Keeping STA Secure For 25 Years
STA Transit Officer Mike DeConto – A People-Person At Heart
Mike DeConto is always looking for trouble. He rarely finds any, which is fine with him. As an STA Transit Officer, his job is keeping people using STA services and facilities safe.
During the coronavirus emergency his focus has expanded to keeping them healthy.
DeConto’s workday begins at 5 a.m. when he arrives to open the STA Plaza. There are already people waiting to catch buses, wanting to come in and pick up a bus schedule or in need of assistance that DeConto is always happy to provide.
“I enjoy working with people, especially those with disabilities,” he said. “Helping them feel safe and get where they need to go — that’s my favorite part of this job.” DeConto’s work is diverse.
He’ll guide customers to where they can catch their bus, educate people on how to read a bus schedule, provide directions to a variety of downtown destinations and even direct those in need to the appropriate service providers.
“We handle every person and situation on a case-by-case basis,” he said. “If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. We even have a list of community resources to give people if they need help getting food, shelter, medical care or just about any other service available in the area.”
But as much as DeConto thrives on the customer relations aspects of his job, his priority is to assure that STA’s customers stay safe and secure. He and the rest of STA’s security team respond immediately to any medical emergency or security incident taking place in or around the Plaza, at other STA properties or onboard the buses. Thanks to constant training and positive attitudes, they’re experts at de-escalation.
“I’m not just walking around here looking pretty,” DeConto said. “This uniform I’m wearing means that STA takes safety and security seriously. Helping people is what we do.”
That seriousness has intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19. Enhanced safety measures have been put in place, causing some elements of the security team’s focus to shift in new directions.
For example, due to the coronavirus emergency, the Plaza has become a walk-through-only facility and a directive from the regional health officer requires facial coverings to be worn in public places like the Plaza and on buses.
“There’s never more than a handful of people inside. They come in to check the monitors for bus information and move on,” DeConto said. “We want to keep people safe and healthy during the outbreak.”
During the coronavirus emergency, STA’s Security staff has been conducting more mobile patrols along the bus routes and at STA’s Park & Ride lots.
In total, STA’s Security Team is made up of 11 STA Transit Officers, plus contracted security and on-site Spokane Police officers.
In his 25-year security career at STA, DeConto has learned that some things never change, even during a pandemic. He still has to keep an eye out for violations of STA’s Rules of Conduct.
“Our security officers really help people to be safe and secure when they’re on STA properties,” DeConto said. “That’s what I love about this job.”