BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger has offered its police chief post to former Fairfield Police Chief Kenton Rainey, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said today.
However, Rainey is undergoing a state-mandated background check so he won’t be officially hired for another week or two, Johnson said.
Rainey and BART have agreed on a salary and have signed a contract, according to Johnson.
Rainey, 51, was police chief in Fairfield from April 2007 to September 2009 and currently is the commander of San Antonio’s airport police division.
A native of Chicago, Rainey worked for the Ventura County sheriff’s office for 23 years before leaving as a captain in May 2002.
He was the superintendent of patrol operations in Dayton, Ohio, which is the department’s No. 3 job, from June 2002 to April 2004 and was the patrol operations captain in Whittier, which is that department’s No. 2 job, from April 2004 to April 2007.
BART’s police department has been under scrutiny since former officer Johannes Mehserle killed unarmed train rider Oscar Grant III at the Fruitvale station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009, after Mehserle and other officers responded to reports there had been a fight on a train.
Former BART Police Chief Gary Gee announced his retirement last August. He went on medical leave in September but returned to his post in December for a few weeks and his last day on the job was Dec. 30.
Former Berkeley Police Chief Daschel Butler has been serving as interim police chief since Gee left.
Retired Fairfield city manager Kevin O’Rourke, who currently is interim city manager in Stockton, said today that, “BART is lucky” to have Rainey as its police chief.
O’Rourke said Rainey inherited “a very difficult situation” when he came to Fairfield because there had been a spike in violent crime but he helped engineer “a major drop” in crime.
He said he hired Rainey “because we were looking for somebody to bring a community policing model to our town” and Rainey had extensive experience in community policing when he worked in Whittier and Dayton.
O’Rourke said Rainey “was very adroit in dealing with racial and ethnic issues” in Fairfield.
Donna Garcia, a retired police support supervisor in Fairfield, said a number of police chiefs in Fairfield had talked about community policing but Rainey was the first chief to really implement it.
Garcia said Rainey “had thousands of meetings with community, business and social groups.”
She said Rainey “stayed in touch with people and had an open door policy.”
Garcia said Rainey “is a very soft and humble plan but he puts his ideas in place and expects you to do your job.”
She said Rainey has been considering the BART job since shortly after Gee announced his retirement and is looking forward to returning to the Bay Area because his family is still here.
Johnson said Rainey “is known for his community outreach and that’s what we’re looking for here.”
“We’re looking to be more community-oriented and we want a leader who embraces that concept,” Johnson said.