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Original post made
on Jul 7, 2011
Given Atherton's challenges the last several years, this would seem a good opportunity to either outsource or consolidate some or all of the city's police services.
"with mixed emotions"?
What does that mean? That besides the platitudes Danielson expressed, he thought Guerra should go?
Was Guerra let go?
The first step to outsourcing police services.
Peter, I believe you're right. This is the first step. But, how do you see it playing out? Will the hire another chief or immediately seek an outsourcing proposal?
ATHERTON'S CHIEF'S PENSION FACTORY PUMPS OUT ANOTHER ONE-HOPE THEY DON'T HAVE ANYMORE ALREADY IN THE PIPELINE, EVEN AS AN INTERIM.
@J Edgar -- here's a suggestion that will take a "little" work, get citizens to contact the council members about it. Writing comments here seems to have minimal effect.
Sounds like the hand writing is on the wall. One incompetent chief gone, couple of dirty cops to go.
Atherton Town Council - please don't miss this golden opportunity to make real change for your town.
No-Go BOGO...[portion removed; be respectful of other posters.] Tenure doesn't make facts out of fiction. Quit towing the party line long enough to engage in some good old fashioned information gathering and internal debate. You may just increase your audience and enlighten someone (other than yourself & P.C.) for a change...
You flatter yourself by thinking you are my targeted audience.
You're welcome PO, you are very welcome. I do not dislike you, if fact I think you are a fairly bright fellow. It just happens to be my personnal opinion (care or not) that you do not get close enough to some of the "stuff" you comment (in such a matter of fact manor) on and what you DO end up sharing is mono-dimentional and frankly, not that entertaining.
On the other hand, you certainly have prompted me to play. It's just a good thing this is not a debate...
This thread is about Police Chief of Atherton Mike Guerra retiring. This makes the 3rd Chief in i think 5 years. The retirement statement was issued by the City Manager not the Chief.
Is this a retirement that the Chief wanted?
This is the 2nd Chief who didn't stay very long.
Michael, it marks the third chief in just three years, actually. Brennan left in mid 08, Nielsen in late 09.
Third chief in three years. I wonder if the civil servants' pension program has anything to do with the one or two years and out experience we have seen. Nahh, couldn't be. Not here.
Chief Guerra was in an impossible situation from day one and I think he knew it far better than anyone. I seriously doubt that he ever really imagined that he could cover up the transgressions of his predecessors indefinitely but figured he could at least give it his best shot while the "ride" lasted. Loyal of him but not exactly what the paycheck was for.
No number of Chiefs falling on their swords will ever resolve the problems within our police departments culture. Legacy appointments simply inherit messy legacy obligations which beget a more and more confused purpose.
I wish we all knew which of several possible issues had really triggered Guerra's departure because no new leadership will ever be able to redirect moral without transparency and the participation of the entire community. Not even new, strong, outside leadership will be easily able to repair what has been well over a decade of damage if various entitled residents continue to temp discretion by lavishing tokens of their esteem on officers who are paid to be impartial. For this reason I continue to wonder who was so "wealthy and influential" and "angry" that they were able to inspire Chief Brennan to threaten the finance director to drop his audit. Or who might have felt inspired to set up the Menlo School scholarship for Chief Nielson's family. These "special" and "connected" people are who have seriously damaged this department, and to only their own advantage they will continue to pervert the whole system for the rest of us, unless it is exposed examined and recognized.
What was the deal with Nielsen? Isn't he now running a lunch truck or something? We have mutual friends who think the world of him, but given the department, my opinion hasn't been too high.
I truly hope this is an opportunity for Atherton to not "get fooled again."
"Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss"
-The Who, Don't Get Fooled Again
Not only my favorite song and favorite band, it's my all time favorite line.
I just wish I could play it! Did you ever see them live, back in the day? Unforgettable! That's what Atherton needs - The Who to come in, kick booty and take names, but I am sure they'd need to take their Geritol and Ibuprofen first. The level of incompetence in that town rivals Palo Alto's.
Apologies to others for drifting WAY off topic.
Yes, I saw The Who in Atlanta in the early 1970's during the Who's Next tour - Keith Moon and all. Unbelievably, the band had set up their equalizing equipment on my seats (about 10 rows from the stage) and I received a back stage pass. I watched that concert from the left side of the stage, right next to a few members of the crew and a Tandberg reel to reel tape player with the synthesizer music on it. Amazing - the best concert I've ever attended.
I also attended their concert in San Jose last year. The audience was comprised almost entirely of people 40+ years of age!
Again, apologies to all for the diversion.
Like I was trying to say guys-the WHO DUNIT Album is long over due-next venue HP Park
Watcher: The song is called "Won't Get Fooled Again", not "Don't Get Fooled Again."
I saw the Who perform in Toronto in 1967... before they were really famous.
From one of my favorite posters, Menlo Voter, last March:
So MV is a an accurate psychic re APD. Cool!
So MV is a an accurate psychic re APD. Cool!
I wish I could say so, but I think I was just making an obvious observation of a likely outcome. If I was psychic I'd be placing bets in Vegas!
So glad that people are finally paying attention and getting young blood to replace the old fashioned ways.
Even Peter agrees.
NOW, to rewrite those antiquated laws of the last century.
The FBI proved a good idea..
Yep, MV, you see the trends...easy come, easy go...not truly committed leadership.
I recall someone in LE once telling me that the wealthy & the poor often get a higher dose of what they deserve w/their city leaders than a town w/more of an income mix. His perspective was that the more wealthy & the more poor were too self-absorbed - the former w/their wealth/self-importance, the latter w/survival &/or criminality (I add ignorance to both, personally). I've watched Atherton PD go downhill & EPA PD actually get more efficient (EPA in large part due to community involvement & a savvy chief).
I'd like to think this is APD hitting bottom, but I don't know enough to know if that's true.
Years ago, my family had an incredibly baaaaad experience w/APD & we still talk about it. We didn't sue & sometimes I wish we had. I've also grown up w/people who've gone on to become APD officers & we used to um, well, make fun of them for choosing that dept.
Hmmmm - You make a good point about the relatively rich and poor.
With regard to EPA and their new found attention to law enforcement, it may have something to do with IKEA and that shopping center providing much needed and long-overdue revenues to their city. I'm just glad they put their money to good use.
Chief Guerra has been a great police chief for Atherton and has had a long career servicing its residents who are overwhelmingly supportive and satisfied with the Atherton police department. I want to thank Chief Guerra for the incredible contributions he has made to Atherton and I know all more than 7000 residents except for just a handful feel the same way. The conspiracy theorists would be making their posts no matter when or how he retired. There are a few disgruntled individuals at the council meetings and on these blogs (McKeithen, Carpenter, Buckheit) who have had undue influence on Atherton's affairs and try to run down the police department any way they can. Has anyone figured out that the current financial issues the town faces is not the result of any actions by its employees but by the totally nuisance Buckheit lawsuit? There are great internal candidates for chief and while the town can go outside for leadership, not providing a career growth and promotion path from within not only deprives Atherton of having some very fine individuals as chief but will cause our best police officers to go elsewhere just wasting the money we spent on training and grooming them. The bottom line is that no matter how many times Carpenter cuts and pastes the same per capita statistics or Buckheit sues or McKeithen tries to run the department down because of her own vendetta more than 97% of the residents support this department hands down and it's not going anywhere.
POGO, I do think the increased revenues have helped a great deal. Traffic due to Ikea is also not a nightmare - I was impressed by the PD's work on that.
Having an innovative chief (I'm pretty cynical about him, but he has made a difference) who is accessible to citizens, the churches & the non-profits has also had an incredible impact. I get pretty cynical when I see him praying in a group at the end of a meeting, but that's just me.
I have had successful interactions w/him, for the most part & he hasn't been beaten down by our city council, who don't gang up on him, either. Having a smart city council has helped as well. The chief was quite involved in the debacle that was Page Mill Properties & that was tremendous. It will take EPA many, many years to recover from the PMP debacle & PMP will continue to get into trouble, I suspect, w/other investors & hopefully, other authorities.
But I've never before seen community involvement that way it currently is, & that's been incredible. Contrast the lack of care when Officer Davis was murdered in 1988 vs. when Officer May was killed - hard to believe it's the same city. We might still lose him to a different department, but if that's the case, I hope he'd be replaced w/someone who's at least his equal. When friendly officers come to me w/a stray dog because they care & think I might know its owner, that speaks volumes to me (that has happened for a long time, thankfully).
As for APD, if there was more good-intended community involvement, it could make a difference. It also might make it hell for those who get involved - I'm not sure. There has a to a swell, I think, of various interests & people coming together that create waves of change.
Love the PD -
1. You KNOW all 7,000 residents of Atherton and KNOW that all but a handful support the current police department? Very impressive on both counts.
2. You think that the budget shortfall - called "structural" by almost everyone associated with the town - is due to the Buckheit lawsuits? If that were true, then wouldn't the police department have some culpability because of their treatment of a citizen? And why don't you ask the Town Council how much they have spent on legal fees for the Buckheit litigation? You have a right to know that. I'll be surprised if it amounts to very much at all.
3. You remind me of all those people who said there's nothing wrong the economy or how we compensate our public employees. Now, they are running for the hills and those same public employees are taking huge cuts to pay and benefits. The word that comes to mind is "unsustainable" - and that's exactly the situation Atherton is in.
Ignorance may be bliss, but it's rarely a viable solution.
I agree with you on all counts in most recent post. A rare moment of harmony.
Maybe there's hope for Messrs. Obama, Reid and Boehner. One can hope.
Can the APOA post some videos of Guerra getting canned or their reaction to it on YouTube?
Oh, POGO, we actually have a lot of harmony - Planned Parenthood, for example, not to mention other APD threads. Just as long as we don't plan a trip to Hiller Museum anytime soon, we're just fine.
How come Woodside, which has almost the same pop as Atherton, doesn't have major police drama? I'm no fan of Munks, nor am I naive enough to think there're no bad apples in the SO, but hey, if it works for you all, how come Atherton hasn't considered it sooner?
What was or is the date of retirement for Chief Mike Guerra?
There's only one reason that Atherton has its own captive police force. Their entitled citizenry thinks that it's the only way to get preferred treatment who will warn them when they are caught speeding, escort them home when they've had a bit too much to drink, conceal domestic violence and condone teenage mischief.
What our friends in Atherton don't realize is that the San Mateo County Sheriff's deputies are well trained, honest, consummate professionals. I'm not saying they will do all of those things stated above, but I will say that I have found them to be extraordinarily professional and do whatever they can to be helpful and respectful to our citizens.
PS - No, no tours of the Hiller Museum anytime soon.
"more than 97% of the residents support this department hands down and it's not going anywhere."
There is NO data to support that assertion - PERIOD. Using numbers does not a fact create.
@Hmmmmm and @ POGO -- I have found over the years, not only here but else where that one of the biggest stumbling block if for a city manager/administrator to "give up" the logos (and thus control) on the vehicles' doors that says "My City" police or fire department.
With consolidation as the buzz word these days, city managers still value the logo over economic savings. Good examples -- why do Menlo Park and Atherton need their own polce departments? Could EPA save money by having the Sheriff patrol their town? Half Moon Bay will go/or has gone to the Sheriff.
One officer has recently left and went to San Francisco PD. I suspect the applications have been or are being submitted. The only thing holding others back is the lack of placed in the area actively hiring.
Thanks for your insight, Bob. I agree that's the most likely culprit. I can say from experience that having the SO in your town can be stressful- major change is always stressful. While I was happy when they came back in here due to crime & police problems, & I was happy that they made a difference, I know others didn't agree.
The SO had some excellent deputies & investigators, as well as supervisors. Some preferred working here because they didn't have to deal w/as much petty stupid stuff as elsewhere in the county (yeah, a detective should solve the case of the neighbor's dog urinating on my lawn, because I am soooo very important!) & many enjoyed staying busy. But my experience is different than yours in that I also saw some whose skills varied between lame & mediocre - not unusual in a large organization.
I honestly don't know if the SO could do a better job in EPA (I never thought I'd think this way), because so much has changed w/Davis here. There's a level of involvement between community & PD now that wasn't available w/the SO - there's a lot more skin in the game now.
So how could that - skin in the game, get applied to APD, either w/a new, viable, solid chief or the SO taking over? I don't know, except for one ingredient that would have to be on hand - strong community involvement, from more folks than we see on these boards. In other words, the community has to care- & that often means they notice their wallets getting lighter.
"strong community involvement" and Atherton is a contradiction in terms. The vast majority of Atherton residents have ZERO interest in community involvement either to serve of committees, to run for office, to get CERT trained or to attend council meetings.
Sad but true.
I think "the logo" is simply another way of saying my reason of preferential service. There is less control over the Sheriff's Department and that creates a bit of uncertainty about how white those gloves will be.
Atherton can do whatever they want... as long as their willing to pay for it with their dollars (in compensation and lawsuit settlements) and the bad press.
As far as Menlo Park goes, they are probably big enough where the overhead costs (management, dispatchers, car maintenance, training, etc.) MAY make sense. I am absolutely positive that it doesn't pay for Atherton.
There is an alternative to outsourcing to the SO. It would be to do what Monte Sereno did years ago - combine their town with Los Gatos for police services. They had been serviced by the SO before, but weren't getting enough "white glove treatment" so they wanted their own, just like Atherton. However, they were smart enough to realize the cost implications and so contracted with Los Gatos for their police services. The coralary that comes to mind here is Atherton contracting with Menlo Park. Most Athertonians could have a feeling of "more control" and still save money on management and overhead. Of course, like outsourcing to the SO, most of the Atherton officers could lateral into MPPD. With the exception of at least two.
This could be a winner for Atherton as Menlo Park has a history of hiring good, competant Chiefs. This would likely reduce or eliminate the shenanigans of the APD that have cost Atherton so dearly in lawsuits and respect.
Love the PD [Portion deleted. Please don't attack or characterize posters.] - Nothing you put forward is substantiated by ANY facts.
Love the PD says
"Has anyone figured out that the current financial issues the town faces is not the result of any actions by its employees but by the totally nuisance Buckheit lawsuit?"
If the writer thinks the Buckheit lawsuit has cost a lot of money so far, just wait until he sees the amount of the jury award which might include punitive damages.
"There are great internal candidates for chief……." As Dr. Phil says "How's that workin' for ya?"
97% of us think it's working just fine Stogner. Don't you live in San Carlos? Why don't you try to interfere with their affairs instead of ours? This is all just part of the denial of service attack Buckheit has been putting on this town, with his lawsuit, and Johns public records requests and Stogner's interference.
And that answers your question too, Peter. 97% of residents support the APD through a survey. I know you don't like the result, but you're going to have to live with it.
That would be 97% of the ten hand picked residents the surveys were sent to. I never got one nor did any neighbors I am aware of. I support outsourcing police services. It would be the fiscally responsible thing to do in these very difficult budget times.
Love the PD says:
"97% of us think it's working just fine Stogner. Don't you live in San Carlos? Why don't you try to interfere with their affairs instead of ours?"
Yes I do live in San Carlos.
Here is what Love calls interfering, I have requested a min of 3 times at Town meetings that the City Manager and Police Chief identify the police officer who committed a crime against Jon Buckheit. Both refused and both are gone.
There is an Atherton elder alive and well today because of others and my interference.
I find it interesting when people in a town want "outsiders" to mind their own business. I get that crappy attitude from Shallow Alto all the time. Never mind that in my lifetime on the peninsula, minus college time, I've helped people in physical distress in Palo Alto, been educated there, have lived & worked there. And of course, some of what they do affects me. People want to be both NIMBY & MYOB. That's how corruption flourishes. We're literally all connected via the cities we live in.
Coming home from a friend's wedding in Woodside once, I helped a downed cyclist. Perhaps I shouldn't have helped him since I wasn't a resident. Perhaps Mr. Stogner shouldn't have helped that elder in Atherton, since he doesn't live there. Maybe I should've ignored that loose golden retriever on Middlefield in Atherton, instead of returning her to her home, since I don't live in Atherton. That's a great reason to have let her become roadkill.
Having had APD have an incredibly incompetent & lousy effect on my family years ago I remain interested in their continuing spirals of bad management.
"97% of residents support the APD through a survey."
Wrong. This is an urban myth. When a small number of Atherton residents were surveyed (in 2006 Godbe Research mailed out surveys to every household in town, and got 587 back. Pollsters also conducted 200 phone surveys with residents) 97% of those responding said they were happy with the job officers are doing. Ninety-seven percent was also the magic number for a question about the quality of life in Atherton, with only three percent of residents saying they were dissatisfied.
Is 587 of 7000 even a usefull sample size? And if it is, what's the marginof error, 20%? Clearly flawed methodology. If one wants to know how satisfied everyone is with the APD, I suggest putting the necessary $1000+ parcel tax on the ballot and see if it passes. If it does, the people have spoken. I wouldn't bet the farm on it passing though.
"Is 587 of 7000 even a usefull sample size?"
Not if it is, as was the case here, a biased sample in which only supportive answers were actively encouraged.
What was the satisfaction level w/APD amongst the 587 returned polls. Peter, do you know?
Those abysmally low numbers shows a lack of community involvement - yet another thing that reminds me of prior times here in EPA...
Here is a great step in the right direction - a true professional who has no vested interest in a long term job:
Town of Atherton
Monday, July 11, 2011
Law Enforcement veteran Ed Flint has been selected on an interim basis to lead the Atherton Police Department effective July 18, 2011. Flint brings to the job approximately 35 years of multi-agency law enforcement experience with municipal, county and state law enforcement organizations.
Flint began his law enforcement career in Redwood City with the California Highway Patrol. He later transferred to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department where he promoted through the ranks to Captain. Flint served as the Assistant Chief of Police for the City of Citrus Heights, and as Chief of Police for the Elk Grove Police Department. He later returned to the Bay Area to lead the Santa Rosa Police Department as Chief of Police.
Chief Flint has an impressive law enforcement resume' of professional accomplishments, and holds a Bachelor's Degree from CSU Sacramento, and a Master's Degree from CSU Long Beach. He is a graduate of California's Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training (POST) and received the Dorothy Harris Award for academic excellence. Chief Flint is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Course.
Chief Flint is also known as Colonel Flint (Ret.) in the United States Army. Colonel Flint served on active-duty as well as in the Army Reserves and California National Guard. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and was selected for the Army War College. He last served as Group Commander, 1st Brigade (BCST), 91st Division (E), at Camp Parks, Dublin, California.
Chief Ed Flint has been married to his wife Karen of 32 years. They have two married daughters, Natalie and Tiffany, both who are expecting their first child this fall.
For further information, contact Deputy City Clerk Theresa DellaSanta at 650-752-0529
Best of luck to Atherton residents and Chief Ed Flint
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