Dallas Area Rapid Transit is adding Charles Cato as its new chief of police after an extensive search, according to an Aug. 18 release from the agency.

Cato, who holds a Masters of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas and almost 33 years of experience in law enforcement leadership positions, will be responsible for DART’s police department, which consists of 250 licensed police officers, 110 fare enforcement officers and 67 support staff members. He will also oversee the department’s security services and current and future emergency preparedness initiatives. Cato is set begin work with the department on Sept. 6, according to the release.

“His exemplary background in law enforcement, as well as his experience in developing and expanding cross-agency collaborations, provides our police department and the entire agency fresh perspectives for enhancing security in the transit system as we continue to serve the residents of the North Texas region,” said Nadine S. Lee, DART president & CEO.

DART’s police department serves the city’s transit system independently and subordinately from city law enforcement agencies. The department’s officers have the same privileges, rights, obligations and duties as other police officers, such as making arrests. DART officers made four arrests in 2021 and two arrests this year at Lake Highlands Station and nine arrests in 2021 and 11 arrests this year at SMU/Mockingbird Station near Lakewood.

The total number of arrests for the entire transit system was 131 in July and 119 in June, according to data released by DART. In an effort to keep arrest numbers decreasing, Cato said he will enact a number of emergency preparedness initiatives to better serve the public.

“I look forward to continuing the DART Police Department’s community oriented policing efforts so that we can build and expand on the strong bonds we have developed with both our service area cities, as well as the citizens we serve,” said Cato.