BART's New Police Chief Has Bay Area Roots

Saturday, May 15, 2010  |  Updated 7:45 AM PDT
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BART's New Police Chief Has Bay Area Roots

Coba, Flickr

If you rode a BART train because of the Bay Bridge shutdown, you ride might have looked something like this.

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BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger has offered its police chief  post to former Fairfield Police Chief Kenton Rainey, BART spokesman Linton  Johnson said.
     
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.

arcia 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.
 

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