BART dedicates Office of the Independent Police Auditor


BART dedicates Office of the Independent Police Auditor

New Office Space Dedicated to the Public Interest in honor of
Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson, 16th District

As part of the many changes taking place within the BART Police Department , the agency held a reception today to dedicate the new office space at its Oakland headquarters where BART’s first-ever Office of the Independent Police Auditor will be located.

BART Honors Assemblymember Swanson with Permanent Plaque
BART also used today’s reception to honor Oakland Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson by unveiling a plaque that will be on permanent display that acknowledges his work to sponsoring AB1586, which facilitated the establishment of citizen oversight of BART Police following the tragic officer-involved shooting of passenger Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009 at the Fruitvale BART Station. On July 16, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law. It becomes effective on January 1, 2011.

The engraving recognizes Assemblymember Swanson for his “Committed stewardship to enact legislation to further protect and serve the interest of the public and customers of the BART system.”

“We want to thank Assemblymember Swanson for accepting our request to get the legislative authority to establish citizen oversight of BART Police,” BART Board President James Fang said. “Thanks to Assmemblymember Swanson’s leadership, the bill passed both houses unanimously. After the legislation takes effect on January 1, the Independent Police Auditor and Citizen Board will provide the transparency the public wants and deserves.”

“I am deeply humbled by this dedication,” Swanson said. “This is how a government is supposed to respond when there are very clear concerns expressed by the community. As you know, at times it’s difficult to get things passed in Sacramento, but this bill had the moral high ground. With this unprecedented structure that this bill authorizes, we are doing the important job of restoring public confidence and I’m glad to have been part of the effort.”

“I am proud of the strides we’ve made to improve BART Police services and I too wish to thank Assemblymember Swanson,” BART Board Member Carole Ward Allen said today. Ward Allen chairs the BART Police Department Review Committee, which is overseeing the implementation of the many changes to BART’s policing services. “We held more than 20 public meetings to get community input as we put together one of the strongest citizen oversight structures in the State of California. We promised the public that we would improve our policing services and the dedication of this space is proof that we are delivering on our commitments.”

Nationwide Search Underway for Auditor
BART is in the midst of a nationwide search to select an Independent Police Auditor who will then be responsible for the day-to-day management of the Citizen Board. The selection process, which the BART Police Department Review Committee is leading, will include critical input from a professional peer panel interview, a community panel and final interviews and selection by the BART Board of Directors.

Independent Police Auditor and Citizen Oversight Roles
AB 1586 authorizes BART to: (1) appoint an independent police auditor to conduct important review of specific BART police actions and (2) appoint an 11-member Citizen Board to assist the auditor in oversight of the BART Police Department and recommend appropriate disciplinary action – if necessary.

Citizen oversight is just one in a series of changes, including the hiring of new Police Chief Kenton Rainey in June. BART General Manager Dorothy W. Dugger has laid out clear goals for the new Chief – many of which the department has already started implementing.

They include:

  • Increasing officer visibility on trains, in stations
  • Substantially exceeding the State’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) requirements to ensure officers’ knowledge & skills stay current and well-versed
  • Building trust and establishing long-lasting partnerships with the community
  • Ensuring policies, practices, procedures and best practices are regularly updated