BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey's column on moving the community forward


BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey's column on moving the community forward

Last year, President Obama called upon the nation to take a hard look at how police officers interact with and support their local communities, inviting experts and leaders from Maine to California to submit best practices on growing community trust and public understanding.

This initiative, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, extended to me the honor of presenting BART’s efforts to achieve these goals last weekend, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to hold BART PD up as an example.

Chief Kenton Rainey (right) making presentation on panel

I explained the challenges we’ve faced and have worked to overcome, plainly discussing the loss of confidence in our department following the Oscar Grant incident in 2009. I didn’t sugar coat the anger and raw feelings; understanding the community’s perspective is a key part of any equation with a healing solution.

Most significantly, I detailed how BART became one of the first law enforcement agencies in the country to implement a comprehensive body camera program—this in conjunction with a 25-point reform plan from the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).

It is important for law enforcement agencies to demonstrate transparency, respect, and dignity when interacting with citizens to whom they have sworn an oath to serve and protect. Public trust is not easily mended once it is lost. BPD is committed to repairing the rift, and body cameras provide an opportunity to showcase how far we have come in our reform efforts and our commitment to constitutional policing principles.

It is my hope that our efforts and recommendations can assist other law enforcement agencies across the country in implementing and integrating this technology with their operations. Finally, I would like to praise the efforts of the members of the Task Force, because I am confident their findings will exceed the President's expectations when they are presented this coming March.  

Image: BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey (right) gives a presentation as part of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Photo courtesy of the DOJ's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.