Menlo Park losing Police Chief Bob Jonsen to Palo Alto


Menlo Park Police Chief Bob Jonsen will leave Menlo Park early next year to head the police department of the city's larger neighbor, Palo Alto.

The job comes with a pay bump – to $260,000 – and a $3,000 per month stipend for 18 months to live nearby, according to a city of Palo Alto announcement. In Menlo Park, his pay was $205,000.

"Bob was a tremendous asset here for the past five years," Menlo Park City Manager Alex McIntyre said. "I think Palo Alto is going to come out ahead with a tremendous new police chief I think the whole community is going to be really proud of."

Chief Jonsen helped to create Menlo Park's citizen's advisory committee, saw the department transition to using body cameras, and encouraged private sector funding from Facebook for a youth truancy officer and an improved police substation in the Belle Haven neighborhood.

Earlier this year, he encouraged the City Council to spend $177,000 to send the entire police department, in three shifts, to Bend, Oregon, for a three-day mindfulness program designed for police staff. Two of three segments of staff have completed the program and the third is set to go in early 2018, Chief Jonsen said.

"I am grateful and excited about being selected as the next Chief of Police for the City of Palo Alto," Chief Jonsen said. "I consider myself privileged to become part of a team that has always worked hard to enhance how they serve this community. My career has afforded me opportunities to serve communities throughout southern California and more recently Menlo Park.

The Palo Alto City Council is scheduled to confirm Jonsen’s hiring on Dec. 11. Pending the council’s approval and the finalization of background check requirements, Jonsen would start his new job on Jan. 9.

"I look forward to working with the entire Palo Alto community for many years to come and will do my best to earn their trust and to provide leadership to a department full of amazing people who truly care about and want to serve this city with professionalism, integrity, and respect."

In 2016, he won a Golden Acorn Award for public service, given by the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce.

Palo Alto Weekly reporter Gennady Sheyner contributed to this report.


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5 people like this
Posted by Dawn
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 14, 2017 at 1:21 pm

I, for one, will be sad to see Chief Jonsen go. I think he has done a great job in the Belle Haven neighborhood in terms of increasing safety and liveability. I hope MP is able to find someone who can continue the work he started. I appreciated the efforts he took to connect with the community and listen to their concerns. Good luck in Palo Alto.

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