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BART directors talk to police chief finalists

Decision not expected before month's end, general manager says

BART directors talked behind closed doors today with four finalists for the transit agency's police chief post but a hiring decision isn't expected until the end of the month, according to transit agency spokesman Linton Johnson.

BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger will make the hiring decision with board members providing input on the decision, Johnson said.

Former BART Police Chief Gary Gee announced his retirement last August. He went on medical leave in September but returned to his post in December for a few weeks and his last day on the job was Dec. 30.

Former Berkeley Police Chief Daschel Butler has been serving as interim police chief since Gee left.

Gee's leadership of the BART Police Department was criticized by some board members and community members after the shooting death of passenger Oscar Grant III at the hands of former Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station in Oakland early on Jan. 1, 2009.

Mehserle has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting and his trial is scheduled to begin in June.

BART officials are about a month behind the timeline they announced Dec. 4, when they discussed the process for hiring a new chief.

They said at that time that they hoped to decide on a new chief the week of March 29 and have the new chief start work on April 26.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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