Atherton officer named in lawsuit retires | February 1, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - February 1, 2012

Atherton officer named in lawsuit retires

by Renee Batti

An Atherton police officer named in a federal lawsuit for his role in a domestic violence incident and the subsequent alteration of a police report has announced his retirement.

Officer Dean DeVlugt, who turned 50 just days ago, announced his retirement on Jan. 26, effective Feb. 29.

He could not be reached for comment.

Officer DeVlugt is one of four officers named in a still-unresolved lawsuit filed by Jon Buckheit over his arrest during a 2008 domestic violence incident at his Atherton home.

Mr. DeVlugt's role in the incident was placed squarely under the spotlight when it was revealed that he had altered the police report filed by another officer to falsely state that a young boy who was present during the domestic dispute had been physically assaulted by Mr. Buckheit.

Officer DeVlugt was later cleared of wrong-doing by an internal affairs investigation conducted by an outside party hired by former police chief Mike Guerra.

Interim Police Chief Ed Flint could not be reached for comment on the retirement of Officer DeVlugt, who has worked for the town for 11 years.

During the public comment period of the Jan. 18 City Council meeting, Mr. Buckheit cited a more recent incident involving Officer DeVlugt, a "K-9" officer who handles police dogs as part of his work. The dog in Mr. DeVlugt's care, Lotty, died in November after ingesting part of a sago palm in the officer's backyard. The palm is highly toxic to people and animals, and Officer DeVlugt has been criticized for having such a plant in his yard.

Noting that Officer DeVlugt had earned an additional $408 per month to care for the dog, and that the town had invested tens of thousands of dollars in Lotty over a two-year period, Mr. Buckheit said citizens were looking for "some accountability" over the incident.

Contacted after Officer DeVlugt's retirement announcement, Mr. Buckheit said he had "nothing to say" about it. But, he added, "I do believe that Atherton finally, after many years, has a competent and effective individual as police chief, and I look forward to him making changes for the better in the police department."


Posted by Ouch, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Lots of retirements in the APD it seems.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm


is there a reason teh link to the full story is a dead link? Is APD monkeying with computers again?

Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Great question Menlo Voter...the link is dead. I'm just glad they finally made a story about it. I announced it on my FB page a couple of days ago.

Editor's note: The link should be fixed.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm

All I can say is, about freakin' time Atherton. This interim chief is a far better chief than you folks have had in your "permanent" chiefs. If you really want to keep your police department and want one you don't have to be afraid of or concerned about, you need to hire a chief from outside that will kick some butt like Chief Flint clearly has. Sherman Hall should be next on the "retirement" list.

Unfortunately, other than having to retire "early," DeVlugt has gotten off easy for his attrocious violation of public trust.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe refused to investigate or charge Officer Dean DeVlught.

What a shame for this to happen in San Mateo County, that is not discretion.

Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm

No DeVlught isn't the only bad apple, yes, Sherman Hall should be retired.