BART directors at odds regarding chief search

BART is in the midst of selecting a new chief for its police force, and members of the transit agency’s board of directors are making their pitch to be heavily involved in the selection process.

BART’s embattled police chief, Gary Gee, resigned in August, following heavy criticism for his handling of the New Year’s Day shooting of Oscar Grant III, an unarmed passenger who was killed by former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle on the platform of the Fruitvale station.

The 206-person police force has been led by Cmdr. Maria White in the interim, but BART is aiming to find a permanent replacement for Gee by early next year, ideally in April, spokeswoman Luna Salaver said.

BART board member Lynette Sweet, who also sits on the agency’s Police Review Committee, which was formed in the wake of Grant’s death, said it’s imperative that she and fellow members are involved in the process, particularly since the police force is once again dealing with use-of-force issues. On Nov. 21, a BART police officer was caught on video slamming an unruly passenger into a platform window, shattering the glass.

While BART general manager Dorothy Dugger ultimately has the final say in the police chief hire, Sweet said that board members should be able to vet the choices before any decision is made.

“I think there should be more people involved — the more eyes the better,” Sweet said. “The current system of our police department is broken, and our staff needs all the help they can get to fix it.”

Salaver said that Dugger plans to consult the BART board, but member Tom Radulovich countered that the general manager has been “kicking and screaming against a search model that is more inclusive.”

“This process has continued the tension that’s been going on all year here,” Radulovich said. “It’s the agency’s control-freak tendency against the public’s right to know.”

Both Sweet and Radulovich said they’d like a new chief who is experienced with the Bay Area’s diverse culture and is comfortable in both urban and suburban settings. Radulovich said he’d prefer a chief who is a strong advocate for the police officers, a trait that was missing during Gee’s tenure, when, according to an independent report, BART’s police facilities fell into their current dilapidated state.

“We need to find the right person, and I don’t think you can rush this,” Radulovich said. “But right now, our police department is in shambles.”

 

Patrolling for candidates

Police chief search timeline*:

Present–Dec. 11: Develop recruitment profile

Dec. 3: Survey tool posted online so public can weigh in

Dec. 8–Feb. 1: Open recruitment for new chief

Feb. 1–26: Review résumés, conduct screening interviews

Week of March 15: Background check of finalists

Week of March 29: Final selection of chief

April 26: Police chief starts

*Proposed — still subject to change.
Source: BART

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

Just Posted

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

National Weather Service flood watch in the San Francisco Bay Area for Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (National Weather Service via Bay City News)
Storm pounds Bay Area, leaving over 145,000 without power: Closures and updates

Torrential rainfall causes flooding, triggers evacuations in burn areas

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
Plan Bay Area 2050: Analyzing an extensive regional plan that covers the next 30 years

Here are the big ticket proposals in the $1.4 trillion proposal

A collaborative workspace for a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in Coordinape is pictured at a recent blockchain meet up at Atlas Cafe. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Business without bosses: San Francisco innovators battle bureaucracy with blockchain

‘The next generation will work for three DAOs at the same time’

Most Read