Interesting read. My take away is $6.7 million per year to run an agency which is roughly the same size as the Town of Atherton. (Note, that the 2010-2011 budget is a partial year; see the exhibit at the end for full year cost and calculations.)
Alternatively, the Atherton Police Department budget is under $5.1 million:
I have seen repeated claims that outsourcing the Atherton Police Department to the County Sheriff would save the Town $2 million / year.
Now that I have reviewed the San Carlos agreement, I have to question the validity of that "fact". The County - San Carlos agreement would have to be reduced in scope and cost by $3.6 million to achieve the speculated $2 million savings.
I can only wonder what service levels the residents might receive for $3.6 million / year -- if they could even get it for that price.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:34 am
I'm not quite sure how you reach the conclusion that the San Carlos police department is "roughly the same size as the Town of Atherton['s]".
As Peter pointed out, San Carlos has 4x the population of Atherton. The San Carlos police department has been using 32 sworn officer positions for San Carlos (down from more than 38 after making cutbacks). Atherton has fifteen according to my count.
Before outsourcing, San Carlos' budget was $8.9M. Divided by 32 sworn officers, this is $278,125 per sworn officer.
After outsourcing to the Sheriff, San Carlos will have nineteen sworn officers at a budget of about $6.8M. This is $357,894 per sworn officer.
Atherton's budget is about $5.0M (but not really; they're not counting the unfunded pension liabilities). Divided by fifteen sworn officers, this is $333,333 per sworn officer. I'm guessing this is the highest cost per sworn officer in San Mateo County because it's the smallest police department in the county, and the fixed costs of any department (chief, dispatch, records, etc.) can't get averaged out over additional sworn officers.
These are interesting statistics. I say don't get swayed by "only nineteen sworn officers after the outsourcing". Are nineteen sworn officers enough to patrol San Carlos? In any situation in which more officers are required, the sheriff can send plenty over there at a moment's notice (at no extra cost to San Carlos). My understanding is the nineteen is for patrol only.
Obviously Atherton could get comparable cost savings with the sheriff because it wouldn't need to pay for its own overhead anymore. The question for the residents of Atherton is whether they want to continue to pay additional money for the "special services" they receive from the Atherton police. The right thing to do is for the town to be honest with the residents about the true cost (it's more than the $750 parcel tax; at the last council meeting one council member said the true cost is about $2,500 per household per year), the true cost savings with the sheriff, the difference in service (the only subjective issue involved; perhaps submit two opposing views), and let the residents decide what they want to pay for.
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 1, 2010 at 6:36 am
Peter's facts suggests two possibilities:
The Sheriff would charge $1.15 million per square mile (based on the San Carlos model). With Atherton at 4.9 miles, the contract would be $5.6 million.
Or, with the per capita interpretation, it would cost $248.62 per person. That would imply $1.8 million for the Sheriff to take over Atherton.
I am guessing the Sheriff wouldn't touch Atherton for $1.8 million per year. $5.6 million is higher than the existing budget number.
Assuming the number is somewhere in between, it really boils down to what Dr. Buckheit observes. The residents will need to vote on the idea relative to the service levels the Sheriff might be able to offer.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2010 at 6:43 am
Insight states:"I am guessing the Sheriff wouldn't touch Atherton for $1.8 million per year."
Bad guess - the Sheriff services Woodside for $1.3 million and that covers 11.8 square miles (30.5 km˛) and, using the census of 2000, 5,352 people or $242 per capita - and this includes extra patrols over and above the normal County service level.
Posted by David Henig, a resident of the Atherton: West of Alameda neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm
Can we get this topic as an agenda item for the Council? How about a proposal to submit a survey to the population. I suspect some like having the APD respond directly to their alarm systems, while others would rather have the sheriff respond to problems at M-A. Atherton 100, where are you?
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 1, 2010 at 8:13 pm
Thank you for your meaningful, studied response.
The unfunded pension liability (GASB 45) is a good point. According to the Town's 2010-11 budget, it appears that the PD is good for $418,200 of the total. So the Atherton PD budget should be under $5.5 million (up from $5.1 in my earlier post).
Earlier, I did not notice that the San Carlos - Sheriff contract omitted the Dispatch function. This expense was included in the the Atherton budget number, but not in the San Carlos number.
San Carlos currently contracts with Menlo Park for Dispatch services. The San Carlos 2010-11 budget lists $675,000 for "communications" within the PD budget. That seems to be the FY cost for Dispatch Services with Menlo Park. For purposes of our discussion, let's assume San Carlos squeezes that down, somehow, to $500,000.
The proper comparison is:
$7.2 - San Carlos / Sheriff, including Dispatch ($6.7 + $0.5)
$5.5 - Atherton Police, including Dispatch FY 2010-11
Assuming that $2 million savings would be the threshold for Atherton to give up their PD, the target number appears to be $3.5 million.
That's $3.7 million less than the San Carlos "deal". Even if I were to concede that San Carlos is a different animal than Atherton, I would suggest that it's certainly not 50% of its scope and level of activity. They have retail; Atherton has schools.
And, even if you could attain that $3.5 million target, the customer service impact would likely be significant. Traffic enforcement, school support, home checks, alarm monitoring, spare key storage would be low lying fruit for elimination.
As for overhead reduction, I noticed in the proposal that San Carlos must continue to provide station facilities to the Officers. Police vehicles are paid for by the mile.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 2, 2010 at 1:26 am
Thomas, let's actually look at your use of the word "frivolous" in a legal context. I looked it up on an internet legal dictionary. In a legal context, it means "lacking in any arguable basis or merit in either law or fact."
If Mr. Johns' lawsuit lacked any arguable basis or merit in either law or fact, why did the Town of Atherton pay him a quarter of a million dollars in a settlement after spending nearly half a million to defend it? It seems to me that if the lawsuit truly lacked any arguable basis or merit in either law or fact, the superb legal resources of Wynne Furth and her law firm could have gotten this lawsuit dismissed way before the more than $400,000 in legal costs accrued, without paying Mr. Johns any settlement through one of two legal procedures designed for this called "demurrers" and "summary judgments".
I also believe, if Mr. Johns filed a lawsuit about the Gruber video under the Public Records Act, and a judge saw that video, that judge would not conclude that was a frivolous lawsuit either.
And, actually, if Mr. Johns had a pattern of filing frivolous lawsuits against the Town of Atherton, there is a process Ms. Furth could invoke to declare him a "vexatious litigant" and require that he get a judge's permission before he could file another lawsuit. I don't see this happening either.
To summarize, the antidote to the Town of Atherton not wasting resources on lawsuits is that it obey the law and resolve problems early in the process, before or shortly after they occur. Attempting to ostracize the people who have claims as a result of illegal behavior, aside from being unfair, just addresses the symptoms, not the problem.
Which is all besides the point...even though Mr. Johns sued the Town of Atherton, and prevailed, and may sue again, does that imply his analysis about police outsourcing by definition has no intellectual merit?
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 2, 2010 at 9:45 am
Thomas, the topic of this post by Insight is "Police Outsourcing" and I think it is an important issue and deserves not to be corrupted with other issues. If you want to create a separate thread on Pericles, Thucyidides, the Peloponnesian Wars, and their possible relevance to an Atherton police officer admitting to a police report falsification yet the conflict that emerged being my fault, please do so and I will try to figure out how to respond. In the meantime, your attack against Mr. Johns was off-topic and otherwise inappropriate and deserved my response above. These forums are for the free exchange of ideas.
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:45 pm
The Sheriff’s exhibit in the San Carlos document is a gift. They give out their costs, including overhead, amortization, etc. It’s excellent because it allows for “what if scenarios”: To kick things off: What would Atherton get for $3.5 million dollars?
Of course, there are other ways to package the solution, but one possibility might be:
* Patrol would be provided by 2 cops on day-shift, 1 cop on night-shift (6 FTE for Patrol)
* Supervision would come from the Sheriff Sergeant already on duty (.25 FTE).
* Investigations would require a Detective (1 FTE).
* Station presence (daytime only) could be satisfied with an Administrative Sergeant (1 FTE), a Community Service Officer (1 FTE), and an Admin Assistant (1 FTE).
* Point of contact for the residents, Town Administration, and the Town Council would be a part time Captain (.5 FTE).
* Dispatch would be taken over by San Mateo County Communications (assumes $250K / year).
Throw in some cars and radios and you get to just over $3.5 million, assuming the cost structure is similar to that negotiated by San Carlos.
So, with that infrastructure, what would residents sacrifice?
The station front would not be staffed 24 hours a day; it would be open during the day time only. There would be no alarm monitoring. The Police would not keep resident keys.
The Sheriff, generally, does not respond to medical calls; that’s left to the Fire Department. As such, the defibrillator program would be abandoned. There is no dedicated officer for traffic enforcement. Deputies probably wouldn’t get too excited about local ordinances, which include noise, parking, after hours construction, trucks, etc.
The effort to beef up the disaster planning, which consumes close to 1 FTE (Sergeant), would likely be placed on the back burner or be integrated into a County plan. The latter solution would be OK, but Atherton residents would be of equal footing with others in the County.
Deputies take their direction from the Sheriff, an elected position. Thus, the Town Council would have limited ability to set priorities. I am sure the Sheriff’s Office would be customer service oriented and professional. But, at the end of the day, the Deputies report to the Sheriff, not the Atherton Town Council.
Expressed in terms of the existing parcel tax, the $2 million proposed savings could eliminate the parcel tax altogether! It currently generates just under $1.8 million. It was, after all, a public safety tax. And, with public safety savings provided by the Sheriff, the need for a parcel tax is moot.
Posted by finally, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 5:33 am
Finally, a good exchange of facts and ideas between "insight" and Jon Buckheit. If you ignore the usual "cut and paste" Carpenter mindless facts and imperial wisdom as well as John's "done the math" you get to the heart of the matter. The people of Atherton really want elevated police services as they have indicated regularily in parcel tax votes and a recent survey. Atherton is very affluent and the majority of people can afford the additional tax. One can keep raising this issue and that is fine but at the end of the day this dog won't hunt anymore than turning down additional monies through bond issues for our schools.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 11:15 am
Finally states:"The people of Atherton really want elevated police services as they have indicated regularily in parcel tax votes and a recent survey"
The good people of Atherton can purchase whatever level of police services they want from the Sheriff - Woodside has chosen a different package of services than has San Carlos and Atherton could pick its own package. As Pogo says - ask the Sheriff for a bid. And why should every Atherton resident pay for the alarm monitoring only used by some residents?
And as a contractor the Sheriff would report to the Town Manager as happens in Woodside, Portola Valley and San Carlos.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 11:43 am
I believe the following steps should take place:
1. A bid needs to be obtained from the sheriff.
2. The true cost (including unfunded pension liabilities) of the Atherton police department must be assessed. This cost should be calculated on a per household basis (e.g., a parcel tax of $___ per year is required [and this is greater than the current $750).
3. An analysis by one or more impartial third parties needs to be done to analyze differences in service between the sheriff and the current Atherton police department.
4. These costs along with the analysis of service differentials should be submitted to the residents for a referendum on how to handle this situation.
On a personal level, I agree with Peter 100%. However, I do recognize that some, and potentially most (that would be tested on the referendum) Atherton residents are willing to pay for "special police services". However, it is not fair to be fuzzy about what the bill is, and what the services consist of. On the last parcel tax, it was advertised that the $750 pays for in-home alarm monitoring, but now there are rumblings about a separate charge. This true cost, once and for all, needs to be submitted along with the true services.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm
Mr. Carpenter is correct. The Sheriff caters their contracted services to a Town's requirements. You can have as many patrols as often as you'd like. And the ultimate "client" who controls the contractor is the Town Manager and Town Council. The Sheriff wants happy clients.
In Woodside and Portola Valley, we used to have one full-time patrol 24 hours a day (that was one patrol from 6am to 6pm and a second from 6pm to 6am). If my memory is accurate, we upped that coverage to two full-time patrols during daylight hours a few years ago. It was easy to do because the staff of the Sheriff's department is so large. We could have three or four patrols 24 hours a day if we were willing to pay for it.
The one issue that Atherton citizens will have to deal with is the "concierge services" currently provided by the Atherton police. In Woodside, the Sheriff will watch our homes while we are on vacation but he won't water the plants. We believe those tasks are not our government's responsibility but a homeowner's responsibility. I'll bet that a relatively small number of Atherton's citizens uses those services, but everyone pays for them.
Finally, in Woodside, we know our deputies by name and most have worked here for YEARS. They are as much a part of our "family" as Atherton's police force is to their town. Importantly, I'm not aware of any Woodsiders being handcuffed, arrested and victimized by falsified police reports at the hands of our deputies.
Posted by finally, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm
Pogo, you started out ok but then reverted to the usual theme of the creatures that inhabit these pages...falsified reports and handcuffing. It has not been proven so why keep going there in these discussions. I also would correct your statement that officers water our plants. That is a falsified statement that you are so good identifying. And yes we do know most of our officers names for what that is worth. Pogo, while we appreciate your take on almost everything Atherton why not confine yourself to Woodside posts where you might actually have some credence.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm
Finally states:"Pogo, while we appreciate your take on almost everything Atherton why not confine yourself to Woodside posts where you might actually have some credence."
Actually POGO brings more knowledge, expertise and first hand experience to this Forum that practically anybody else. Wisdom does not have a residence and it behoves Finally, who claims to live in Atherton, to recognize that the solutions to Atherton's problems will NOT be found solely within its boundaries. One reason is that the vast majority of Athertonians simply don't care about the Town or what happens locally. They will gladly hire lawyers to sue the school district about lights at M-A but won't even bother to go to a well publicized Board meeting when the item was being decided. Only FOUR Athertonians are even willing to run for the three Town Council seats on the November ballot.
Thank you POGO, we need all the well informed and experienced help that we can get.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm
Just checked - Finally is not a registered voter's name in Atherton and I could find only one substantive post, other than criticizing another poster, by Finally in all of these many Forum topics.
Bottom line - Finally has no source credibility, may live anywhere and contributes practically nothing to what is meant to be "a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. "
I much prefer POGO and other posters who have an established track record on and off the Forum.
Posted by finally, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm
Pete, I am glad you and Pogo have such a wonderful relationship and mutually admire each other. That is not unexpected from reading your posts now and then.I live about two and a half Lindenwood blocks from you and see you buzzing about on your yellow motorcycle. I have lived in Atherton for over fifty years and consider myself fairly knowlegeable about affairs in the Town. I do know that there has not been any charge against an Atherton police office for giving false testimony of late, and I am pretty sure that the police department will not water your flowers. However, I am going to give it a try since Pogo says it is so and call 911 and ask for watering help since it is such a hot day.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 1:41 pm
here's the FACT - an Atherton Police Officer testified in open court, UNDER OATH that his report had been tampered with (falsified). That is an established fact. Now either the officer was lying, for which he should be charged with purgery or he was telling the truth and someone else needs to be brought up on charges. The fact is you have a dirty cop on your police force and no one is doing anything about it.
Posted by finally, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm
Menlo Voter...repeating the same old charge time and time again does not make it true. A APD officer testified that he had not written certain portions of a report. A police report can be ammended and reviewed by superiors as well as modified by (perhaps detectives)after further investigation warrants. If what you say is true then why has this police officer not been charged? The reason is that he has done nothing chargeable and will not be. To use a worn out phrase " that is a fact" or something like that.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm
Finally, I'd like to respond to what you are stating here, since you are coming to some conclusions that are not factually supportable:
1. I agree: "a police report can be amended and reviewed by superiors as well as modified by (perhaps detectives) after further investigation warrants". In the case of my police report, and I know you are referring to it, if this is what happened, then the amendments/modifications involved making false charges. This was not only ruled on by a judge, but conceded by the district attorney. If you want to call me or e-mail me, I can go through all the paperwork with you that establishes this. You also state that "A APD officer testified that he had not written certain portions of a report", and this is too simplistic. He actually said that portions of the report attributable to him, with his name on it, were altered/changed by someone else.
2. "The reason is that he done nothing chargeable" is the reason he has not been charged? Hardly. There is something called "prosecutorial discretion" and prosecutors are not obliged to bring charges just because the offense is chargeable. Some reasons they might not: they don't feel they can win, there is political pressure not to, they are being sued as co-conspirators in the same lawsuit and feel that acknowledging the criminal behavior of their co-defendants will cast a bad light on them, etc. It's conjecture and opinion about why they wouldn't. And, unless you know something I don't, they say "they are still investigating". I am doing my own investigation, and it will be up to a federal jury to determine whether there is an innocuous explanation to all of this or something more serious is afoot.
And...by the way...I don't think any of this has anything to do with police outsourcing. Yes, believe it or not, even I think that is a separate issue. If one or more police officers broke the law by falsifying a police report (and I believe they did), I don't see the remedy as outsourcing to the sheriff. The outsourcing issue is an issue that stands or falls on its own merits. There will always be misconduct with any police agency. It should be dealt with. If it's not getting dealt with, outsourcing is not the solution to that (but may be the solution to other, very valid, concerns). Nonetheless, in my humble opinion, you are much too fast to come up with some pat excuses for what is one of the most serious of all issues (falsification of a police report), and people could conclude that you will simply "support" the police department (and the existence of an independent police department) no matter what the true facts and circumstances are because of that.
That comes in at $5.49 million for Atherton’s share (the Sheriff pays 2% of the Deputy costs so the can use them for calls outside of Atherton).
What’s interesting about this scenario is that for the current expense level, the staffing comes up short for the following: 4 Dispatchers and the communication function, 1 Lieutenant, and 3 Officers, including the traffic officer.
In terms of service, there is great coverage for the Town with 3 officers on duty at any given time. Residents even get two K-9 units, which matches what Atherton delivers today. Supervision is important and this scenario ensures that the Deputies are closely monitored.
The downside is that the station is still closed at night. Without a Dispatch function, there would be nobody at the station. As such, no alarm monitoring or key service.
Would Athertonians still pony up the extra $750 / year for the parcel tax? It seems they get a better value for that tax with the current “in house” arrangement.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm
Insight - you continue to compare apples and oranges. If you want some more fruit look at the Woodside contract with the Sheriff which provides great coverage at $242 per capita.
As POGO has stated the ONLY way to find out what it would cost to outsource Atherton's police services is to 1) decide exactly what services the community wants and then 2) ask the Sheriff to provide a price for that particular menu. The community could specify if it wants a 24 hour substation, key service, alarm monitoring for some but not all of the homes, etc. I am confident that it won't be anywhere near $681 per capita.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm
I am ex-law enforcement so I can speak with authority. A police report is NEVER altered once submitted. If different facts or information arrise, suplemental reports are filed. There is a thing called "chain of evidence" and the paperwork is a part of that chain. Once a report is filed, if someone alters it, the chain of evidence is damaged. That's why corrections or alterations are made via supplemental reports.
Yes, why hasn't the person that altered this report been charged? Whoever did it, clearly broke the law. Which brings us back to what I said before. you have a dirty cop in APD and no one is doing anything about it.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 5:53 pm
Menlo Voter is 100% correct. The reason this was a falsification and not an alteration is because there was no supplement with a change log indicating the exact changes made. I should have made that clear above.
Posted by Tiredofitall, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 6:58 pm
If John Buckheit had not been fighting with his girlfriend and the police not responded to a domestic violence call would we be having his anti police diatribes month after month. It's time, John, to get on with your life and quit trying to undermine the police department. The vast majority of Atherton residents respect and support our police department.
Outsourcing would be a big mistake. Let's put it to a vote.
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 3, 2010 at 8:08 pm
The Woodside contract referenced in the link above had some cost information, but no details on what the residents actually purchase. Does anyone have more than "feel good" reports of their deliverables?
On the surface, it looks like a sweetheart deal. Perhaps, that’s driven by the longstanding partnership and understanding of costs and activity levels. Perhaps it’s driven by the Sheriff being a Woodside resident.
From a less cynical point of view, I can tell you that the FY 2010-2011 contract seems to match pretty cleanly with the following from San Carlos’ contract:
50% of a Deputy on all shifts.
10% of a Sergeant on all shifts
80% of a Motorcycle officer.
I like apples and oranges, but I’m not trying to compare them. What I think the grounded speculation shows is that the Sheriff charges a premium in outsourcing deals. The interested communities can either accept reduced service levels or pay more than they do today.
There are many reasons for outsourcing, including but not limited to human resources, predictable costs, guaranteed service levels, reduction of legal liability. All of these benefits are great reasons to explore outsourcing. But, it doesn’t necessarily make it less costly than doing it yourself.
Finally, Woodside is not Atherton. Their crime rate is lower. Look at the Part 1 Crime stats in Chief Guerra’s presentation (Web Link -- see page 139).
Woodside had 4 violent felonies; Atherton 38. Those crimes consume a great deal of time. The Sheriff won’t low-ball Atherton. He can’t afford to lose money on the deal.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm
I recently attended an Atherton Town Council meeting and I heard the reference to the Atherton Police Department's "concierge service." The APD Chief made several references to the extraordinary level of service they are often asked to perform (escorting visitors to and from residences, checking homes when residents were on vacations and removing newspapers, etc. My remark about watering the plants was facetious but apparently not that far off the mark.
With regard to confining my remarks to Woodside, you can imagine how much I value your opinion.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm
finally said of my earlier post "falsified reports and handcuffing. It has not been proven so why keep going there in these discussions."
There is no dispute that Mr. Buckheit, an Atherton resident, was wrongfully handcuffed and arrested. That's actually not MY opinion, it's the opinion of a San Mateo County JUDGE who made a declaration of factual innocence after an Atherton police officer testified that a police report was false. Those determinations are exceedingly rare - in fact, I think there have only been a few of these in the history of San Mateo County. The APD should be proud. And just so there is no mistake, that last sentence was a facetious comment.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but not the facts.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm
Dear Tiredofitall: "The vast majority of Atherton residents respect and support our police department."
So do I...but that just goes to the police officers who have done their jobs properly, not broken the law, and therefore deserve respect and support.
You seem to be saying that because the department in general may deserve respect and support, misdeeds of a few should be overlooked and not accounted for. If someone disagrees, they are "undermining". I couldn't disagree more and find your comment to truly deserve the moniker of diatribe (an emotional attack without any true basis in reason).
Also, I fail to understand the purpose of continuing attacks on me on a message board about police outsourcing. I will respond to invective and wrong facts, but I've already admitted that, in my opinion, my incident is not a justifiable reason for police outsourcing. If you're against police outsourcing, I am not using my incident as a way to say you're wrong.
Posted by Sour grapes, a resident of another community, on Sep 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm
There is real sour grapes going on here, not by John Buckheit, but by people like Tired Of It All, Finally and Thomas. John Buckheit has remained very polite and well spoken in his replies to nasty attacks because HE WON a lawsuit against the police, which is very hard to do. Apparently a police officer admitted a report was falsified and this is something pretty disgusting and should not get swept under any rugs. His position was vindicated by a judge and it seems there is really no respect for that here. Maybe Tired Of It All, Finally and Thomas are actually Atherton cops who are afraid their feeding at the lavish public trough is coming to an end in Atherton. Maybe instead of attacking John Buckheit, you should attack the cops who gave your department such a bad reputation by getting involved in this fiasco. Better yet, simply get rid of them because face it, if they did this once, they have a problem and will wind up doing it again. That seems like a better solution than attacking the tax payer who a judge said was mistreated by them. And your answer to that is that the other tax payers who weren't mistreated by them don't have a problem with them? What kind of stupidity is that?
Posted by Helene Wickett, a resident of another community, on Sep 4, 2010 at 1:27 am
Instead of accusing Dr. Buckheit of not moving on, Atherton's residents have every reason to thank the stars he is, and as part of that process is looking to make the town he lives in a better place so others never have to endure the abuse of power by police and subsequent coverup which he did. Those of us who have had the hideous experience of being victimized by a system which inexcusably did not work for years (and very nearly cost my mother her life), appreciate the courage and integrity of his efforts.
Posted by finally, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 5:43 am
I started my post with the moniker "finally" to compliment on the quality of the postings of "insight" and Jon Buckheit and will end with the same intent. Not only are their posts full of information and ideas they show respect for each other. Very quickly the usual inmates of these pages joined and the outsourcing discussion flipped over to dirty cops, handcuffing and so forth.The last post by "sour grapes" exemplifies this.
The subject of the posting is police outsourcing in Atherton and what the heck this has to do with Buckheits suit I don't know.Jon understand this. If you are really interested in the Atherton Police Department and the nature of police work in Atherton read Chief Guerra's remarks referred to in "insight" last post.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 8:42 am
You conclude your diatribe by complimenting "the quality of the postings of "insight" and Jon Buckheit" because "their posts (are) full of information and ideas they show respect for each other."
Respect? Perhaps you should hold yourself to the same standard.
Wasn't it YOU who slammed Mr. Carpenter as someone who "cut and paste" with "mindless facts and imperial wisdom." Wasn't it YOU who admonished me to "confine myself to Woodside posts?" Wasn't it YOU who had the "facts" wrong about the Atherton Police Department?
Show a bit of introspection... finally. Or keep to your word and just mercifully sign off and spare all of us your high-minded hypocrisy.
Posted by finally, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 10:17 am
Voter...this was posted by POGO before my post:
"Importantly, I'm not aware of any Woodsiders being handcuffed, arrested and victimized by falsified police reports at the hands of our deputies."
Peter...mindless facts examples are your first two posts which are a large collection of "old" facts that reduce police services to costs per people per square mile. You have posted this before. Not the way to judge police costs and you have criticised insight for comparing appple and oranges. Imperial wisdom is not a compliment but was directed at your denigrating my appearance as a new poster and lack of authority.
Lastly POGO, you were the one who introduced your so-called "facetious" remarks about watering plants. As you indicated it was not far off the mark so facetious does not cut it. Again despite all the background noise no APD officer has been arrested for filing a false police report and that is a fact! And yes I really do recommend you stay on the Woodside pages.
Posted by Telling it like it is, a resident of the Portola Valley: Westridge neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 10:33 am
For the record, I am a friend of Jon B. but don't want to use my real name in these posts because of the attacks by what amount to thugs.
Finally's swan song is that "no APD officer has been arrested for filing a false police report and that is a fact". Yes, and this is an example of something wrong, not something right, about this system.
Jon B. has been much too kind when he said he atrocious experience is not relevant to police outsourcing. It actually is squarely relevant.
I grew up in this area and have lived here a long time. Atherton has been paying extra for its police force because of "special services" to residents. Does anyone really think these special services are getting a newspaper? Are they alarm monitoring for at least $750/year when you can get an alarm company to do that for $300?
No, special services mean if your kid is found with drugs, the APD brings him home and asks you to handle it. Special services means if you're driving drunk, APD drives you home, not to county jail.
Yep, like it or not, right or wrong, that's been the historical precedent and justification for this police department.
When the articles started coming out about John Johns, the excuse was, "well, maybe the police were heavy handed, but he's not a resident, and we trust they needed to do what they needed to do".
But then Jon B. came along. A resident . A rich one (like there are any poor ones). The excuse when people started asking was, "We can't tell you all the facts out of respect for the resident's [Jon B.'s] privacy. [But he did something bad was the unspoken justification]".
That all changed when he got the factual innocence. Not only did he get it, I read the transcript. The judge ripped the cops a new *@!$hole.
This is why the police officers masquerading on this thread under pseudonyms, or the diehard supporters, are attacking Jon. His incident, not he himself, exposed the ugly truth that, at the very minimum, certain APD offers will not provide "special" treatment to residents. In fact, they provided way less than just normal service, according to a judge. He's the one who called 911!!! And if this is the case, why should Atherton residents be paying so much for its own private police department? And this makes them scared. And mad.
Posted by Helene Wickett, a resident of another community, on Sep 4, 2010 at 10:37 am
It is not only legitimate, but imperative to discuss the precise nature and quality of what the police do in a discussion of outsourcing as it goes straight to the heart of the costs taxpayers pay and the value received. As to finally's incorrect comments about Pogo lying about Atherton's "concierge" services including plant watering, I do not know who Pogo is, but he/she speaks the truth about plant service. My mother's plants were watered and cat fed for well over a month every year for many, many years by a police officer on public time. When these kinds of behaviors are combined with a shoulder shrug and the comment "She is old" plus an outrageous suggestion something be donated to the town from her will (!) by the same officer while being given an urgent report of life-threatening elder abuse (and bear in mind the abuser walked in front of a train rather than face a deposition where he knew he would be exposed for signing repeated enormous checks to himself for cash off the elderly lady's account while she was so chemically compromised by him she did not know what was going on), the residents are entitled to ask not only whether they are getting their money's worth, but what is wrong with their police department. With the amount of money Atherton residents pay for police, they deserve a police department which addresses real crime in its town, does not do "concierge" jobs which the residents can and should pay for themselves, shows competence rather than abuse of its residents when contacted for help, in other words serves the community well and cost-effectively. All the serious issues raised in this thread go to the heart of this question despite pot shots and diversionary tactics by anonymous poster. The track record of recent years is horrifying, expensive and should be raised at every possible opportunity until it is fixed because it is inexcusable. It is a central reason the question of outsourcing is on the table.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 11:11 am
Posting 'old' carefully researched facts on the cost of police services in neighboring communities along with their respective populations and geographical sizes and a link to the the Woodside police services contract in a new topic on police outsourcing is only 'mindless' to one who has no interest in the facts.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 11:41 am
In light of Ms. Wickett's compelling post - which is right on the mark - I withdraw my facetious characterization about the Atherton Police Department's "concierge services" including watering plants. Apparently they do and I gladly stand corrected.
I also appreciate the comments from Telling it like it is, who had the guts to tell it like it is.
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm
What would be the ultimate outsourcing scenario? Unincorporation.
The Town shuts down and the County must assume control. As one of the forum contributors pointed out, this scenario could play out if plaintiffs are successful in their lawsuits. Just look at Half Moon Bay!
This is a pretty easy scenario to write, as one need only look at the neighboring unincorporated areas. The Sheriff provides law enforcement; the CHP provides traffic enforcement.
How often do you see CHP in county areas? When there’s an accident. Rarely, if ever, does the CHP come off the freeway to do traffic enforcement. Given Atherton’s pass through traffic and school issues, the streets might pretty soon become freeways.
As for the Sheriff, they provide reasonable service. But, as the Sheriff himself has said, the County is the safety net provider. They are there when nobody else is mandated to provide. Their jurisdictions have bigger crime problems than Atherton. Murders, robberies, drive by shootings, car jackings all take higher priority than mail theft, burglaries, and recycling theft.
I doubt the Sheriff would add another Deputy to cover Atherton at night. They probably would add 1 during the day just because of the schools. Perhaps a couple of Community Service Officers to help with traffic control and writing some parking citations.
Calls in Atherton would be prioritized against other calls. Accidents would be turned over to the CHP. Medical calls would be taken care of by the Fire Department. Investigations would be handled by the Sheriff Detective Bureau and, again, prioritized against the other investigations.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm
Insight states:"I doubt the Sheriff would add another Deputy to cover Atherton at night. "
The Sheriff will provide the staffing levels desired by the Town and the cost will avry accordingly. Portola Valley has contracted for a lower level of service than has Woodside hence $111 per capita vs $242.
For $400 per capita Atherton could easily get everything Woodside gets plus a 24 hour substation, alarm monitoring and key service - but probably not plant watering. The only way to know for sure is to decide what the Town wants and then get a bid for those services.
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm
A $400 per capita number equates to a budget of $2.9 million.
My math shows:
1 Deputy each shift, 10% of a Sergeant's time, 1 Traffic Officer, 1 Detective. 70% Captain, and 1 Admin secretary. To keep the station open and monitor alarms, there would be 4 Community Service Officers working the front counter, 24x7. 3 cars, 1 motorcycle, and 10 radios.
Nothing in the budget to pay for the facility, but that's the same as San Carlos' contract. Atherton would need to provide the police station.
For $400 per capita, I think you'd have a tough sell -- both to the Sheriff and the to the residents. But, we'll never know until we ask.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm
Insight - thanks for posting this topic and for your analysis. Hopefully the powers that be will give this issue some serious consideration. This thread provides them with a lot of useful information and some good questions.
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm
The biggest questions:
What happens with the parcel tax? Though the Town advertises this as a safety related tax, they have come to rely on it for other expenses, including street maintenance. Should the parcel tax be eliminated if the police are outsourced?
What happens with the disaster program? The Town spent a good amount of money on a "Command Vehicle" to bolster the program. There has been a great deal of planning, much of it led by the Police.
How will the pet peeves be addressed: traffic, noise, construction hours, and parking? The Sheriff will need to commit to high levels of service in these areas. The majority of Deputies didn't sign up to do this kind of work and it will require more than 10% of supervision to ensure service delivery.
What kind of staff time will be required to monitor the agreement. This is an eye opener to organizations which outsource; they need to have someone ensuring compliance with the agreement.
Will the Town still be required to build a new Town facility, particularly one which accommodates the Deputies? If the Town is contractually bound to provide the facility, the Sheriff may decide the existing building is not adequate (and he would be correct).
What allowance will be made for increasing costs in the future? Most outsourcing organizations "low ball" the first few years to get their foot in the door. What will Atherton do when the prices increase (as they did in Woodside)?
And, most importantly, how does the Town determine what it needs for Police services (baseline services)? By extension, how to they define the additional services for which there may be an additional tax?
There are a host of other issues and risk areas.
It would sure be interesting to hear some commentary from the Council and, particularly, THE CANDIDATES on the idea of outsourcing the Atherton Police Department.
I could be wrong, but I think outsourcing the police could be the third rail of Atherton politics.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 9:51 pm
You make some excellent points and I congratulate you for giving this some thought. Although the definitive answers will come from the agreement (if any), let me try to comment on some of them - at least through Woodside's experience.
The Sheriff's deputies work out of Woodside's Town Hall. They have a single desk that is located in a hallway right by the back door. Our deputies are on patrol, not sitting at desks.
All other functions - management, dispatchers, detectives (and that's plural, not one detective), training, the crime lab, jails, bomb squad, the Office of Emergency Services, car maintenance, etc. - all work out of the Sheriff's main office in Redwood City. They have no "local" presence.
The deputies are able to "scale up" coverage whenever needed. To me, this is the single most valuable element of the Sheriff's service. When a deputy needs a couple of extra units to help out, dispatch can easily send in nearby deputies (who are all over the county) and "flood" an area. I've seen them do this in Woodside where in a matter of minutes we've had a dozen Sheriff's units flood into an area blocking streets, searching for a lost kid or helping with a medical emergency. Just last week, there was a serious medical emergency on my street - three Sheriff's cars were on the scene before the paramedics showed up.
You asked about Atherton's disaster program. The Sheriff's Department is in charge of the Office of Emergency Services which coordinates all local disasters, including disasters at the San Francisco Airport. They are truly one of the elite programs in the country and they have SEVERAL vehicles and lots of equipment to handle the entire county. Atherton is already part of this group and, like most towns and cities (including Woodside), still maintains their own equipment and supplies.
You are also correct about the need to monitor the agreement. Like all other town services - including Atherton's Police Department - that is the responsibility of the Town Manager and Town Council. But because they realize their contract has to be renewed, unlike a captive police department, the Sheriff's Department wants to keep you happy so you keep renewing the contract.
You may not believe this, but I honestly don't care whether or not Atherton uses the Sheriff or keeps its current police force. The truth of the matter is that if Atherton switched to the Sheriff, the current Atherton police will likely join the Sheriff's Department and continue patroling Atherton - just as is being done in San Carlos.
But I will not conceal that I think the Atherton Town Council should at least contact the Sheriff and investigate the issue. After finding out the real costs and service capabilities, the citizens and Town Council can decide what's best for their town.
Posted by Telling it like it is, a resident of the Portola Valley: Westridge neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm
Thomas, a couple of pointers for you. First, when using a computer, you don't need to hit the return key at the end of each line like a typewriter. Second, alarm monitoring doesn't cost $300 per month. Get a grip (or some medication).
You have attacked Jon on just about every post you have made. I call it the Johnny Cochran defense, as in: you say you were raped by a _____ man? Yes. Isn't it true you're a racist, that you hate all _____ men? No! Yeah, right, you're just blaming him because he's _____. Here the blank could be black, Jewish, gay, etc.
Substitute cop for the blank, and falsifying a report for the rape, and you pretty much get your argument: don't believe Jon on the police report falsification (even though the COP ADMITTED IT) because he simply hates cops. It's not true, no matter how many times you try to say it in your rambling posts that don't make much sense anyway.
And I am the one who linked it to the outsourcing issue, not Jon. I'm not his spokesperson, nor more so than you are the spokesperson for the Atherton police. I happen to think it's relevant to service, as I explained, and outsourcing is about service and price. But the next time you attempt to criticize someone's credibility, try using your full name. It's not something you have had the courage to do (nor I, for obvious reasons given all of this slander and attacks), but frankly you have a lot of nerve (and not to much intelligence).
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 5, 2010 at 7:31 am
Thomas does surface an interesting point about private patrols. Interestingly, in LA such companies are a cottage industry. And, many houses sport signs in the front yard which state they are covered by an armed private patrol.
I suppose the idea is that LAPD is too busy with violent crime to deal with the residential "concierge services". The private companies have moved in to fill the gap.
Woodside already has such a company, "Woodside Patrol". Some residents wish to have more security than is provided by the Sheriff and they pay privately for the privilege.
I predict if Atherton chooses to outsource its Police Department, more residents will find their way to the private sector for what has historically been provided by their local Government via the parcel tax.
Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community, on Sep 5, 2010 at 9:02 am
Thomas labled the Parcel Tax as the "safety tax". It is no such thing. The Parcel Tax goes into the General Fund. It is used for whatever the City Council chooses to spend it on. In the past several years 3/4's of it has been spent on capital projects.
Thomas suggests that there is plenty of room for reductions in Atherton's budget outside of the police department. He is wrong again. The police department is overstaffed. It and consumes more than 1/2 of the City's budget and more than twice as much as the next largest deparment.
The Police Department has also resisted, sometimes forcefully so, attempts to keep its budget in check.
It was at the time that I honored Jerry Carlson's request to examine the Police Department's budget with eye towards economy and efficiency after my audit of the Building Department that the former chief of police accused me of creating a hostile work environment and had two of his officers raided my office on the pretext that there was a "vandalized computer".
If this is what the term "elevated services" or "special services" means, then Athertonians might very well do better by looking elsewhere for their protection.
As far as responding to alarms. This can be a double edged sword. I know of one resident who was visited by the Atherton Police, ostensibly in response to an alarm that had gone off at his home.
Perhaps it was just a coincidence but this resident has been a vocal critic of the police department and his alarm system was working just fine at the time. This gentleman wisely chose not to take the offer of the Police to come in and have a look around his home.
Finally, Thomas called my lawsuits "frivolous".
Thomas once fails again in his attempt at being a spin doctor. I sued the Town and won reinstatement with back pay and a resolution of commendation from the City Council. I also won the right to reapply to the Town when a suitable position becomes available.
My lawsuit was a long shot because the Town had unlimited resources and all I had were the truth and the law on my side.
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 5, 2010 at 9:17 am
The parcel tax was originally sold as a safety tax. Over the years, the tax has been re-characterized to suit political convenience. Yet, the fact is, every time it goes on the ballot there is mention of it helping to fund safety.
The parcel tax would not be approved if it were marketed as a tax which goes to the General Fund, or for that matter street and drainage repair. Safety sells.
The parcel tax generates $1.8 million / year for the Town. If the Town outsources its Police Department, saving approx $2 million / year, the need for the parcel tax is obviated.
Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community, on Sep 5, 2010 at 9:20 am
Thomas states: "his confrontational video"
He is talking about this video. You be the judge on the description by Thomas.
This video has now been viewed 2600 times.
For those who have not seen it before, John Johns in ball cap is there to view records of two council members properties, both just recently in the news. The woman Kimberly Sweidy is there to see permits on her own property which she pays approx. $70,000 per year in taxes. Kelly Robertson who is fully capable of providing this information that is being requested is in her office across the street and was ordered not to do her job.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2010 at 9:30 am
Insight states:"The parcel tax generates $1.8 million / year for the Town. If the Town outsources its Police Department, saving approx $2 million / year, the need for the parcel tax is obviated. The Town loses its PD and realizes ZERO savings."
Now we get to the heart of the matter - it is NOT how much the Town saves it is how much the taxpayers save. The taxpayers still get equal or better police service and don't have to pay a parcel tax. Sounds like a win-win unless you are trying to protect the Town's empire.
Posted by Insight, a resident of another community, on Sep 5, 2010 at 9:38 am
"The taxpayers still get equal or better police service and don't have to pay a parcel tax."
That's certainly a WIN WIN.
Unfortunately, it relies on "facts" which have yet to be established.
Further, the Town's financials dictate some changes. I had always assumed the grounding for outsourcing was to correct the foundational problem, running the Town in the "black". Guess I got that wrong.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2010 at 9:52 am
Insight states:". I had always assumed the grounding for outsourcing was to correct the foundational problem, running the Town in the "black". Guess I got that wrong."
Nope, you got that right.
Here is my original memo to the Town Council:
Begin forwarded message:
From: Peter Carpenter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: May 23, 2010 2:04:53 PM PDT
To: James Dobbie <email@example.com>, charles marsala <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Jerry Carlson <email@example.com>, kathy mckeithen <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Elizabeth Lewis <email@example.com>, jerry gruber <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Time for the Town to make fundamental structural changes in its current and future expenditures
Dear Town Council,
It is clear that Atherton faces a significant shortfall in its property tax revenues, has a significant unfunded pension liability and has escalating expenditures. This is not a short term problem and it cannot be resolved with minor adjustments to the current budget. The time has come for making fundamental structural changes in the Town's expenses.
I suggest that the Council quickly and carefully examine the following means of reducing the Town's current and future expenditures in order to produce a balance budget and an adequate level of reserves:
1 - Outsource police services to either Menlo Park or the Sheriff.
2 - Outsource all building permits and inspections to a pre-qualified list of private inspectors with the full costs being borne by the permittee.
3 - Enter into an MOU with the MPFPD to provide the Town with access to the Fire District's ECC and to utilize that already established and superbly equipped site as the Town's EOC.
4 - Outsource all public works activities to qualified contractors on a competitive bid basis
5 - Consolidate the Town's human resource function with the human resources functions of one or more nearby communities.
6 - Consolidate the Town's finance function with the finance functions of one or more nearby communities.
7 - Consolidate the Town's purchasing function with the purchasing functions of one or more nearby communities.
In pursuing these options there will be some front end costs. Labor agreements will have to be renegotiated to accomodate these changes but that is being done successfully throughout the State. It may be mutually advantageous to offer early retirement to some long term employees. These front end costs can be further mitigated by having some of the Town's current personnel and equipment transferred to the outsourcing agency or to the new consolidated function. In addition, the freed up office space could be used to house one of the consolidated functions.
The bottom line has to be a long term expenditure line which is less than the projected revenue line after making provisions to fully fund the Town's unfunded pension liabilities while also maintaining an adequate reserve. Ideally this should be done with the expectation of any future parcel taxes.
The Town has very little time in which to deal with these issues and the longer we wait the greater will be the gap between revenues and expenditures.
Posted by Curious, a resident of another community, on Sep 5, 2010 at 10:11 am
Since you have so many facts and figures seemingly available at your fingertips,could you please list the amount of lawsuits the cities of Menlo Park, and Atherton have filed in the past 12 months? I do not mean those which directly affect ALL the populus, but the frivolous ones which deal with ball park lights, noises from trains, and just generally inane and silly ones which no other county but yours would dare bother with?
I exclude Portola Valley because they are pretty calm people and Woodside which is fighting legal battles for building Electric Cars and using big time out of town law firms to try and salvage monies from the banking scandals still. Also, I don't think they really think of Menlo Park or Atherton, as part of their "kind".
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2010 at 10:15 am
Insight stated: "...Over the years, the tax has been re-characterized to suit political convenience. Yet, the fact is, every time it goes on the ballot there is mention of it helping to fund safety. ... Safety sells."
By jove, I think you've got it.
Insight has identified the dirty little secret of political spending. Whenever there is a shortfall, the very first thing our politicians threaten to cut is teachers, fire and police. Of course, they wouldn't dare suggest cutting any of the HUNDREDS of commissions and bureaus that bloat our government.
Local government is the same. It's so much easier to threaten your family's safety or your children's education than addressing overstaffing, pet projects or unsustainable pensions.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm
I heard of a resident being stoped by Atherton Police without probable cause. This unlawful detention occurred after the individual had put up a post critical of the Atherton PD. (This individual did not use a psuedonym.)
Hearing of that incident makes one inclined to post anonymously.
Posted by Wow, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2010 at 8:18 am
Anon you are dreaming. If APD could track down negative posters of a small local paper to stop them without probable cause (no mention of a ticket, arrest, tongue lashing about the post) they would be the best PD in the country...and they would be getting sued constantly for this harrassment conspiracy...which is a fantasy.
Please stay on topic. I think APD should contract with the SMSO and save the city the money, parcel taxes, drama, and lawsuits that having APD has caused over the years. Keeping "local control" of such a small group is silly. The SMSO does a great job in Woodside, and they would do fine here.
Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community, on Sep 6, 2010 at 9:10 am
"Anon you are dreaming. If APD could track down negative posters of a small local paper to stop them without probable cause (no mention of a ticket, arrest, tongue lashing about the post) they would be the best PD in the country...and they would be getting sued constantly for this harrassment conspiracy...which is a fantasy."
It's really not that difficult, here is the rest of this so called fantasy.
9/04/2010 7:00PM 3 Atherton Black and White patrol cars are parked between 31 and 35 Linda Vista, Atherton.
The officers observe this woman leaving her mothers property, they pull her over on Atherton Ave at 7:15PM. The officer claims the reason he pulled her over was that a burglary had occurred across the street.
I checked the Atherton Police log and was unable to confirm the Burglary online.
I went to the Atherton Police Department spoke with Officer Tim Lynch and he was unable to confirm a Burglary or any Police activity had occurred on that street at that time.
Posted by usual suspect, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm
Why couldn't the technology officers connected with the R.E.A.C.T. task force right here in Atherton (cyber cops), be able to have easy access to monitor, control, edit, trace, or anything else they want about this blog.
The system has most certainly been abused before. They can follow every key stroke if they want.
You can not let fear stop or inhibit a public forum. This is supposed to be America. We are still allowed to have opinions.
However, I do post anonymously, and with some defiant optimism---just in case no one is bending the rules that came with their spy ware training.
Posted by Atherton, a resident of another community, on Sep 10, 2010 at 6:33 am
The Beverly Hills Police Department budget was obtained on the BH government website. I ultimately found it on a presentation delivered to the Council by the Police Chief. The population number is more easily obtained.
I agree, BH is a completely different city and it is truly and apple and oranges comparison. There is a section of BH, however, which has similarities to Atherton. It is for that reason that I was curious about the per capita number.
Perhaps Watkins Ave needs to be the next Rodeo Drive! And, while they're at it, they should annex some of the unincorporated areas adjacent to the jurisdiction and put up some exclusive hotels.
Posted by quality counts, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 8:34 am
If Guerra can't get rid of the bad apples in his basket, throw the whole bunch out.
I have lived here for 50+ years. Things are as bad now as they have ever been.
The only way things will get better is if we put our police department on notice that if it continues to behave badly then everyone working there, both good and bad, will soon be looking for a job in a very difficult economy.
Posted by finally, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm
Another really accusatory vicious post probably written by one the local police fan club, Melinda Tevis or Michale Stogner or John Johns or Jon Buckheit or Ms Wickett or a few unnamed ones.I too have lived here for over 50 years, quality counts, and see an outstanding professional and highly trained group of officers led by an very qualified Chief. Never before have police officers needed to be part lawyers, skilled in police enforcement practices and have the ability to interact with all segments of society from one moment to the next. Very easy to be critical and to suggest that they all be thrown out. Come to think of it the post sounds like Stogner or Johns style of writing.
Unfortunatly the people listed above are totally dedicated in their intent to cause trouble for the Atherton police department by filing make work fantasy charges that cost the Town considerable money to investigate. It also seems that the Town Council and particularily Mayor McKeithen should start supporting the police department publicly and tell the community what a fine job they do rather than support the witch hunts.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm
Finally, I find your post above bizarre. You post anonymously, yet try to "out" the identity of the anonymous poster with whom you don't agree. For the record, I am not "quality counts".
What is your name? I can understand why some pople are afraid to criticize the police department using their own name, for fear of retaliation, but I cannot understand why someone who is supportive would be afraid to use his or her actual name.
You also accuse me as being "totally dedicated in [my] intent to cause trouble for the Atherton police department by filing [make work] fantasy charges that cost the Town considerable money to investigate".
What "fantasy charge" did I file? Do you mean the decision by a Superior Court Judge that completely vindicated my position? Is that your definition of a "fantasy charge"?
Posted by finally, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm
Jon, I would not be afraid of using my own name other than concerned about offending your crowd as you play very rough. John Johns is [portion deleted] and you employ him as well as Stogner. Why would I take you on so you could bring legal acton against me or do violence as Johns might do someday. I am not really interested in engaging you but wish to let others know how you are such bad news for Atherton.
I know that you will bring your money, hatred, and resources to disrupt things and all you need to do is look at the details of your multiple compaint against the Town in the Federal court suit. Not normal Jon! You are suing for not giving them a position on the finance committee. To use your word...how "bizarre" is that?
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 9:03 pm
You're ridiculous, accusing me or John Johns of retaliating violently against people. That's just a stupid smear as this has simply been a war of words. You obviously are not interested in responding using words, just invective, as you still not have answered my question about the "fantasy charges" I have filed against the Atherton police department. I would say you're the one living in a fantasy, as despite objective evidence that caused a judge to censure them in the harshest possible way, you still maintain it's just "money, hatred and resources".
Posted by finally, a resident of the Atherton: Lloyden Park neighborhood, on Sep 11, 2010 at 6:31 am
You asked why I did not choose to use my real name and I told you. Seems like you did not like the answer that I would be concerned you might sue me or Johns unpredictable behavior was of concern to me. That is my choice as allowed by this forum.
There is probably not one person concerned in the Town's adminisraton that is not concerned about Johns given his statments over a long period.
I asked you why you were suing the Town of Atherton for not choosing you to be on Finance Committee. This is not a fantasy as it is one of the ten or eleven nuisance claims listed in the suit.
Posted by CrimeReports, a resident of another community, on Sep 11, 2010 at 7:34 am
@ Michael Stogner regarding your 09-06-10 "contribution" ...
A check of the CrimeReports.Com website reveals two "incidents" which appear to be the events to which you refer. The times, however, don't match up with your report.
Crime Type: ALARM
Date: 2010-09-04 19:11:00
Address: 1 BLOCK LINDA VISTA AV
City, State: ATHERTON, CA
Police Narrative: Time: 19:11:00
Crime Type: VEHICLE STOP
Date: 2010-09-04 19:42:00
Address: ATHERTON AV & MERCEDES LN
City, State: ATHERTON, CA
Police Narrative: Time: 19:42:00
Given the above, I don't believe the Atherton Police Department did anything which could be construed as concealing the incidents. They apparently did not rise to the level of importance which merited their inclusion in the Media Bulletin, but were published to the CrimeReports.Com website.
You should check out www.crimereports.com. It might be useful to you when you need to verify your information. That way you would have know it was an alarm call, not a burglary.
Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community, on Sep 11, 2010 at 9:53 am
"Finally" might very well be surprised that I wrote a note to Chief Guerra yesterday expressing my appreciation for his prompt and courteous replies to my complaints and inquiries.
Finally might be surprised that I wished the Chief well and that I expressed my sincere belief that he is Atherton's best hope for cleaning up the Police Department.
Inasmuch as I have confidence in Chief Guerra. I know that the Chief cannot, on his own, clean up the Police Department. Ironically, he will need the help of people like Jon Buckheit and others to enable him to weed out what I believe to be a small minority of officers who have had a devastating effect upon the reputation of the whole department.
I respectfully submit that those who are stopped without probable cause, or those who have thier homes invaded by cops bent on retaliation have a civic duty to file complaints about such misconduct through official channels as Jon Buckheit has done and as I have done. This is the only way, short of outsourcing the Police Department that the problems will be fixed.
As it pertains to Jon Buckheit and his complaint with the Town,
There can be no question that Jon Buckheit has a legitimate complaint. An Atherton police officer testified under oath in open court that his police report was falsified.
It is also a matter of public record that Jon Buckheit was denied a position on the Finance Committee because he exercised his due process right to seek redress in court for the misconduct of an Atherton police officer.
"Finally" can engage in obfuscation, revisionism, and innuendo all he wants to try and smear the reputation of Atherton's Mayor, Kathy McKeithen, a highly successful entrepreneur like Jon Buckheit and me, an award winning former Finance Director of Atherton. None of this changes the facts and circumstances at hand.
The inconvenient truth that "Finally" would like to obscure is that an incompetent City Manager, backed by an unethical City Attorney aided by a corrupt majority of the City Council has placed the City at severe risk. If people in the administration fear me it is because they fear the truth.
If anyone wants to see where Atherton is headed, just look over the hill to Half Moon Bay.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 11, 2010 at 11:55 am
Finally, first off, you not only accused John Johns of the possibility of reacting violently, you also accused me. Reread your post. There is no basis for either accusation. In fact, enormous attempts were made to try to provoke John to react violently so the town could come down on him like a ton of bricks (the incident where multiple police gathered around is car and he was asked to start it, and then stop it), but he has always kept his cool. You're just trying to smear a man who was mistreated by this town and vindicated through entirely proper legal channels.
Next, you asked about the finance committee. A council member admitted the reason he wouldn't interview me or consider me for the finance committee is because of my lawsuit against the Town of Atherton. It is illegal under federal law to do that. It's called retaliation for seeking redress of grievance. This law may offend your sense of the importance of cronyism, but I on the other hand believe it is important that Atherton start obeying the various laws that ensure openness, fairness, and transparency (the federal Civil Rights Act, the Brown Act, and the Public Records Act all come to mind).
Now that I have answered your question, how about answering mine? For the third time, what "fantasy" charges have I filed against the Atherton Police Department? I'm waiting for you to describe what I accused them of, and how this is a "fantasy" on my part. I doubt you will, since it's clearly not a "fantasy". Unlike you, Mr. Johns was in the courtroom when an Atherton police officer admitted the report had been falsified, and the judge rendered his unprecedented decision and censure. It's not a fantasy, Finally, nor does it mean the entire police department is bad. As Mr. Johns said, there are a few rotten apples whose shenanigans are having a devastating effect on the entire department, and may be a contributing factor to it being outsourced. The only fantasy is yours - that no problems exist, that everyone is great who works there, etc., but this view clearly flouts the actual facts (and these are facts, not opinions). You are implying that your opinions and smears should have greater weight than a judge's decision, and this severely undermines your credibility.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm
As I stated much earlier in this thread " Finally has no source credibility, may live anywhere and contributes practically nothing to what is meant to be "a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. "
Finally's subsequent postings simply affirm my observation - Finally contributes no facts and only personal attacks. He owes those whom he so carelessly attacked an apology.
Posted by true Blue, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2010 at 1:47 pm
I believe that "Finally" has been actually very wise to post anonymously. When his bubble "finally" does pop, just looking in the mirror should prove challenge enough, with out any further social scrutiny added on top. I would know, I have been through it.
At least he has made himself a handy list of people who have already been through this shock to the system, and he will know where to find some rare sympathy in this town for the painful loss of his misplaced faith.
This is the kind of thing that does and probably should shake anyone right to their core.
For myself, I wish that blind loyalty had turned out to be more of a virtue than has panned out, vigilance and accountability are a lot more work to maintain.
Let's all hope and pray that Chief Guerra is able to give us for real, "the fantasy" we all want to share.
Posted by Real Police Work, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2010 at 10:18 am
Almanac, you obviously have a double standard of post enforcement here.
Why weren't you removing "Finally"'s posts when he was "going after" other people on this topic, including people who used their own names to post?
Why didn't you delete "Finally"'s post when he wrote, in response to an anonymous posting: "Another really accusatory vicious post probably written by one the local police fan club, Melinda Tevis or Michale Stogner or John Johns or Jon Buckheit or Ms Wickett or a few unnamed ones"
Why are you deleting my post when I point out that this thread was written by an Atherton police officer (= "Insight") and "Finally" is his father? I'm not mentioning names, like "Finally" did. It goes directly to credibility.
Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community, on Sep 14, 2010 at 10:55 am
For five years I worked to ensure that the Police Department got everything it needed to carry out its duties. I considered my working relationship with the top brass to be very good. Occasionally, I pushed back on the hiring of an officer to save $100k or so. However this was no problem because the Chief at the time Robert Brennan agreed to this minor trimming of the Department's budget if not somewhat reluctantly.
I considered my relationship with the Police Department to be very good.
In my final year of employment with the Town, I was asked by the Finance Committee to look at the opportunity to make deeper cuts in the Police Department's budget. As a result, the Chief appeared to feel threatened.
What happened as a result is a story I have told often. The false complaint by the Chief of a hostile work environment, the raiding of my office, my unlawful arrest, my criminal investigation on charges of fraud and the illegal search and seizure and apparent tampering of my laptop computer by an officer who remains employed with the Aterton Police Officer and who was assigned to the REACT task force at the time.
I suffered what I consider to be the worst kind of betrayal. Those whom I considered to be my friends turned on me like an ill bred german shepard. Those whom I considered to be my friends and colleagues sought to destroy me.
I am probably the last person who would dare say that there is hope for the Atherton Police Department. I believe that Chief Guerra can, with the support of its residents, trim down the Police Department and make it once again worthy of the public trust.
He will need the help of all Athertonians. He will need the City Manager and City Council know that Athertonians will, if necessary throw out the baby with the bathwater.
What the City Council and the City Manager must hear is that Atherton will seek to replace the Police Department if it doesn't get it's act together, if those bad actors who remain with the Police Department aren't shown the door.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2010 at 11:13 am
Finally didn't use the pseudonym Finally because he was afraid John Johns would physically attack him or I would sue him. Those were just smear-type of excuses to mask the real conflict of interest behind his attacks.
John Johns, the true class act he is, has risen above this mud with his post above. He may be one of the last hopes the police department has for surviving. I would urge Chief Guerra to hire Mr. Johns to help determine the corrective courses of action that need to be into place and to streamline the financial operations of the department so that Atherton residents can be assured their police department is operating to the highest standards of ethics and financial prudence when they are asked to financially maintain it.
Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community, on Sep 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm
The post by "Losin it" is, unfortunately illustrative of the attitude of some of those employed by the Atherton Police Department who are sworn to protect and serve.
Violence by use of a nightstick is one way bad cops have, over the years abused their power, other tried and true ways of making victims out of honest civilians is to perform a trafic stop without probable cause, planting incriminating data or images on one's computer, responding to alarms that did not ring to gain access to one's house under false pretenses and falsifying police reports.
Unfortunately these tactics appear to have been used by bad cops employed by Atherton recently.
Without knowing it "Losin it" serves as a very effective advocate for reform in the Atherton Police Department.
Posted by accountability, a resident of the Atherton: Lloyden Park neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 11:10 pm
It's time that officers in the Atherton Police Department learn that no matter where they live, no matter who they know or no matter how long their parents may have lived in Town, they will be held accountable if they break the law.
Hopefully Guerra will agree that the days when a dirty cop is given a free pass because his father has lived in Town for more than 50 years are over with.