Cops crack down on bad behavior at Renton Transit Center

RENTON, Wash. - Starting Wednesday, police are cracking down on bad behavior at the city's Transit Center - from people smoking and drinking to feeding the birds.

It's part of an emphasis program - some people like it, but others say it's not fair.

Police are enforcing a slew of rules - and some don't like it because some of these rules are things that may not be illegal in other places. But here in the Transit Center and on buses - they are.

One Renton police officer stops a high-schooler driving his motorized scooter too fast on the sidewalk, while another makes sure people don't jaywalk.

They are cracking down on anyone who breaks the rules at the city's Transit Center - from smoking to littering - so people like Laura Johnson can wait for the bus in peace.

"I don't like watching people spit - it's nasty," she says. "I don't litter here; I don't break the rules, and I don't appreciate people who do."

Police say their crackdown comes after recent shootings in and near the Transit Center - like one just a couple weeks ago in which investigators say somebody shot and killed a 20-year-old woman during a fight in Liberty Park.

That's why Michelle Washington says she doesn't mind the cops telling people what not to do.

"Gang activities and a lot of shootings," she says. "I think they should be enforced a little bit more."

But for others like Duane Lyons, the tough enforcement seems like overkill. He thinks police shouldn't be able to tell him he can't ride his bike or skateboard or feed the birds.

"Their stops are subjective - they stop who they want to stop," he says.

But others like Richard Frame say he appreciates the stepped-up enforcement because it is forcing out hoodlums.

"Sometimes I go to another bus stop because they act like predators down here," he says.

However, both Frame and Lyons agree with rules against loitering, alcohol and drugs.

And it makes people like Laura Johnson feel safe.