BPD takes comprehensive look at enforcement data, embraces enhanced training


BPD takes comprehensive look at enforcement data, embraces enhanced training

The BART Police Department has compiled its quality-of-life enforcement demographic data to look for potential racial disparities in enforcement.  Quality of life issues include fare enforcement, public intoxication, smoking, aggressive panhandling and similar violations.  BPD has been at the forefront of collecting and analyzing enforcement demographic data. BPD previously reached out to the Center for Policing Equity, a nationally known research and action think tank, for a study of the data. The report will be finalized in the coming months.

In December 2019, BART Director Janice Li requested BART staff present demographic data on quality of life citations and contacts. The review is supported by new BART Police Chief Ed Alvarez and is consistent with his safety vision, which includes a renewed commitment to transparency and community policing. The data will be presented at the February 27th, BART Board of Directors meeting. The presentation is available to the public here

“As the Chief of the BART Police Department I have made it a priority that we continue to build a culture of progressive and equitable policing,” said Chief Alvarez.  “We must examine these findings and better understand why they exist and how they relate to the homeless crisis that often leads to quality of life enforcements.”

BPD has been proactive in training officers to avoid racial profiling. Training exceeds state standards. Starting in 2015, all officers received fair and impartial policing training.  All personnel who join the department are required to complete that training as well as to take a refresher course every two years.

“My officers work hard every day to keep our system safe and serve our community,” said Chief Alvarez.  “They receive extensive training that reinforces our commitment to progressive policing. Layers of oversight have been added, and to date, no officer has ever been sustained for any allegation of racial profiling by the Office of Internal Affairs or the Office of the Independent Police Auditor.”

“BPD is showing its commitment to progressive policing by embracing training that prioritizes racial equity,” said BART Independent Police Auditor Russell Bloom.  “This training is consistent with the goals of the BART Citizen Oversight Model and shows that the department understands that building trust with the communities BART serves is a priority.”

BART establishing interdisciplinary group to participate in race and equity training series

BART is also announcing it will participate in the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) training series to advance systematic racial equity and opportunities for all.  GARE supports agencies that are at the forefront of advancing racial equity.  This effort stretches across the agency as members of eight BART departments have committed to a year-long training which will focus on skill building, strategic development and connecting with impacted community members.  The Office of the Independent Police Auditor played a leading role in bringing this training to the District.

Center for Policing Equity Report to be finalized by summer

BPD is reviewing the draft of the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) study. The report was presented to the department in December and BPD will respond by March 2nd.  The final draft of the report will be ready by Summer 2020 when the findings will be presented to the Board.  BPD began its relationship with the CPE in 2012 and entered into this study voluntarily.

The BART Police Department strives to reflect the diversity of the Bay Area.  Nationally less than 30% of police officers are minorities according to Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics. But at BPD 61% of the rank and file are minorities.