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Tonight: Atherton council asked to approve request to destroy police records

Original post made on Feb 19, 2013

Records are routinely destroyed after a specified time in police departments across the state, but given some Atherton residents' concern during recent years over incidents involving police, the latest request for City Council authorization to destroy 18 police files on internal affairs investigations and citizen complaints is likely to draw some criticism.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 11:44 AM

Comments (8)

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Posted by Routine?
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm

If complaint records are "routinely" destroyed across California, that shows me there's a problem statewide with how far police unions have pushed the pendulum in their direction. But, it doesn't matter.

Atherton is not "routine."

Other California taxpaying residents don't "routinely" pay enormous parcel taxes to fund a police department.

Other California cops don't "routinely" get paid at the 70th percentile of cops in San Mateo County.

Atherton cops should be held to a higher standard. Or, if we fall back to the "routine" let's cut the salaries of Atherton cops down to the average Let's eliminate the parcel tax.

(And I don't believe records destruction insofar as complaints go is "routine" and certainly should not be!).

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Posted by What's the Standard?
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Does Atherton have a comprehensive police records retention policy like the one Ross, CA has?

Web Link

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Posted by Routine?
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 19, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Here's an online survey of various police departments in California:

Web Link

Law requires a MINIMUM of five years. APD wants destruction as soon as the law allows. We can do better.

Note in the survey one department wanted to destroy after five years and a court requested they did not.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm

[Portion removed.] You can get the same or better service by contracting with the Sheriff's department and by hiring private security to take care of all the other non-police duties you currently are paying top dollar to pay your police department to do. With all due respect, that's pretty stupid. Expecially, considering the professional and educational achievements of the people that live there.

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Posted by What's the Standard?
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm

@ Routine?

Thanks for posting that link. The majority of the Departments that responded indicated 5 years. Though the survey's not scientific, that seems to be pretty standard.

I think this will really boil down to whether the Council trusts the Police Chief and City Attorney who both recommend adoption of the resolution.

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Posted by Routine?
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm

That's one way to look at it, and the way the APOA wants to look at it.

Here's another way. I found another interesting website:

Just take a look at it. It has a running total of all the recent contract negotiation wins in California, so the next department can springboard off that into a never-ending spiral of endless compensation increases. Another lists "discipline victories" where police unions have been able to override the scant occurrences of actual discipline by police chiefs in California. The whole website could have been written by the APOA and John Mattes.

The interesting part is here:

Web Link

"It is highly recommended that POA's, where such destruction does not occur, negotiate such an issue into their next MOU."

In other words, it's an issue that cops are supposed to NEGOTIATE along with other compensation/quality of work considerations.

Isn't it fascinating that the APOA contract is up for renegotiation right about now, and they want this concession rubber-stamped by the council members they bought (Lewis and Wiest, and their crony, Jerry Carlson) BEFORE THE CONTRACT NEGOTIATION EVEN STARTS.

Smart move by them. But it would be a really stupid move by the council to give them this huge concession without anything meaningful in return. Or better yet, do the right thing by the residents they are supposed to represent and tell cops that when a taxpayer complains, that complaint isn't going to get put into the shredder (or deleted on the computer; physical storage isn't even needed these days).

What would it do to crime in California if criminals were told that their arrest/conviction records got shredded in five years? No three strikes, no priors after five years.

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Posted by Colleen Anderson
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 20, 2013 at 10:43 am

I strongly do not agree with the destruction of the police records. We are not other cities. Atherton in the last 10-12 years has had more questionable behavior then I have ever seen in my 40 plus years in this town. With scanning documents so cost effective and easy why are we talking about not leaving a paper trail.
Why did we pay Pilar Buckley $250,000 without even a deposition? I have directly asked, and was told it was confidential. They couldn't discuss the matter.

Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2013 at 11:35 am

Colleen asks a great question,

"Why did we pay Pilar Buckley $250,000 without even a deposition? " This was paid right after the criminal case was lost. No deposition.

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