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Breaking the Blue Code of Silence

Original post made by Police Ethics, another community, on Feb 3, 2010

REQUIRED READING FOR THE TOWN COUNCIL AND TOWN MANAGER. From the Wikipedia article on the "Blue Code of Silence" quoted by Michael Stogner.

This story contains 927 words.

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Comments (5)

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Posted by road kill
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

I have seen with my own eyes Atherton Police behaving badly. I know from personal experience what the Atherton Police Department is capable of. It is not a pretty sight. I am not Jonathan Buckheit.

I believe the Atherton Police Department, perhaps like many law enforcement agencies has adopted a bunker mentality. Something akin to "you are with us or you are against us".

Mr. Stogner's article reinforces this impression.

I find this bunker mentality out of place in a community where a typical 911 call is as trivial as a solicitor from a local charitiy appearing on one's doorstep uninvited.

It also appears from the comment of True Blue in another Town Square discussion thread that the Atherton Police Department doesn't think much of the people whom they sworn to protect and serve. Rather the Atherton Police Department feels empowered to arrest anybody at any time for any reason, valid or not, with the belief that their actions will ultimately be justified.

Each member of the City Council should realize that it is dealing with a very dangerous animal in the form of the Police Department. It is a police department drunk with power.

Each member of the City Council should be aware of the fact that if they ever witness misconduct on the part of a police officer, they will have to choose between speaking up or becomming road kill.

As the saying goes, power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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Posted by e.grimley
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Although what is posted above by 'Police Ethics' (with a little help from Mr. Stogner) is enlightening, one should read the "Truth about Police Code of Silence Revealed - By Neal Trautman, Ph.D., February 2001, in its entirety. At the end of this article, he writes:

"Organizational Culture
The most powerful means for transforming the organizational culture of a law enforcement agency into an atmosphere that is consistent with employees embracing loyalty to principle above all else is a
combination of leadership, role modeling and training.

Role modeling by the chief administrator must come first, for what a chief or sheriff actually does is what informal and formal leaders use to decide whether they will support any attempts to improve the culture.

In addition to the fact that a chief administrator must regularly state and demonstrate expectations of the highest level of integrity from all employees, they must hold other leaders accountable to do the same."

In defense of the officers who have served the Atherton residents with the utmost professionalism over the years, you should ask yourselves if this 'study' only pertains to those wearing the uniform. Is it possible that the term 'Chief Administrator' could be synonomous with 'City Manager?' Could Trautman's phrase "...they must hold other leaders..." possibly refer to Council Members, Committe members, Crime Task Force members, as well?

Go back to the mid 90's when the Town Council (et al) closed its eyes and ears to the unethical practices of its Chief and City Manager, which led to the embarassing newspaper articles, personnel issues, allegations of misuse of the law enforcement computer system, voter fraud, misappropriation of funds and the subsequent lawsuits, settlements, etc. that resulted. That's when the corrective action needed to take place. But it didn't. Enter another outside (interim) Chief and (interim) City Manager (who basically hired himself), with neither one having any long-term allegience or loyalty to the Town.

Any wonder why these blogs continue to roll on and on and on......even into 2010. Although the police department may need some 'remodeling,' the 'foundation' could certainly use some retrofitting as well.

Good Luck!

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Posted by scholar
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

E. Grimley is right.

The concept he is referring to is what some call the tone at the top.

The sad truth of the matter is that Mr. Gruber's predecessor Mr. Robinson lacked the assertiveness to take the bull by the horns.

Mr. Robinson turned a blind eye to what was happening in the PD because Mr. Robinson lacked the support of the City Council.

As was the case with Mr. Robinson, Mr. Gruber appears to lack the support of the Council to take on the PD.

Unfortunately the history of Atherton is a web of inappropriate personal relationships between City Council members and Atherton Police Officers of both senior and junior ranks.

Until such time as the City Council expresses support for reforms in the Police Department it would be unreasonable to expect that any city manager with a family to support would defy the wishes of his master and take control.

For decades Atherton city managers have been emasculated and that seems to be just fine with the Council.

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Posted by black and blue
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm

The council does not emasculate it's managers.
It hires eunuchs to begin with. This is the one thing they can all agree on--and allows them to continue as usual

Like this comment
Posted by Sheriff Ray Nash
a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2010 at 2:49 am

[Post removed; unoriginal statement from another Web site]

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