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Media Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 25, 2007

For more information contact:

Chuck Marsalisi, Commander, Renton Police Department 425-430-7640
Suzanne Dale Estey, Economic Development Director 425-430-6591
Marty Wine, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer 425-430-6526
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director 425-430-6569

LA ‘VIDA’ RENTON

Security Officers to Provide Visitor Information and Downtown Assistance (VIDA) in Renton

Starting this November, the City of Renton will launch VIDA - Visitor Information and Downtown Assistance, a pilot program where the city will provide uniformed private security officers with a goal to make the Renton Transit Center in downtown Renton a better, safer and friendlier place.  The city has signed a contract with Securitas Security Services Inc., who will provide two officers on foot and bicycle patrol, six days a week from 2:00 pm -10:00 pm.

“We have a thriving community downtown with unique retail shops, great restaurants, residential units, and open spaces,” said Renton Mayor Kathy Keolker. “As more and more people choose to visit and live downtown, VIDA will help ensure that downtown Renton continues to be a wonderful, safe place for residents and visitors alike. Our objective is to create a friendlier and safer environment for people living, working, shopping, and visiting here."

The VIDA officers will serve as the eyes and ears of downtown by providing hospitality and public safety services, reporting vandalism and graffiti, deterring criminal activity and extending a helping hand when needed to Renton businesses, citizens and visitors.  Their presence and services will help create a welcoming atmosphere in downtown Renton. They will provide the visitors, businesses and the general public with information about downtown, patrol and monitor the area around the Renton Transit Center, observe and report incidents or suspicious activities, and respond to emergencies. 

"The presence of the VIDA officers will bolster our work around the Renton Transit Center and help us maintain an increasingly safe downtown for residents, workers, shoppers, and visitors," says Denis Law, Chair, Public Safety Committee, Renton City Council  "The City Council will be anxious to review the effectiveness of this program following the three-month trial period.”

As part of its strategy to identify concerns and implement solutions pertaining to safety and security at the Renton Transit Center, the City of Renton established the Transit Center Solutions Group in 2005. The group consists of representatives from the city, Renton School District, downtown businesses representatives, Metro Operations, Metro Transit Police and the King County Sheriff’s Office. The city has already implemented several of the group’s recommendations including installation of cameras, increased video surveillance, increased signage and installation of benches, relocation of bus stops to avoid crowding, removal of kiosks to reduce clutter, and improved coordination between Metro Transit Police and the Renton Police Department.  For a limited trial period in January and September 2007, King County also funded the services of private security guards.

The Renton City Council approved a three-month contract with Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. in the amount of $28,957.39.  Following this period, the city will evaluate the effectiveness of this pilot effort and make recommendations for a long-term program. The VIDA officers will wear distinctive, recognizable black and yellow uniforms with the program logo easily identifiable.