said, leafing through the witness statements he gave to the Edmonton Police Department.
CTV News Edmonton has agreed not to name him for security reasons. He has been in the security industry for decades and was recently hired, through a contractor, to monitor LRT stations.
“The city just wants us to observe and report,” he said. “It’s the worst because we can’t do anything.”
He tells of the time he tried to protect a lady who asked a man to stop vandalizing city properties.
“She had said something to him about getting smarter. And he says, ‘Would you like to say that?’ And then you know he sprayed her. I really tried to stop him and I got a short punch in the face,” he recalls.
He also says he saw a gun at work.
“It was real and it was loaded.”
And he said he was attacked with a knife once.
“If it hadn’t been for my vest, he would have stabbed me.”
Administering NARCAN to people who had overdosed or intoxicated with opioids also occurred several times a day, he said, especially on night shifts.
“After 0130 you don’t do security anymore, you are babysitting. You have to watch out for these people.”
He said that not all the people he dealt with were homeless, but many of them were gang members.
When he contacted CTV News Edmonton about what he was experiencing, he said, “I was suspended and removed from all ETS sites.”
His employer said he was not suspended for those reasons, but a spokesperson declined to comment further.
The guard hopes to get back to work, but he wants to see some changes.
These include: only allowing people who buy train tickets into the stations, stronger enforcement around loitering rules, and guards working in large numbers with peace officers.
CTV News Edmonton contacted the City of Edmonton for a specific answer to this story.
ADD CITY OFFICERS, SOCIAL WORK TEAMS
On Thursday, the mayor released a statement on transportation safety and said 21 new transit police officers are currently being hired.
“Let me be clear: illegal activities are not welcome on our transit system. There is no tolerance for violence or threatening behaviour,” wrote Amarjeet Sohi.
He added that he believes the root causes of crime in and around transit centers are complex and require more help from the provincial government to address.
The city is also adding more Community Outreach Transit Teams specializing in mental health, addiction and housing.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Joe Scarpelli