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BART's Next Police Chief Could Be a Woman

BART's Next Police Chief Could Be a Woman

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San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix

April 17, 2010

OAKLAND, CA – BART’s Board of Directors met Friday to discuss candidates for the BART Police Chief position and two of the four candidates were woman.

The nine members of the BART’s Board of Directors filed into the boardroom in Oakland about 8:30 Friday morning to interview in person the top four candidates for chief. They didn’t emerge from behind closed doors until 3 p.m.

“We’ve agreed to come back Thursday and hopefully tell the public who the new police chief will be,” said Lynette Sweet, BART board member

Friday, that there were three African Americans and one Latino in the group of final four candidates; two women and two men. Perhaps not surprisingly on the diverse BART board, the directors did not agree on just one candidate.

“What was cool about this is we all looked at the same as our top two,” said Sweet.

Sources tell us those top two candidates are both African American, a man and a woman, both with strong Bay Area past or present law enforcement experience.

“If it ends up being a man, fine with me, if we end up; with a strong woman that’s even a bonus,” said BART board member Carole Ward Allen.

Of course, the board can only recommend, as can community leaders who have also interviewed the candidates and made recommendations.

BART’s general manager Dorothy Dugger is making the final decision and as of Friday afternoon, she was still meeting with candidates.

“We’re not going to say anything until the person has accepted the job, it’s signed sealed and delivered, that’s when we’ll make the announcement,” said BART spokesman Linton Johnson.

Until then, interim police Chief Daschel Butler will be in charge of the department’s 200 officers. He took over after BART’s longtime chief Gary Gee retired under a cloud the end of last year.

“There are a lot of challenges this person has ahead,” said Johnson.

14 month ago, one of BART’s now former officers Johannes Mehserle was caught on video shooting passenger Oscar Grant and charged with murder.

Mehserle says he accidentally fired his firearm instead of his taser.

Then on Thursday, Butler ordered officers to stop carrying tasers on their shifts until they undergo two more hours of training. This decision, BART says, was speeded up a week after an officer allegedly fired a taser at a 13-year-old boy fleeing Richmond Police on his bicycle.

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