New police chief reflects on first week in Menlo Park


His first week on the job started well, then took a tragic turn as an explosion in San Bruno on Sept. 9 destroyed lives and homes. Menlo Park's new police chief, Bryan Roberts, said the department sent two patrol officers to the scene, and is committed to doing whatever it can to help.

Other challenges lie in wait, like building connections with a community whose relationship with the police has sometimes been rocky. He listed one goal for his first 30 days as becoming acquainted with the residents, and the other police officers.

That includes getting out of the office to visit local civic organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club and the Chamber of Commerce.

"They're certainly going to see me out there quite a bit. I'll be out in a patrol car today with one of our officers to learn more about the geographic boundaries," Chief Roberts said. "It's a busy, busy time."

The 49-year-old man served the past four years as second-in-command of the Citrus Heights police department in Sacramento County. Menlo Park is similar in its desire for a professional, responsive police department, he noted, but different demographically, given the uneven geographical distribution of affluence among its residents.

"Some neighborhoods have different challenges, like Willows and Belle Haven," he said. "We'll be listening to those communities and responding to their needs."

Specific ideas on how to engage the community in cooperative problem-solving will have to wait until he gets a feel for what the department is already doing.

A former Marine, Chief Roberts has spent 24 years in law enforcement. The family-oriented atmosphere and professionalism of its police department drew him to apply for his new job, he explained, and his own family made a smooth transition to their new home.

He replaced Bruce Goitia, who retired June 1. According to the city, Chief Roberts emerged as the front-runner in a pool of more than 30 candidates across the United States.

"It's been a very good experience," he said of his first week here. "Everybody in the community and city has been very welcoming."

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Sorry for you
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm

A sad time to begin with the San Bruno explosion.
But, you should gird your loins and get ready for the whackos who are always complaining about something being wrong between Menlo Park and Atherton and the types of complaints will turn you gray.
Good luck

Like this comment
Posted by Nurse Ratched
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2010 at 6:53 pm

I am sure the Almanac Town Square was not in the brochure when he took the job. Run, don't walk. The inmates are running the asylum.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 13, 2010 at 7:23 pm

"The inmates are running the asylum."

Describes Atherton not Menlo Park. Menlo Park has its warts but it doesn't have a corrupt majority on the city council and doesn't have incompetent staff.

Like this comment
Posted by Nurse Ratched
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2010 at 8:05 pm

@Menlo Voter, I was actually referring to the usual suspects on the message boards as the inmates, not the staff or council members.

Like this comment
Posted by Predictable
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I was just wondering when "Joanna" will start complaining about the new chief's salary!

Like this comment
Posted by Sorry for You
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm

AND this is the welcoming committee.

Do not be ashamed or embarrassed when you have to get your first RX for Prozac.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Peek inside the fine-dining Selby's, opening in Redwood City this summer
By Elena Kadvany | 8 comments | 4,316 views

Homestead Faire at Hidden Villa 4/27
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 1,242 views

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 9 comments | 1,212 views

Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard."
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,131 views


The Almanac Readers' Choice ballot is here

It's time to decide what local business is worthy of the title "The Almanac Readers' Choice" — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 27th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 17th issue of The Almanac.