Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess Issues Statement Regarding Recent Arrest Of Atomic City Transit Bus Driver

Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess
 
By HARRY BURGESS
Los Alamos County Manager

I would like to take this opportunity to address the community regarding the recent arrest of Atomic City Transit bus driver Joseph Dimas on charges of criminal sexual contact of a minor and enticement of a minor.

Atomic City Transit has been valued as an integral part of our transportation system for over a decade. Providing safe, reliable transportation options in our community is one of our county’s goals, and giving our riders prompt, courteous service is our mission. On a daily basis, thousands of residents and visitors trust ACT to transport them safely to and from work, school and recreational activities in Los Alamos and White Rock.

The term “safety” applies to the infrastructure of our transit system: the condition and maintenance of our buses, our consideration in choosing the best, cost effective routes and bus stops, and scheduling ACT staff training for on-going certifications and driving classes. However, the term “safety” applies to the rider’s experience, too – from the time they step onto our buses until their departure at their designated bus stop.

We hold all of our County employees to a high standard of customer service, public safety practices and professionalism – in fact, all County departments recently completed new Customer Service Standards training, based on recommendations developed by an internal employee review team. Every other year, employees are mandated to receive Anti-Harassment training and we have just completed those training sessions. In addition, Atomic City Transit drivers undergo background checks, a process which was completed prior to hiring Mr. Dimas.

Simply stated: we provide training, tools and processes that are in place to emphasize and safeguard members of our community, especially children. Our ACT drivers are one of our most visible “faces” in Los Alamos and White Rock, moving about and interacting with riders daily.

While the investigation is underway, I would ask that the community continue to support Atomic City Transit, which consistently receives high marks in citizen surveys. In the May 2016 survey, 93 percent of the population rated the quality of their experience with ACT either Excellent or Good. 72 percent of respondents who stated they have used ACT reported having children, and transport of children and teens to various after school programs, the Y, teen center, library, parks and other sports/recreational facilities is one of the top uses of the bus system.

We will continue to evaluate our processes and staff training, and take action to address any situation that arises with appropriate disciplinary action. We know that the community holds our employees to a higher standard, with an expectation that we are good stewards of your taxpayer dollars, county property, and thoughtful care and consideration of every customer at every age. We take the allegations against Joseph Dimas very seriously, and we are working in full cooperation with LAPD on the police investigation. Please know that our Atomic City Transit drivers share the community’s concerns about this recent situation. They are proud of our bus system, its remarkable service history and the role that they play in making it a success, and they will continue to strive to promote the highest standards of care, quality and professional service to you, our customers.         

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