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Report: BART selects new police chief after nationwide search

New BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey. (Photo via Facebook)

(5/12) — 10:45 PDT — OAKLAND, CALIF. — BART has chosen Kenton Rainey, a former police chief for the city of Fairfield, as its next police chief, the Beat has learned.

Rainey, 51, is currently a commander with the San Antonio Police Department in Texas. He left his position with the Fairfield Police Department in July 2009, to accept the San Antonio position. He was selected for the Fairfield job in 2007, becoming the first police chief in that city to come from outside the department.

The decision to hire Rainey, an African-American whose law enforcement credentials include stints with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Dept. and Whittier Police Dept. in Southern California, was made by BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger two weeks ago, according to KTVU-TV.

Rainey is poised to take the reigns of a police department that is a undergoing massive transition after the shooting death of Oscar Grant on Jan. 1, 2009 at the Fruitvale BART station. An independent analysis performed by a third-party police leadership organization recommended top-to-bottom changes within the department.

The department’s former chief of police, Gary Gee, retired in December 2009 after intense criticism from the community regarding his handling of the shooting aftermath. BART’s interim police chief, Daschel Butler, will step down from the post when Rainey starts.

In Fairfield, Rainey was credited for reducing violent crime by 20 percent and enacting community policing strategies in a city hard-hit by the housing foreclosure crisis. Rainey oversaw the investigation of the slaying of Fairfield City Councilman Matt Garcia after he was shot on a Fairfield sidewalk.

According to the Fairfield Daily Republic, Rainey left the department after a series of conflicts involving city council members. He unexpectedly resigned from his post after two and a half years with the department.

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