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Monday, January 27, 2014

BART Police Chief Announces Changes to Parole Search Policy After Cop Was Shot to Death

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 3:08 PM

click to enlarge Sgt. Tommy Smith
  • Sgt. Tommy Smith

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey announced this afternoon that the BART Police Department is revamping the way it conducts residential parole searches and arrest warrants.

The change comes nearly a week after BART Police Sgt. Tom Smith was shot to death by fellow cop Officer Michael Maes as the two conducted a probation search at a Dublin apartment.

Smith leaves behind his wife Kellie -- who is also a BART cop -- and his 6-year-old daughter.

After that incident, Rainey decided that, effective immediately, all planned residential parole and probation searches, search warrants, or Ramey warrants must have the written approval of the Deputy Chief for Patrol Operations or his designee before they are executed.

Previously, the policy only called for a manager to be on scene during the search. While that will still be a requirement, the agency is hoping this additional step will be an additional safeguard.

Also, Rainey said he has requested help from the U.S. Department of Justice which will provide technical assistance in reviewing BART's policies and procedures, training, and the daily performance of personnel in the following three areas:

  • All aspects surrounding use of force and use of force reporting

  • Administration of "Axon Flex" body camera system

  • Search procedures of persons and residences and the 4th amendment

Last Tuesday, Sgt. Smith and seven other cops went to an apartment in Dublin where they were looking for stolen laptops connected to a suspect they had in custody. When police arrived, Smith and Maes, his partner, entered the house with their guns drawn. Both Maes and Smith were in plainclothes at the time, however they were wearing bullet-proof vests.

At some point, Maes accidentally shot Smith, firing one bullet into his chest. Smith died at a hospital in Castro Valley.

According to Rainey, Maes has "an extensive background in criminal investigations and has received extra training in conducting searches and executing arrest warrants."

Maes has been placed on administrative leave.

"Internal Affairs officers are still gathering information and will begin to schedule interviews with the involved personnel after the funeral," Rainey said. "I expect their administrative investigation to take approximately 30 to 45 days to complete."

Funeral services for Sgt. Smith will be held Wednesday in Castro Valley.

Read the previous BART policy:

OIPA Policy Recommendation for BPD Policy 450


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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Bio:
Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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