The BART Police Department is the police force of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART).
The BART Police Department is has over 296 police personnel, of which 206 are sworn peace officers. BART Police officers are given their powers of arrest from Section 830.33(a) P.C.. Although their powers extend throughout the state, like those of most California peace officers, their primary jurisdiction is on BART property. They can however, take enforcement action for crimes in progress, including traffic infractions, away from BART properties.
Chief of Police Gary Gee commands the department which provides all police services including law enforcement, parking, and community relations. To prepare for major emergencies, critical incidents, and tactical responses, the department is part of the Bay Area’s mutual aid pacts and maintains teams for special operations such as tactical response and crisis negotiation.
Sworn peace officers
, Community service officers
dispatchers, revenue protection-guards, CAD/RMS administrator, and clerical staff comprise the department’s civilian employees. Most officers are assigned to patrol, with some assigned to special operations teams.
The Patrol Bureau is decentralized into four geographical police zones, each with its own headquarters and field offices. Zone lieutenants are assigned the personnel, equipment, and resources to manage their respective police operations. There are BART police facilities and field offices in Oakland
, Walnut Creek
, El Cerrito
, Castro Valley
, San Leandro
, San Francisco
, and San Bruno
Support Services Bureau
The Support Services Bureau consists of the following units: Criminal Investigations (Detectives), Personnel and Training, Records, Warrants, Crime Analysis, Traffic Administration and Property and Evidence.
Office of the Chief
The Office of the Chief is composed of Internal Affairs and Budget Coordination.
BART police has placed emergency callboxes
in parking lots and on train platforms that connect directly to the BART police 9-1-1 communications center. The District also utilizes video-surveillance systems in trains, stations, and parking lots.
Specialized assignments include field training officer, K-9 Handler, SWAT operator, detective, bicycle patrol, personnel and training officer, applicant background investigator, crime analyst, administrative traffic officer, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) investigator, and undercover anti-vandalism and special-enforcement teams.
Mission and Focus
, more emphasis has been placed on hardening BART’s infrastructure against the threat of terrorism. The department hosts drills for the region’s first-responders and participates in local, state, and federal counter-terrorism working groups. One officer is assigned full time to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and a command officer is designated as the department’s mutual-aid, counter-terrorism, and homeland-security liaison. All BART police K-9's are certified in explosives detection only. To prepare for major emergencies, critical incidents, and tactical responses, the department is a signatory to the Bay Area's mutual-aid pacts.
The BART Police Department’s goal is to build a more community-oriented police force that is tough on crime and strong on customer service. Zone commanders and their personnel are forming working partnerships with BART riders, fellow employees, community groups, schools, and business owners. Together, the goal of the stakeholders is to ensure that personal safety, quality of life, and protection of property remain among BART’s top priorities.
Qualifications and Training
Qualifications and training for BART police officers exceed the guidelines of the California Peace Officer Standards and Training
(POST), which certifies all California peace officers. In addition to meeting POST requirements, every BART police officer applicant must have at least 30 semester (or 45 quarter) credits of college course work from an accredited college or university. At least one half of the credits must be obtained in analytical subjects requiring written reports or examinations. Most officers are assigned to the Patrol Bureau and are eligible for specialized assignments.
In 1969, three years before BART opened for revenue service, the transit district’s board of directors recommended that local police and sheriff’s departments patrol the stations, trains, rights-of-way, and other BART-owned properties that were within their respective jurisdictions. The police chiefs and sheriffs, forecasting that BART’s proposal would create jurisdictional disputes and inconsistent levels of police service, rejected the board’s proposal. As a result, legislation was passed to form an autonomous law enforcement agency, the BART Police Department.
During BART’s first 13 years of revenue service, police officers reported the transit district’s headquarters in Oakland. In 1985, a team of officers was assigned to report to the Concord transportation facility, where a police field office was established. By not having to travel the 20 miles between Oakland and Concord, the officers were able to patrol their beats longer and become more familiar with the community. BART riders, station agents, and train operators benefited from having more police presence and interaction with the same officers. This led to three additional field offices within six months.
In July 1993, then-police chief Harold Taylor recommended a comprehensive plan to decentralize the department into four geographical police zones, each with its own headquarters and field offices. Zone commanders would be given personnel, equipment, and resources to manage their respective police operations. A peer-review panel, which included four police chiefs and the safety-audit administrator from the American Public Transportation Association, gave Chief Taylor’s plan its endorsement, along with other recommendations on how the BART police could work more closely with other transit employees, communities, businesses, and schools that the transit district serves.
Today, there are BART police facilities and field offices in Oakland, Concord, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg/Bay Point, El Cerrito, Dublin/Pleasanton, Castro Valley, San Leandro, Hayward, San Francisco, Colma, and San Bruno. Police command-level officers provide input to planners for BART’s future extensions to Warm Springs and Santa Clara County.