Using public transportation, growing up on the south side of Chicago, Bay Area Rapid Transit District's Chief of Police Kenton Rainey's family didn't own a car so they got around through mass transit. "I understand it and I believe in it," Chief Rainey says.
"I definitely sought this job out; it was something I wanted to do," he says.
Rainey's been with BART since June of 2010. When he came on board, it was around the time that the trial process was starting for Johannes Mehserle, former BART officer that shot Oscar Grant in a controversial case on January 1, 2009. He says, "Tensions were kind of high, a lot of media attention, public scrutiny, it opened up an old wound ... so now everybody has to relive this.
"I thought this was a huge challenge, and thought I had the necessary skills to lead the organization back and forward as far as what the board was looking for, for a change and to bring accountability into this organization." He adds, "Those are the types of things I've been known for throughout my career."
After the Oscar Grant incident, the district hired the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) to come in and give an organizational assessment of the police department. They issued several hundred recommendations as far as what they felt the department needed to implement in order to move forward in the right direction.
"I've been part of teams that have gone in and made recommendations to organizations and you don't expect them to obtain them all," says Rainey. "You cannot because some of them, economically, are not feasible.
"You ask a cop to do a bottom-line inspection and if this is your department and the sky's the limit; what would you do to make it a premier law enforcement organization and you get this list," he explains. "As you go through it, it will usually take you two to five years to really start to transform the organization because you're trying to change organizational culture."
One of Rainey's mentors told him organizational culture is like personality; no one likes to be told there's something wrong with your personality. They're going to naturally resist so you have to really prepare the organization for change to the policy and procedures manual, put in that foundational training.
"Using that report as my guide, some of the things that I've initiated is we've changed the policy and procedure manual, totally revamped it working with a corporation called Lexipol," Rainey says. "The policies and procedures are grounded in the latest case law, law enforcement best practices ... it's a great foundation for any organization. It's very important that we had that as our foundation."
In the wake of the Oscar Grant incident, the district has appropriated enough money to have its officers receive 40 hours of training every year, while the state of California requires only 24 hours of Continuing Professional Training every two years. BART is taking it very seriously and appropriating the necessary funding.
With 40 hours, there are a variety of courses they can focus on: communication, defensive tactics, weaponless defense, Tasers, first aid, etc. Rainey says, "You can bring people in and out depending on what the emerging issue is."
The training committee takes a look in advance at what they want next year's 40 hours to be and they put together the curriculum.
Rainey says, "As far as training, we are really focused on three areas and that's leadership, continued professional training of our line level officers and our crisis intervention training.
"From a leadership standpoint, I wanted to make sure all my supervisors and managers were exposed to managerial law enforcement leadership, management, supervisory training."
He says throughout the state and the country, they've been successful in graduating in a couple people from California POST Command College, a year-long program where the manager goes with other managers from other law enforcement organizations from around the state and they meet monthly for a weekend. It's very intensive coursework with a futurist perspective on what direction law enforcement is going toward.