BART will purchase 130 more Tasers -- enough to assign the stun guns to every officer on the transit agency's police force.

The $140,775 purchase, approved unanimously Thursday by the BART board, will boost confidence that officers will be familiar with the Tasers and properly use them, BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said.

The transit agency's police force has had 60 Tasers since 2008. The police force has 206 sworn officers, including managers who don't regularly do patrol work.

BART is following outside safety consultants' advice in the wake of the 2009 fatal shooting of an unarmed passenger, Hayward man Oscar Grant III, by a transit officer who later said he meant to fire his Taser instead of his gun. The officer, Johannes Mehserle, later resigned and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

BART Director Lynette Sweet of San Francisco said she doesn't support Tasers for transit police, but thinks it's better for officers to have their own rather than rely on weapons and holsters they're not familiar with.

Since Grant's death, BART has increased training for its police officers and required that Taser holsters be worn on the side of officers' non-dominant arm. That rule is aimed at avoiding mix-ups on which weapon is being drawn.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff. Read the Capricious Commuter at www.ibabuzz.com/transportation/.



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