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January 21, 2009 > Statements from BART

Statements from BART

Submitted By Linton Johnson

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) issued a statement on January 14 regarding the arrest of former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle involved in the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on the morning of New Years Day at the Fruitvale BART Station.

"Yesterday Johannes Mehserle was arrested on an arrest warrant issued by the Alameda County District Attorney's office. This comes after the BART Police Department conducted a thorough investigation that involved nine detectives, which BART Police turned over to District Attorney Tom Orloff on Monday, January 12. BART Police Gary Gee was informed that an arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday evening and the Oakland Police Department had effectuated an arrest. We've been asked to refrain from any further comment regarding the arrest until Mr. Orloff addresses the media."

BART reacts to arrest of former officer

BART's top officials issued the following statement following the arrest of former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle involved in the death of Oscar Grant on the morning of New Year's Day at the Fruitvale BART Station:

"From the moment this shooting occurred, nine detectives worked diligently to conduct a thorough and complete investigation and to swiftly turn the results over to Alameda County District Attorney Thomas Orloff," BART Board President Thomas Blalock said.

"The District Attorney has decided, based on the evidence presented to him, to bring charges. Mr. Mehserle is going to have to stand trail for the crime with which he is charged. This is now in the hands of the District Attorney and ultimately a jury to decide. This investigation shows that no one is above the law, but everyone is entitled to due process of the law. BART investigated this shooting thoroughly and treated the investigation and information no differently because the suspect involved was a police officer. Now we have to let due process take its course."

"We want the public to know that this one incident is not reflective of BART, its police or its employees," BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said. "I have great confidence in the professionalism of the BART Police Department. This was a tragic event in which a life was lost for which someone has been arrested and charged. The BART Police Department is a professional force of 206 sworn men and women who work everyday to ensure the safety of more than 100 million customers who annually ride BART."

"We know that this shooting has caused anger and concern in the community. We pledge to work with the community to rebuild the trust it has placed in our transit agency," BART Board Member Carole Ward Allen said. "As the first step in that process, the BART Board of Directors on Monday established a Board Committee, which I chair, to review police practices and procedures, including hiring and training, and to identify opportunities to further strengthen the rigorous standards currently in place which meet or exceed California Peace Officer Standards and Training. Our goal is to make sure that something like this never happens again."

Background on BART Police

Rigorous standards for hiring exceed those established by the State of California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST); training is POST compliant and continues throughout an officer's career. Established policies and procedures guide officer conduct. Officers are expected to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct.

BART Police Department hiring and screening procedures are fully compliant with the California Commission of Peace Officer Standards and Training, and recommendations of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. POST standards are posted on www.BART.gov.

POST requirements include academy training, a full psychological and medical evaluation and a comprehensive background evaluation

BART exceeds POST requirements by requiring: polygraph test, 1 year of college, 20 weeks of field training with daily officer review, and 1 year probationary period.

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