BART Chief Kenton Rainey (courtesy officer.com)

You may recall the recent Bay Area fuster cluck wherein one BART cop shot another BART cop to death during a SWAT raid on an empty apartment. Experience may have led you to believe that the fallout from that particular screw-up would be somewhat less than cataclysmic for all concerned, given that it was a police matter, police being culturally, morally and legally allergic to the concept commonly known accountability. If so…correct! “All searches that require BART police officers to enter homes will now require written approval by a deputy chief in the wake of the fatal friendly-fire shooting of a sergeant during an apartment search in Dublin, the transit agency’s police chief [above right] said Monday,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The funny thing is . . .

The Deputy Chief was aware of this raid.

[Chief Kenton] Rainey said BART Deputy Chief Jeff Jennings had known in advance about the probation search at the Park Sierra complex on Dougherty Road. The new policy, the chief said, requires that such notification be made in writing — and, like the old policy, mandates that a police supervisor be on scene during the search.

“I believe in officer safety, and this is just another layer of supervision by getting the deputy chief’s written approval that they’re fully aware of what’s going on,” Rainey said.

So now that the deputy chief has to sign-off on a raid, in addition to knowing about it. Which makes officers less likely to shoot each other during the raid…how? Saying that, you can understand why the Chief didn’t call for more training. The officer who shot his brother officer had plenty ‘o training, apparently. In fact, he was a trainer.

BART released more information about Maes, a 14-year department veteran who has served as a field training officer and an acting sergeant, and is certified as a rifle operator. Maes previously worked for the Moraga Police Department as a patrol officer and detective for 12 years.

“Detective Maes has an extensive background in the area of criminal investigations, where he has received extra training and experience in conducting search and arrest warrants,” Rainey said.

I don’t think the word training means what the BART police want it to mean. Of course, the best training is based on real-world experience like — just thinking out loud here — the video record of this particular raid and what went wrong. Yeah about that . . .

The Chronicle has reported that Smith’s shooting was not captured by cameras issued to all BART officers up to the rank of sergeant. The three detectives who went into the apartment weren’t wearing them, sources said, and the two uniformed officers didn’t activate their devices.

Huh. That’s odd. Five officers involved in a raid and none of them, not one, had their camera rolling. Odd in the sense of total bullshit. Either generally or, more likely, specifically. If, unlike me, you were thinking of giving Chief Rainey and his troops the benefit of the doubt, check out this statement:

If deficiencies are uncovered, the department will correct them, the chief said, because on the day Smith was killed, “the outcome that we were trying to achieve did not occur.” But he added that the tragedy could have happened despite “all the training and experience in the world.”

The fact that he said that is ridiculous. The fact that he might actually believe it is grounds for Chief Rainey’s removal. As if. If only.

73 Responses to BART Chief: Training Can’t Prevent Friendly Fire Shooting

    • I would think it’s more along lines of a retroactive:

      “uh – jeeee… Nope sorry Can’t fullfill that FOIA request as that video footage doesn’t exist.

      why? welll… ummm, none of the cameras were working (they’ll buy that) for ummm… uhhhh, some reason.”

      • I’ve seen that kinda stuff first hand. Got a bogus drag racing ticket and my lawyer requested the video from the cop that physically showed me the cameras screen. The PD’s response was “our cars dont have cameras”

  1. “is certified as a rifle operator” so they are going the route of tactical mall ninja certifications now?

    • Instead of ninja certificates they need to train target I.D and field of fire. It’s sad when cops scare me more than criminals. At least I know my odds with a thief or junkie.

  2. Can someone tell me why a transit cop is doing raids on peoples houses?

    Guess I’d better lay off the turnstile jumping….

    • That’s the question that came to my mind. Why is a transit officer doing a swat style apartment search? Wouldn’t SFPD be doing this?

        • Really? Wouldn’t regular police work be knocking on the door and talking to the parolee? If some violation was suspected that required a forced entry of a coordinated skilled team and special permission wouldn’t that be “swat like” in some way? If I’m not mistaken that is exactly where a swat team typically comes in. Though usually better trained and informed.

      • The alternative would be to actually patrol BART’s trains and platforms…

        Also, remember this is the same agency where an officer “thought” he was reaching for his taser but instead drew his firearm and shot a handcuffed and restrained man (on the ground) in the back, in front of dozens (hundreds?) of witnesses and recording camera phones.

        They tried to justify that shooting too, at first.

        • And reportedly, the officer shot in this case was the one that led the investigation into that shooting (with that cop being charged and tried).

        • @JR

          I am rarely a conspiracy theorist, but I would put money on that being exactly the reason that the cameras weren’t on. This wasn’t an accident, it was an assassination because he didn’t help sweep the shooting under the rug.

  3. I’m sure DOJ is investigating this right after they finish investigating (insert scandly) and find no fault.

  4. Film can be so embarrassing sometimes. I have little doubt this was filemd, but that BART will make absolutely certain that it never is revealed. I had a similar circumstance in my town, at what was then a notoriously dangerous intersection of two highways, where exiting traffic came into conflict with entering traffic on I-5. There was a camera installed by Caltrans specifically for recording accidents at that location. On the night of the accident I was working on, the camera “was not working.” In fact, it appears that that particular camera was never “working” when there was an accident–IMO because Caltrans did not want to admit that the interchange was defectively designed and it was responsible for the injuries and deaths that occurred there.

  5. “the outcome that we were trying to achieve did not occur.”

    Does TTAG have a trophy for understatement of the epoch?

    • Hey, he said training cannot prevent this stuff, so why waste money on training. But if you ask if Maes was suitable for the activity, the chief will assert how trained he was. Get it?

      There is no excuse in the world for shooting when entering an unoccupied apartment. What the chief means is “no amount of training will fix a guy who just ignores the training.” Which means the guy should be fired, because an LEO who ignores the training he receives simply will never be safe around us.

  6. Friendly fire can’t be completely eliminated. Not on a battle field with hundreds or thousands of weapons on 2 opposing sides firing. But in an empty apartment in Dublin, CA with a total of 5 men, all on the same side?

    • “Swat like” and the fact it is not a swat operation but needlessly mimicked one is the point. Or atleast part of it. There is no point and serious danger in regular police work being done in paramilitary fashion.

      • More like a paraphrase of “Setup.” With all five cameras not worn, not working, and/or abducted and erased by aliens

        Sorry, but my “Spidey Sense” is going – I smell an assassination here.

  7. Beyond the stupidity of the title quote, there just isn’t any excuse for cops to conduct SWAT raids without their cameras on. This needs to become like forgetting to read a perp their Miranda Rights. If the perp says the cops did something wrong it should be on the cops to prove they did it by the book. Forgot to record the raid? You must be covering something up. Perp walks, sues and the popo settle up for a few million. Sure, just like Miranda, a few bad guys will have to walk, but if you can think of another way to get cops to use their frikkin brains, I’m all ears.

    • +1
      The technology exists that cops/SWAT can be recording the moment they strap on their duty belt. They can pick up a battery recharged unit at the duty desk before they leave for the day and there is no OFF switch. When they drop it off at end of their shift it automatically gets downloaded to the server and the file can only be erased from camera after it is safely on the server which can NEVER be deleted. If the cop doesn’t have a file for that day then they dont get paid for that day. Nope I don’t trust them.

      • Good thinking there. Now all that needs to be engineered is a way to prevent “something falling over the lens/mic” and we’re set.

        • That’s what the NSA said when I called and asked about their surveillance.

      • The details can be hammered out later, but it will NEVER happen unless the courts stop taking a LEOs word as gospel and start forcing them to prove their statements. With our modern technology, not having video should put them under immediate suspicion.

  8. Suspect not there, cameras not rolling, the expert is the one that fired the shot: maybe they just didn’t like the guy?

    • The only lie in the statement was that they didn’t get the result they were looking for. And I am very much of the anti-conspiracy stripe!

    • And as JR said above:

      And reportedly, the officer shot in this case was the one that led the investigation into that shooting (with that cop being charged and tried).

  9. This guy is a moron. Of course training and practice can prevent friendly fire and any other “incidental” shootings. He should be fired and prevented from ever owning a firearm as well. People that stupid are a danger to themselves and others.

  10. But he added that the tragedy could have happened despite “all the training and experience in the world.”

    Maybe it wasn’t an accident, if all the training and experiece in the world couldn’t prevent it. Training DOES prevent these things from happening.

  11. Up here, “field training officer” just means you get the new guy and his check off manual.
    Not sure what a certified rifle operator means…

    The truth will probably never be known. Even when the family of the slain officer sues, they will just write a check so none often reports get outside the doors.

  12. Too many Chiefs of useless agencies. Send them to the NRA for training, they are dumber than s$&t, so stick to basics: keep muzzle pointed in a safe direction, know your target -see it!, keep finger off of trigger til you know your target and have committed to shoot, – best to give these guys one bullet to be left in car. Far fewer deaths. You know his finger was on the trigger.

    Maybe all cops should just be armed with squirt guns ……..far fewer deaths and far fewer backsides shot off.

  13. These guys are our local transit police. One of the most important questions, namely “WTF were these guys doing anywhere near a dynamic entry on an apartment probation search” is getting totally ignored.

    BART police are real, sworn LE — but their beat is the trains, stations, and yards of the BART system. My city’s PD has made it pretty clear that BART PD is to call them for anything that goes outside the station property lines, so this is very strange.

  14. Am I the only one thinking this?

    Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cops are responsible for security on the commuter trains around the Bay Area. WHY are these guys performing a probations search raid on someone in a building? How is the security of trains impacted by something in someone’s apartment?

    I don’t think we are getting the whole story about the reason for this raid.

  15. I get why the cops all clammed up, but why aren’t we hearing from the dead guy’s family? I’d expect the “thin blue line” code of silence b.s. would go out the window once one’s own loved one got buried.

  16. Why is it so hard to file a manslaughter charge? Oh, because the lying and the covering up. Kinda like Fast and Furious, but on smaller “cover up” scale.

  17. Training can’t prevent all friendly fire and I’ve seen incidents where an officer was almost shot due to his own mistakes. That said, I hope there’s more to come out about this.

    I think it’s funny that lower ranking officers need cameras but supervisors don’t… sounds like the kind of policy made by supervisors.

  18. BART has Police Department in all legal sense they are responsible for all BART property. That is the trains, tracks, stations, parking areas and apartments or housing/apartments. (I myself find the housing/apartments odd.) The person they were looking for committed crimes on BART Property. All that having been said, everything I have seen indicates that this is a Police Department in name only! Their actions and training seem to be, in my opinion, more in line with security guards or bouncers at a club.

    • It makes sense when you consider this is the San Francisco bay area, which some folks view as a de facto city state. The role of public transport is huge these days and BART is the axis around which all sorts of crime occurs. They’re a puffed up pseudo police force for a puffed up pseudo city state.

  19. The Sgt Schultz defense, they see nothing because no cameras were on. I do hope a civil suit ensues & they can find the “lost footage”. The beauty part is now they will have a supervisor to sit back & watch the next carnage. It’s hard for me to get a grip on this gross incompetance although after the newspaper ladies, Ca law enforcement just seems a bit lacking, Randy

  20. Maybe Smith was going to rat them out for something and so the BART officers killed him knowing that they would get away with it.

    • Cause that’s the way it happens in a lot of hollywood stories. And we all know how accurate and true to life hollywood is. A fuck up due to lack of training and arrogance is so much harder to believe.

  21. He’s right, though. It doesn’t matter how well you know what you’re supposed to do if there’s no accountability requiring you to actually do it.

  22. Simple solution. All cops must wear cameras. If the camera isn’t on during the arrest, no matter the reason, charges dismissed!

    • Dismissing the charges doesn’t punish the right person. If a cop violates a right, then the cop should face losing his job, his pension and his freedom. No camera? Then the cop goes directly to jail, does not pass go and does not collect $200.

  23. If this had gone to the other extreme, had the officer shot the “bad guy”, you can be damn sure there would be footage available supporting it as a righteous shoot.

  24. Now here is a profound thought.

    Multiple police officers busted down the door of someone’s apartment with the expectation of encountering an extremely hostile, dangerous, armed person. They were so sure that the person was extremely hostile, dangerous, and armed that they went in “heavy” — meaning many officers, guns drawn, fingers on triggers, moving fast. In fact they went in so “heavy” that they actually shot and killed one of their own officers during the raid on the empty apartment.

    And yet lawmakers and police in California tell us citizens that we shall NOT be armed in public to defend ourselves from such people. Which is it? Are people like the man who lived in that apartment — the man upon whom police conducted a “heavy” raid — dangerous or not?

  25. Cop A shoots Cop B by “accident” during raid. Cop A is exonerated by investigation that finds it was an “accidental discharge.” Cop A is transferred to another dept. Cop A’s wife disposes of the phone that contained sexting messages from Cop B to her. All is well in Copland.

  26. “the outcome that we were trying to achieve did not occur.”

    Right, because what they were trying to achieve was shooting and killing the target of the raid. Alas, the poor bastard wasn’t home, and he doesn’t have a dog.

  27. Being the “training officer” for a department doesn’t necessarily mean much. I’m sure most regular shooters have had experiences with unsafe or profoundly unskilled shooters at the range who turned out to be cops.

    In one case I was out function-checking my M&P9c on a winter weekend after installing the newest APEX kit, to see two older men “instructing” a young woman. On more than one occasion the young lady put rounds into the ground just a few feet in front of herself, blowing snow and dirt into the air, without the men instructing her so much as saying a word.

    One of the men wandered over to me as I was preparing to shoot to “check me out”, and I learned that the young lady was a cadet training for her qualification in a few days and that he was his department’s “training instructor and armorer”. Yeah…

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