BART officials swore in three new deputy police chiefs today in a move recommended by outside police experts following the fatal shooting of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III at the hands of BART Officer Johannes Mehserle two years ago.
BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, or NOBLE, which issued a critical report about the transit agency’s police department, recommended that deputy chiefs be hired to streamline the department’s management structure.
Grant was fatally shot on the platform of the Fruitvale Station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009, by Mehserle, who claimed that he had meant to use a Taser on Grant instead of his service gun. Mehserle was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the shooting.
The department previously had two commanders that served under the chief. The commanders were union employees, but the deputy chiefs will not belong to the police union.
Rainey said NOBLE believed that “it was important to reorganize the department so that commanders aren’t overloaded with work.”
He said one deputy chief will be in charge of operations, one will head professional standards and training, and one will be in charge of support services.
The deputy chiefs were selected after a nationwide search. They are Benson Fairnow, Janeith Glenn-Davis and Daniel Hartwig.
Fairow has been with the Oakland Police Department for 21 years and has spent the last five years as a captain.
Glenn-Davis, who has 26 years of law enforcement experience, was with the Oakland Police Department for 17 years and has been the Chief of Police for the California State University, East Bay Police Department for the past eight years.
Hartwig has served in BART’s police department for more than 28 years and has been its security programs manager.
More than 100 people attended the swearing-in ceremony at the auditorium at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s headquarters in Oakland, including Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and top officials at the Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Among the speakers was BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger, who will step down from her post on Friday.
In another move announced by Rainey, BART police officers are now beginning to wear seven-point star badges instead of shield-shaped badges.
Rainey said the star badge is worn by officers at most law enforcement agencies in Northern California and is easily identifiable to the public as a police badge.
All officers will wear the new badges by the end of the month, he said.
“The officers have wanted their badges changed for years and this is a morale booster,” Rainey said.
Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News