InMenlo Flash

Two years ago, the Menlo Park community was facing rising gang crime and shootings in the Belle Haven neighborhood. At that time, the City made a commitment to change.

At a community meeting in late 2012, members of the police department, local officials, and residents committed to making the City a safer place for everyone to live, work and play.

In 2014, the police department responded to over 20,000 calls for service, conducted over 11,000 traffic stops, wrote more than 4,000 reports, and arrested nearly 1,500 individuals. The resulting 2014 crime statistics showed an 11% decrease and the fewest Part 1 crimes, consisting of homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and arson, since 1999. The annual crime report is available online.

In addition, last year — for the first time — the police department committed to providing transparency by reporting the outcome of complaints filed against our personnel in 2013. We will continue to report these numbers annually.

The police department continues to be at the forefront of technology as one of the first San Mateo County police agencies to wear body cameras. The department issued body cameras to all police officers and sergeants in 2014 in hopes of strengthening officer’s performance and accountability, enhancing the department’s transparency, documenting encounters with the public, and investigating and resolving complaints and officer involved incidents.

In 2014, the Menlo Park Police Department received 31 citizen complaints out of 40,065 officer contacts. In 2013, 30 citizen complaints were received. When reviewing personnel complaints, it is important to look at the number and types of calls for service law enforcement officers respond to within the evaluated time period.

The number one complaint filed was for discourtesy or rude behavior displayed by an officer (16 complaints). Out of the 31 citizen complaints filed, two were sustained (6.5%), 16 were exonerated (51.6%), five are still currently under investigation or pending (16.1%), and one was unfounded (3.2%). Additionally, 22.6% of the complaints were withdrawn (by the person who filed the complaint) before the investigation was completed.

The use of body cameras has allowed supervisors immediate access to view incidents mentioned by complainants. The review of these recordings upon receipt a complaint allows for an examination of a situation as it happened based upon the facts, as opposed to recollection.

A sustained finding of a complaint means that an internal investigation was conducted and the evidence indicated that the complaint was founded. The two founded complaints were for conduct unbecoming. For a complaint to be exonerated there must be proof that the officer’s actions were consistent with department policies and protocols, and this occurs quite frequently since we require our officers to wear audio and video recorders. For a complaint to be determined unfounded it must be demonstrated that the alleged actions did not occur or did not involve our personnel.

Law enforcement officers come into contact with the public in several ways, including response to calls received by the public safety dispatch center, flag downs or requests by a citizen in public, and officer initiated activities (which range from traffic to pedestrian stops). Not all calls for service result in reports taken or the issuance of citations. Officers use discretion, experience, knowledge of laws/policies, and their communication skills to resolve situations.

The calls for service do not reflect the frequent number of walk-ins to the police lobby front counter and phone calls where professional staff ranging from records and parking to the administration provide services to the public (i.e. police report copies, vehicle releases, parking enforcement/permits, media inquiries, property/evidence, etc.). Out of these thousands of interactions, no complaints were filed.

With all this factored into the equation, 31 complaints per year is an acceptable number, but we will always strive toward lowering this number to zero.

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Rotary Club of Menlo Park announces new grant money to local non-profits

The Rotary Club of Menlo Park has announced that $20,000 will be made available to local non-profit groups who identify a compelling public need in Menlo Park or a surrounding community, and project to help solve that problem. The grants will range from $1000 to $10,000, and will be awarded by March 31, 2015.   The […]

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Menlo Park Police Department reminds residents that house numbers should be clearly visible

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The Menlo Park Police Department requests that all residents assist emergency services by clearly displaying house numbers. Seconds count in an emergency, and easily-read house numbers assists the response of emergency services to a call for help. House and business address numbers should be clear enough so that the police, the fire department, paramedics, etc., […]

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Did you lose a Starbucks gift card in west Menlo?

Update: The card and owner have been reunited. Emails Menlo Park resident Nancy Eigsti: “I found a  Starbuck’s gift certificate yesterday (January 7, 2015), which was intended for for someone named, Bevin, and it was a gift from Ariel. If you are either Bevin or Ariel, please call (650) 815-8360 with the correct amount of the of […]

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Eighth grade team from Sacred Heart Schools wins first place in We the People state competition

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The Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) eighth grade Government Team came in first place in the We the People state competition in San Diego on Dec. 19. Students from all over California participated in simulated congressional hearings regarding the ideologies and fundamentals behind the United States Constitution. Led by coaches Chris Chiang and Nicole Rehberg, […]

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Zero for 27: No Menlo Park establishments sold liquor to “minor decoy”

Through a grant awarded by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Menlo Park Police Department conducted a Minor Decoy operation on Sunday, December 21, 2014. A requirement of the grant is to conduct compliance checks at ABC-licensed locations. During the operation a minor, under the direct supervision of the Menlo Park Police Department, attempted […]

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December rain is outpacing what fell in last good rain year 2010-11

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InMenlo weather watcher Bill Russ measured an additional .35 inches on Friday (12/19) and overnight, bringing his year-to-date total to 13.60 inches. This is ahead of the seven plus inches at this date in December during the 2010-11 rain season, the last time he recorded over 20 inches for the season. All this rain has brought […]

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Last 24 hours brings more rain to Menlo Park

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Today is suppose to be a “dry out” day around the Bay Area and here in Menlo Park. We’ve had a good soggy December with InMenlo weather watcher Bill Russ reporting another .2″ in his gauges early this morning, bringing his recorded season-to-date to 13.25″. The mushrooms in the accompanying photo by Irene Searles are big […]

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Rainy weather is Menlo Park norm this December

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Reports InMenlo weather watcher Bill Russ: “As of 7:50 this morning, I can report an additional .5″ for yesterday and during the night. My season-to-date total is now 13.05″. Just grand!” All that moisture is prompting mushrooms to sprout all over Menlo Park. Theses tiny one-inch ‘shrooms were spotted by InMenlo contributing photographer Irene Searles.

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The Members raise nearly $2,500 at benefit concert at Freewheel Brewing

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The Members played at Freewheel Brewing a couple of weekends back to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club. Band member Richard Johnson provided an update on the evening’s take: “Apparently 110 tickets were collected so we rounded up the band donation to $2,328, that being $388 per band members – all lucky numbers!” […]

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Rain keeps pounding Menlo Park with more on the way

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Update at 4:00 pm from Bill: ‘Add .3″ of rainfall to my 8am report for a total of 1.3″. My season-to-date total is now 12.55″. This compares to 4.7″ on this date in 2010. The rain year 2010-2011 was the last, in my backyard, to exceed 20″. Those months in early 2011 produced 16′. May […]

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