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The unfiring of a Menlo Park police officer

Original post made on Jun 4, 2013

Questions linger months after the Almanac broke the story about the arrest, firing and reinstatement of veteran Menlo Park police officer Jeffrey Vasquez: How, exactly, does a police officer keep his job after being caught naked with a prostitute in a Sunnyvale motel room? Now the public finally has some answers.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 6:35 AM

Comments (35)

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Posted by Jim Askin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Ok, so if we're not firing this cop, can we instead please fire the clowns that handled this situation and allowed him to get his job back. I need to see heads roll for this.


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Posted by Michael G Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Binding Arbitration.....Get rid of it


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Posted by Karl
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Anyone who can follow all the ins and outs of this case deserves to be a PhD.


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Posted by James
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Good investigative reporting! Thanks for the article.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

So Vasquez wasn't properly trained that visiting a prostitute while on paid duty time is morally, if not legally, wrong? Blame his parents? Police officer training can't be expected to rectify lack of morals.

This officer's misjudgment & behavior is disgusting & paying him $188,000 instead of just firing him is an insult to the community which pays PD salaries and to other honest officers who might commit such transgressions on their own, not City-paid, time.


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Posted by well I get it
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Its obvious. Why should he get fired for working undercover. ;-)


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Posted by Really ?!?!?...
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Now there's a surprise...What is more embarrassing? The fact that it happened? Or The manner in which it was handled? or not handled?

Guess there is a different set of laws/books for them.

Feeling more confident about the MP city government now.

Thanks for breaking that story Almanac--- and keeping us all further informed.




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Posted by Oh well
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 4, 2013 at 8:39 pm

The Post previously published that Matt Bacon was the internal affairs officer sent to the scene. He's gone now. Commander Burt and Chief Roberts are both gone. The only two left at MPPD are Vasquez and his bro Detective Tim Brackett. After being busted is the hotel room with a hooker, Vasquez was escorted home by Detective Brackett, who received a promotion shortly there after, which is all on the public record.


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Posted by Terry
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I'll soon forget Vasquez's name, but if I ever encounter a Menlo Park police officer, I will assume he is Vasquez and accord the officer the lack of respect Vasquez deserves.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 5, 2013 at 5:38 am

I don't see it any differently than the case of the current Menlo Park City School District superintendent, Maurice Ghysels, sleeping with one of his principals at his former job in Mountain View, while they were both married to other people. There's just rot at the top, and they are used to getting away with things. We should just be grateful that all this talent is still employed at our expense.


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Posted by Michael G Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 7:46 am

Sean D. Howell wrote this piece.

Web Link


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Posted by Antoine Dodson
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 8:32 am

It's simple. Was this officer wrong? Absolutely. Would I have respect for him and his judgement or observations if pulled over by him? Likely not... However the law works the same for anyone else as the disciplinary process for government employees. For example: let's say you rob a bank, but the next day are stopped in your car with hookers, blow, loaded weapons, a mask and gloves, and the money. If you were stopped and searched unlawfully, guess what? The entire basis of the stop and the findings of the stop are completely thrown out the window. You can't be charged for any of what they find during that stop.

Binding arbitration works...generally.


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Posted by Don Bartell
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

How disgusting from start to finish. Shame on all involved. This trash officer has no business on the streets of our fine city.

to officer Vasquez, hope bad things come your way. I hope you screw up again in the near future and you get what you deserve...


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Posted by Don Bartell
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 5, 2013 at 11:27 am

What can we do? We can complain, and share our disappointment.

Mayor of MP
650-328-0300
piohtaki@menlopark.org

Police Chief of MPPD
650-330-6326
policechief@menlopark.org


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Posted by Menl Park resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

Everyone involved should be ashamed. Gee, do you suppose this is the case of "old boys club". Disgusting. Are our fine officers not taught to "keep it in your holster" while on duty? I thought prostitution was illegal, maybe he should have arrested her, instead of being "undercovers" with her. And to to paid for this, how lovely !!


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

Antoine Dodson is correct.

Vasquez is a good officer and I'm glad that the city's incompetence was revealed in this case. They screwed up worse than he did (pun intended), on several levels & got nailed for it (pun also intended).

Now, what's being done about the idiotic former & current City Managers who spoke about this in a bar?! Is Vasquez going to sue because his reputation is now ruined?


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Posted by Jim Askin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

To "Mmmmmm",
Your definition of a "good officer" is different from most of us here.

It is not acceptable for a police offer to be committing illegal acts. They are supposed to set the gold standard for us to follow regarding adherence to the law (irrespective of what yours or his personal moral believes are of prostitution).

Unfortunately we appear to have a bunch of buffoons in the mayor's office who really mishandled this. That's a separate topic. But let's not let that make us loose sight of the fact that this officer is breaking the law by sleeping with hookers and is a disgrace to the badge he wears. A "good officer" would not break the law by his own admission on numerous occasions.

And his lawyer is playing word games when he says he "committed no crime". He may have not been convicted of the crimes, but by his own admission he committed them.

I would welcome a law suit from Vasquez on whether his reputation was ruined. That wouldn't be behind closed doors - so everyone could he him for what he really is. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.


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Posted by Confirmed.
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Affirmative. It's a duck. Can you hear the quacking?

A WAKE UP call for city government! Do the right thing.



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Posted by B Roke
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Big Government at its best! And apparently Gov't not big enough according to deal leader!


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Posted by disagree
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm

While I agree that Vasquez could hardly be called a "good cop" I am not ready to blame the mayors office or those that investigated his misconduct for him escaping his just punishment. There was not enough information provided, not does it look like there ever will be, about what misconduct was done on the city side. Since binding arbitration does not have to follow the law it could just be the arbitrator was an idiot and did not like the way the city handled it even if it was done legally. Since we won't know I don't think we can leap to judgement against the city, at least for that. I do think the city needs to be more transparent on the topic of disciplinary actions in the police department and other areas. Between this case and the case of the fired gymnastics teacher we should all be asking what is going on and what is the city hiding from the people who elect them and pay all their salaries?


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm

This really just makes me puke, and all the noise and chaff being thrown out there is even worse. What is wrong with all of our cities, has Tony Soprano taken over things or what? What can we do about it?

All a corrupt jerk has to do is to arrest someone knowingly not following the correct protocol and they both just shrug their shoulders and move on when the case gets tossed out - in every case the public just keeps getting screwed.

This was the jerk of a cop that gave me a fix it ticket for a break lamp that I had the replacement bulb in my car ... and on my birthday on El Camino back about 2 years. Good to know he's such a stickler for the law, and Menlo Park supports their criminal cops


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Posted by common sense
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2013 at 12:37 am

If it wasn't good enough to get Bill Clinton thrown out of office, same rules should apply to Officer Vasquez.


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Posted by Uncommon sense
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2013 at 7:24 am

Clinton didn't break the law. He did violate federal policy about relationships with subordinates. As an elected official, he could only be impeached, not fired, and there were not enough votes for that, which mainly fell along party lines.

Vasquez would not have been reinstated by an arbitrator had he been convicted of the crime he confessed to. That lack of conviction was obtained by a brother cop not bring able to show up to court (for months) to testify about his confession. It's all thin blue line stuff. Trying to get rid of this vile individual was the right move by the chief (who is ridiculed in the Sean Howell article) and city manager.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 6, 2013 at 8:22 am

This whole situation has stink on it. There's plenty of blame to go around. While Vasquez may get his job back, he would do well to move on from MP. The city should look to eliminate binding arbitration. Discipline should be handled by the city not an arbitrator.


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Posted by Michael G Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2013 at 8:28 am

It would be interesting to know if that Sunnyvale police officer was able to attend any other court cases during the months he was unable to attend Vasquez's.

Remember he was ordered to complete the original report after 3 weeks of not doing it.


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Posted by Uncommon sense
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

I had asked the Almanac, back in another thread, to issue public records requests on the Sunnyvale officers' time records to determine whether he was truly unavailable.

By the way, the one point not being made here is: why is arbitration better for the cop than the court system in matters of discipline?

It's a question that the Almanac article did not answer. Let me attempt to.

Arbitrators are paid (handsomely) for the time they spend adjudicating a case. They also need to be agreed upon by both parties to the dispute in most cases (if the parties ultimately cannot agree, the arbitrator winds up getting appointed by the arbitration association).

Does it make sense that an arbitrator who wants to keep getting selected by police unions and police lawyers, to make money in police disciplinary cases, wants to make decisions that cut the cops' way most times?

It does to me, at least.


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Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 6, 2013 at 9:11 am

In Menlo Park, the arbitrator is not appointed by any association if the two parties cannot agree. Instead the state supplies a list of five arbitrators and each side takes turns eliminating names until one remains.


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Posted by Uncommon sense
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2013 at 9:15 am

Well there you go. Establishes my point even more.


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Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2013 at 10:49 am

If the MP police hadn't screwed up their internal investigation, Vasquez likely would be gone. Point and vent your spleens at the proper party involved.


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Posted by Idol Hanz
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2013 at 11:22 am

[Post removed; off topic]


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Posted by common sense
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2013 at 6:17 am

Clinton did violate the law - he lied under oath. But the public said it's okay because he was lying about having sex.

Office Vasquez's case is similar - it's all about sex, and should he fired for having sexual relations with another consenting adult?


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Posted by Uncommon sense
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2013 at 7:39 am

For whatever it is worth, I believe Clinton should have been convicted of the impeachment, But, it would have been very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he lied under oath since – if I remember correctly – his denial of sex, he claims, was based on a definition of intercourse.

Prostitution and soliciting prostitution are crimes. Maybe you don't think they should be, but they are. An on-duty police officer committing a crime should be fired. I'm not sure why there should be any controversy over that idea.


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Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2013 at 8:47 am

Actually Clinton did break the law. He committed perjury under oath. As a result, his law license was yanked.

As for Officer Vasquez: did he really have to go and hire a prostitute
from My Redbook, which has been a target of the FBI for years?


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Posted by RESIDENT/tax payer
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

This definitely needs to be investigated further. He broke the law, fire him. A disgusting cover-up by his buddies. Oh, be sure to get time spent with prostitutes, while on duty, paid back to Menlo Park. So, figure it out and deduct from the $188,000.00. You have not heard the end of this. This MUST be investgated by an outside party, like one of the local TV stations. Or, fire him for illegal behavior, and pay back money. HE MUST RESPECT THE LAW.


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Posted by b.giles
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm

why are they letting this officer get by with breaking the law is beyond me.i&to give him back pay just shows you who the law are for, I know him personally [portion deleted] he will go defend himself look good for the judge&he goes back doing whatever! what can you say but that whole department needs to be under investigation


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