OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ A bus driver who has carried handcuffs to use on unruly passengers may lose his job if he makes any more citizens arrests, even though his actions have been praised by police.

Mike Movsessian, 45, a veteran driver for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, three weeks ago handcuffed and arrested a 14-year-old boy who smashed a bus window.

''I'm a law-abiding citizen who believes passengers should have a safe ride,'' he said Tuesday. ''I don't tolerate any disruptions. I have a civic duty to come to people's help.''

But a Jan. 13 letter from a transit operations superintendent said Movsessian, a former reserve deputy for the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department, failed to ''exercise self control'' and ''maintain a courteous attitude'' toward the youth.

''We don't expect drivers to be cops,'' said District spokesman Mike Mills. ''We expect them to call the cops. The district also does not condone the carrying of restraining devices by drivers.''

Transit officials say Movsessian has been a model driver but have threatened to suspend him for five days.

The district also has warned that he may be fired for making any more citizens' arrests, contending such action violates a long-held policy barring bus drivers from physical confrontations with passengers.

In his 12 years as a driver, Movsessian says he has been involved in a half-dozen citizen's arrests, including the capture of two robbers, a purse snatcher and a graffiti artist.

He also claims to have kicked more than 50 people off buses for harassing other passengers, smoking, eating and being too noisy.

Sgt. David Krauss, an administrative assistant to Oakland Police Chief George Hart, said Movsessian was awarded a police commendation for two of the arrests.

''Under the law, anyone has a right to make a citizen's arrest,'' Krauss said.