Milwaukee's transit guards spend little time on buses

Contract expected 85% of guards' time on buses, but guards spend less than 3% of time there

Even Guardian Angels volunteers in red berets helped in the last year, but drivers prefer sworn law enforcement officers because "when you've got someone on there with a gun (who) can arrest people, that's huge," he said.

The Sheriff's Department sends the union reports that show deputies are riding buses every day, often issuing tickets, following up with schools about problems with student riders and focusing their efforts on the most troublesome routes, Bassler said. It's not clear from those reports exactly how much time the Wackenhut officers are spending on buses, he said.

On another security issue, Bassler said bulletproof shields will soon be installed around drivers' seats on about 25 buses, something the union has long pressed for. Union representatives will work with transit managers to determine the routes where the shields can best be used, he said.

Wackenhut was paid $1.13 million last year for a staff of 30. That includes 20 security officers and 10 managers.

The audit found no problems with the way security officers dealt with minorities or issues of cultural diversity. County supervisors asked for that review based on some reported problems.

Wackenhut officials didn't return a phone call late Wednesday.

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)