Members of both the BART Police Department Review Committee and the subcommittee formed to focus on designing a draft model for citizen oversight of the BART Police Department met with the public on Friday, May 15. The evening meeting at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission auditorium focused on discussing a draft model of BART Police citizen oversight.
Several dozen community members commented on the draft model, which incorporated elements from various citizens oversight review boards including ones in Boise, Idaho; Richmond, Sacramento and San Jose. The goal is to come up with a final model that best meets the needs of both BART and the community.
"The purpose was to give everybody a chance to share the vision," BART Board Member Carole Ward Allen said. Ward Allen chairs the BART Police Department Review Committee. "We want to have everybody at the table in order to make sure we're moving in the right direction so that this is a win-win for everybody."
The draft model consisted of an Independent Police Auditor and a Citizens Advisory Board. Both had the responsibility to review allegations of unnecessary or excessive use of force, hate crimes, racial profiling and allegations of racially abusive treatment. The Auditor would conduct independent investigations of such allegations. The Auditor also would review statistical data and conduct trends and pattern analyses and in conjunction with the Citizens Advisory Board, recommend policy and procedural changes. Some members of the public who attended the meeting asked that the Citizens Advisory Board receive more powers.
"We want to put some teeth behind the citizens part of this and once we do that I think it will be a good model," BART Board Member and Police Department Review Committee Member Lynette Sweet said. "The more input we get the more likely we will end up with a model that we all want."
The BART Board hopes to approve a model before the end of summer. "After we create it, we will continually evaluate it and keep what's good and throw out what's bad because we want to make it the best it can be," Ward Allen said.
Video from the May 15 meeting can be found at BARTtv.