A state Senator and former NYPD captain wants city bus drivers, subway conductors and other transit workers armed with Tasers to protect themselves in the wake of a steadily increasing number of assaults.
Bus drivers and subway workers were attacked 94 times in 2011, up from 72 such incidents that year before. Harassment was also up.
Sen. Eric Adams believes his proposal to arm transit workers with stun guns and train them appropriately would cut down on such incidents and protect other riders in the process.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 supports Adams’ proposal, but the MTA and NYPD are less than enthusiastic about arming civilians with Tasers, according to the Daily News.
MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota told the News protecting transit personnel is a key priority “in everything we do,” but “the proposed legislation is the wrong way to go about protecting MTA employees.”
“Asking them to carry weapons would cross the line into law enforcement, a function that is best left to NYPD,” Lhota added.
Regular NYPD officers aren’t even allowed to carry Tasers. Only sergeants and members of the Emergency Service Unit are permitted to carry the weapons.
A previous version of Adams’ proposal that excluded bus drivers stalled in a Senate committee, but the senator thought extending the Taser privilege to that group might propel it forward.
New Yorkers had mixed reactions to the proposal. Some felt it was an appropriate measure, given the rise in assaults on transit workers, but others felt it would only be a matter of time before one armed bus driver snapped and used the Taser in the wrong situation.
“Let’s say they Tase a little old lady when they are having a bad day,” one Brooklyn resident told the News.
Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Sign up for email newsletters here. Get breaking news delivered right to your phone -- just text NYBREAKING to 639710. For more info, text HELP. To end, text STOP. Message and data rates may apply.