BART'S top cop to have auditor assess reforms

June 19, 2013 11:48:55 AM PDT
BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey is bringing in a national auditor to assess reforms imposed since the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant. Rainey says he wants to make sure BART police get the help they need to improve rider safety, increase visibility and provide proper training to employees.

"I think the department has made a lot of progress, but we certainly have a long way to go," said Rainey.

Rainey said its time for a progress report; he's calling in the man who last reviewed BART in 2009, Patrick Oliver, who gave the department a negative 300 page report full of suggestions.

"I would say we definitely have done the majority of the reforms and as far our progress, I'm going to leave that up to the assessors," said Rainey.

The review was commissioned in 2009 after Oscar Grant was shot and killed by former BART officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station. ABC7 News asked BART passengers to rate the department's performance since the shooting.

"I think they have done a lot better as far as response goes and how they handle everything better," said Brandon Ellis of San Leandro.

Some passengers said they hardly ever see BART police, which disappointed the chief.

"As an agency we have done so many things in the past three years to increase our visibility. Our officers are required to do at least four train rides a day," said Rainey.

The chief can identify areas that need improvement without the help of an auditor. For example, he was disappointed in the response to the 16th Street station incident in San Francisco last month when a naked man was lunging at and attacking passengers. It took BART police eight minutes to respond. But he can also point to improvements, like the fact that officers now wear cameras and record interactions with passengers, but he thinks an outside set of eyes is important.

Rainey said he owes this to the commuters and the Grant family. The review will start in July with a report possibly coming in September.