BART Board Approves 39 Proposals to Strengthen Police Oversight

Dozens of recommendations were recently approved by the BART board of directors to improve the BART Citizen Oversight Model for BART police, officials with the agency said Friday.

The announcement comes on the heels of a decision by the BART board of directors to hear public comment about the death of Shaleem Tindle, who was shot and killed by a BART police officer in January.

The board made the decision to hear public comment after activists packed the board's chambers Feb. 22, demanding that they be heard at the next board meeting March 22.

In all, 39 recommendations were approved unanimously by the board and included clarifications and suggestions to improve the operations of the Office of the Independent Police Auditor and the BART Police Citizen Review Board.

Notable changes include adding to the list of people who can submit a complaint and allowing the independent police auditor to investigate any kind of allegations of misconduct.

In a statement, Russell Bloom, BART independent police auditor, said the changes will help BART keep up to date with best practices in the area of police oversight.

George Perezvelez, BART Police Citizen Review Board chair, said in a statement, "It's a great step in moving the BART Police Department in line with progressive policing practices ensuring greater transparency and community engagement."

The 39 recommendations were part of 54 proposals submitted last year by the consulting firm OIR Group which reviewed the structure and functionality of the BART Police Oversight Model.

BART board members will consider the 15 other recommendations at a future meeting, BART officials said.

The approvals by the board also allow the independent police auditor to review each situation in which BART police use force.

As Bloom said, the changes are meant to bring oversight in line with best practices including the incorporation of understandings in President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

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