BART announces new community policing policy

February 14, 2012 6:36:09 PM PST
BART police have announced a new strategy to help officers get to know the people who ride the trains. They say it's a plan that will keep passengers and officers safe.

BART is taking its community policing philosophy to the next level, dividing the entire system into zones. They are also applying another policing strategy called community oriented policing problem solving (COPPS). BART police hope to build better relationships with riders and the communities around the stations.

The system spans 104 miles and four counties, but it is now broken down into five zones, with one lieutenant and a handful of officers taking responsibility for each of them.

"The passengers will feel safer as we go forward," BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said.

Rainey says the goal is more quality interaction between officers and passengers, and getting to the root of problems rather than just the symptoms.

"This is something I have definitely done at a number of agencies I've worked at; I know this strategy works," Rainey said.

The change to zone policing comes as part of 127 recommendations in the Noble Report, an audit after the shooting of passenger Oscar Grant by BART officer Johannes Mehserle. Last July, a knife-wielding transient was killed by a BART officer.

BART police warn change happens more slowly than many people would like.

"It's not overnight, this isn't something that's just going to 'poof, magic wand' change everything overnight, it's a process," BART Deputy Police Chief Ben Fairow said. "Long time getting where we're, it's going to be a long time getting to where we're going."

BART riders won't necessarily see more officers on the platforms, but when they do see them, hopefully it will be a better quality interaction.


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