"We are here to help"

Transit Officer and Systems Security Specialist Tom Barber has been with Spokane Transit for six years, following a 12-year career as a Police Officer starting at the Spokane Police Department and then the Eastern Washington University Police Department.

“The job of a Transit Officer is to help ensure a safe and secure environment for all our passengers and employees,” said Barber.

Since the COVID-19 came into the picture, Barber’s role in maintaining safety at STA has expanded to include new responsibilities.

“Since the pandemic, many people’s routines are turned upside down, so security professionals are more important than ever as a public resource,” Barber said.

“The public tends to look to positions of authority for guidance during a crisis, and we are here to help if anything goes astray.”

Barber now spends his mornings helping his team ensure that everyone coming to the STA offices receives a daily health screening, including a temperature check. The health screenings are an extra safety precaution to help ensure that employees stay healthy and get tested if they are presenting symptoms.

“I get to start my day by seeing everyone in my area first thing in the morning,” said Barber. “Everyone is very willing to cooperate, which makes the job easy. It gives me a good start to my day.”

Amidst the new challenges of the current health crisis, Barber continues his core responsibilities. One of his duties includes processing requests for security footage of STA facilities and vehicles for the public, authorized STA staff members, and the police.

“My typical workday is busy. I like being busy,” said Barber. “I’ll receive anywhere from 10 to 20 video requests throughout the day.”

When the footage of an event is needed quickly, Barber will drive to the location of a bus or facility involved to download the footage immediately.

Whether he is helping ensure safety in the face of the pandemic or his primary role as a Transit Officer, Barber expresses gratitude for his colleagues.

“I like to remember that we are all in this together, both in our jobs and with COVID-19. I try not to forget that,” Barber said. “I always like to think we are all on a team, and we work as a team to keep STA running. As good as it is here, we could not do our work without a team effort.”

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