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.