DART Armed Security Team Put to Test

DART train | Image by Markus Mainka

More information has become available after a Monday night incident involving one of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s armed security officers briefly halted operations. 

On November 13 at around 7 p.m., a DART security officer on a northbound Red Line train near Walnut Hill Station was allegedly attacked by a passenger flagged for not having a ticket.

“One of [security officers’] duties, of course, is to check for active fares,” explained DART spokesman Gordon Shattles, according to Fox 4 KDFW. “The individual that they approached did not have an active fare; [they] asked that gentleman to leave the train. He unfortunately responded by assaulting our officer.” 

The security officer shot the passenger, later identified as 45-year-old Ivy Mathis, in the arm. 

“About three minutes into the ride, you heard ‘pop pop pop!'” recalled Teresa Stacy, who was riding the train during the incident, according to WFAA. “Really loud, like four shots.”

Mathis was later hospitalized and then booked into Dallas County jail on an assault charge. He had already been cited for riding the trains without a ticket on 16 other occasions.

Mathis’ father, Ivy Mathis Sr., explained that his son had recently been released from prison after serving time for motor vehicle theft. Although he was homeless, he had been working at a fast-food restaurant.

“I was worried about him, you know, getting out and being on the street like that,” Mathis Sr. told Fox 4.

Mathis had already been cited for riding the trains without a ticket on 16 other occasions.

The armed transit security officer was part of a new 100-person team rolled out this summer to shore up passenger safety amid rising concerns in recent months. 

“I can tell you from my interactions, of course, 1) as a rider, and 2) speaking with other passengers, that they have gotten a real benefit to having these additional officers on platforms and trains,” Shattles told CBS Texas. 

Criminality from Dallas itself spills over onto DART trains, yet incidents occurring there are not considered within the Dallas Police Department’s jurisdiction, as previously covered in The Dallas Express. As such, the incident regarding Mathis has been under investigation by the DART Police Department. 

The new team of armed officers actively patrolling trains is taking a page from Fort Worth’s playbook. The city’s downtown area is monitored by a targeted patrol unit working in concert with private security guards. Downtown Fort Worth also sees significantly lower levels of crime than Downtown Dallas, evidence of the challenges posed by the staffing shortage within DPD, as previously covered in The Dallas Express.

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