Here's what a police department does when service is part of their credo Atherton, posted by Watcher, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2012 at 11:19 am
From the Hillsborough Police Department's Facebook page:
Based on the events of today, please take the time to view the following video: “Run.Hide.Fight. Surviving an Active Shooter Event.” This is a 6-minute long public service announcement produced by the City of Houston with instructions on what to do if you find yourself in the middle of an active shooter event.
They have many other public and community service announcements and photos on this page. I encourage readers to view it.
Let's contrast this to the Atherton Police Officer's Association page on Facebook. It's all about grousing about their compensation, attacking council members, and sending off letters to residents to tell them for whom to vote.
Here's a data point: Hillsborough police officers make LESS than Atherton cops.
Just goes to show how a few bad chiefs can permanently devastate a police department, by hiring the wrong officers (who can't be fired) and thus creating a toxic atmosphere that goes on and on and on.
Posted by Lame excuses, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm
When I look at that Hillsborough police page, I don't see a single post complaining about the politics of their town or their compensation. Every post is related to helping the residents of the community they serve.
The Atherton police pages for APOA PAC and Facebook are exactly the opposite. Every post is a diatribe about their comp and how they hate council members who have tried to implement some cutbacks. There is not a single post to be found that tries to serve the citizens paying their salaries.
The shooting is just the latest example on the Hillsborough page. There are dozens more.
Posted by pay attention, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm
The Hillsborough Facebook page is maintained by the Hillsborough police department - management; the Atherton Police Officers Association page is maintained by the employees of the police department - labor. It would be strange if the two pages didn't present differing views. BTW, the Atherton Police Department FB page doesn't have much of anything on it.
Posted by Watcher, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm
How do you know the Hillsborough Facebook page is maintained by "management"? It's a well-designed page that clearly has contributions from many members of that police department. Anyway, I'm not quite sure why only "management" can put up positive messages that help residents. I'm sure the Atherton police officers could do so if they wanted to.
The Atherton FB page doesn't have much of anything? Other than the two letters to residents castigating certain council members, links to their political action committee, links to articles in favor of not cutting back police pensions, etc., it has absolutely nothing. No service messages whatsoever to the town.
Again, Atherton cops make MORE than Hillsborough cops. But obviously have quite a different attitude.
Posted by Watcher, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm
Unfortunately, I have to agree with you. The aggressive, arrogant, and callous maneuvers by the Atherton police (APOA) PAC have caused many residents (including those posting on these forums) to develop an attitude of bewilderment, sadness, and mistrust regarding these officers.
Posted by Anon Too, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 17, 2012 at 6:27 am
I believe due to council budget decisions- Atherton no longer has a School Resource Officer for the nine schools in Atherton. The APOA has informed residents that the council determines policy regarding police staffing.
Posted by fairness, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm
Peter asks, " It is not clear why Atherton should bear this expense."
To put it accurately. why should Atherton taxpayers bear this expense? The police department is 57% of Atherton's budget and is understaffed by four officers. The school activity detracts from regular Atherton service calls to residents and yet school calls do not directly impact residents. The town council should seek reimbursement from the school districts involved to pay for these police services. That seems to be only equitable.
Here is the recap of school related incidents taken from the Police Chiefs October report to the Town Council
Officers responded to 108 school incidents during this reporting period. The incidents involve “Traffic” related issues and “Other” calls for service that include but are not limited to thefts,
alarms, assault and battery, security checks, non-students on campus, gang activity, and narcotics activity. The following depicts the number of incidents per school:
Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community, on Dec 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm
So if I understand the message Fairness is trying to communicates, Its more important to make sure the PD has the resources to water lawns, feed pets, pick up papers and answer stupid calls because somebody had the nerve to ring the door bell to sell GS coookies than it is to answer REAL calls for REAL police services such as the ones as reported in the post. Frankly, I would feel a lot better if MAHS called real trained cops to come help anyway (MP, EPA, SCCSO).
Posted by Watcher, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 18, 2012 at 11:37 am
Last night, a poster made comments about how Atherton police officers conduct themselves. The poster appeared to have inside knowledge of the police department, which prompted Menlo Voter, a respected a long-tme poster, to post that it's probably one of the Atherton cops who are using the APD as a stepping stone to another agency.
Posts critical of authority and government are supposed to have the highest degree of possible protection under the 1st Amendment. If certain members of the police department didn't like the posts, I suppose certain member of the city council do not like posts these officers are making about them either (but those posts were not deleted).
I am concerned and troubled by this, as I have seen threats on these forums to cut off the Almanac's advertising if it continued to permit posts or articles critical of the police department.
Free speech must take priority here. Restore that post. And to the Atherton police officer who made it, thank you for having the courage to speak out against the system.
Posted by fairness, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm
Atherton Police Department report to Council month of November
There were 96 criminal investigations for the month of November. 75 offenders were cited,arrested or referred to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. 56 of those cases were for vehicle code violations that include driving without a license, driving on a suspended license,driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving with marijuana inside a vehicle. The other cases were arrests for outstanding warrants, attempted burglary, possession of a concealed
firearm (Gang Task Force), public intoxication, domestic violence, robbery, false identification to a peace officer, and possession of marijuana for sale.
Of the 1,823 total police incidents for the month of November, 706 were officer initiated incidents, which resulted in 471 citations being issued for vehicle code violations. Officers also
initiated 235 other types of incidents that included contacting suspicious people on the street or in cars, as well as security checks at schools and Holbrook Palmer Park.
Holbrook Palmer Park had 24 incidents this reporting period, 19 of which were security checks by officers. Other police activity at the park included suspicious vehicles and parking complaints.
Officers responded to 17 ordinance violation calls this month. These calls were for various construction ordinance violations, a barking dog complaint, soliciting without a permit, and workers making deliveries before 8am.
APD performed a total of 436 home security checks during November.
Officers responded to 108 school incidents during this reporting period. The incidents involve “Traffic” related issues and “Other” calls for service that include but are not limited to thefts,alarms, assault and battery, security checks, non-students on campus, gang activity, and narcotics activity. The following depicts the number of incidents per school:
SCHOOL # INCIDENTS
LAS LOMITAS SCHOOL 0
MENLO COLLEGE Traffic- 4
SACRED HEART PREP
ST. JOSEPH’S 0
SELBY LANE SCHOOL
The average response time for Priority 1 Calls for Service (incidents are categorized from 1 to 3
with one being the highest priority) was 6 minutes during this time period, which met our goal of having an average response time of less than 8 minutes.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 18, 2012 at 1:20 pm
This is something that seems to happen with some frequency here. Usually, they post that it was removed for terms of service violation and sometimes the posts simply disappear. Perhaps when there is no actual terms of service violation they just make posts they find objectionable disappear. As far as I can tell neither my post nor the one I was responding to violated any terms. I'd like to know why it was taken down.
Posted by Renee Batti, news editor of The Almanac, on Dec 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm Renee Batti is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Menlo Voter and Watcher, I went back and looked at the comments that were taken down to try to respond to your questions. I'll give it my best shot:
My best guess is that the editor who removed the two posts was in a big hurry and decided to forgo the explanation, although we try to explain as often as we can. He just took them down because it was the quickest thing to do.
Menlo Voter, you responded directly to the post that was removed, so most of your post wouldn't have made sense without the other. I think if the editor on duty had had more time, he might have removed only the portion that referred to the other poster's statements and let the other portion remain. But sometimes time demands preclude the surgical removal of words, phrases and/or sentences in a post, and we're reduced to using an ax.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm
Thank you for your response. The only question I have is that given in the past, the offending portions only are removed leaving most of the post in tact on other posts, why was it not possible to do so in this case? Thanks again.
Posted by Watcher, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm
No personal references were made in the comment that was taken down whatsoever. The comment referenced the behaviors of a chief and a lieutenant,, but did not specify which chief or which lieutenant. There've been many chiefs and many lieutenants in the Atherton police department in recent years. The comment made about the chief and lieutenant was quite benign (referring to their dislike of a council member who has been critical of the department). Deleting the entire comment because of this one reference seems very extreme, especially when it is likely that the post was generated by an Atherton police officer.
Posted by Renee Batti, news editor of The Almanac, on Dec 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm Renee Batti is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Menlo Voter, As to why some of your post didn't remain, time had to be a factor, as I stated before. But also, it looks as if some intricate surgery would have been required because throughout the post you weaved in so many references to "Scooter," the poster whose comments had been removed.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm
you would not have needed to excise anything in my post, only in Scooter's, if he in fact used specific officer's names. I don't think he did. The only name I recall was former council member McKeithen's.
I said essentially, "This sounds like one of the APD officers I have made reference too, which are using APD as a stepping stone. The rest are too lazy to go anywhere else." What would have needed to be excised there?
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community, on Dec 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm
No answer so my guess is the Almanac felt threatened by the police officers possibly retaliating.
Over 20 years ago a former APD chief, who back then was a regular duty cop, beat the tar out of me during a traffic stop. I did mouth off but we all know that doesn't justify physical violence. [portion deleted] It was one of the most horrible experiences of my life.
This is a department that has always belived a different set of rules applied. It was true 20 years ago, and it's sadly and apparently still true today.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Dec 22, 2012 at 7:49 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
As the news of the Connecticut school tragedy continues to unfold, our hearts go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy. During a time like this, all schools in Town have an increased awareness of campus security. Please be assured that each school has emergency protocols on dealing with an intruder on campus and practice these protocols, including lockdown drills. The Atherton Police Department participates with each school and it's emergency exercises. Also, we are mindful of the potential emotional impact a tragedy like this may have on kids. We have been assured that school staff are attentive and watching for signs of emotional stresses and counseling staff is ready to assist those students who may need services.
The following links are provided for your information:
Resources for Coping with Tragedy
Talking with Kids about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
Common Sense Media (Three minute video) - Explaining the News to Our Kids
Child Mind Institute(One and half minute video) - Helping Children After Traumatic Events
National Association of School Psychologists - A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope
The schools in Atherton are well prepared for to address school safety and emergency preparedness, but it is important to communicate that in light of current events, the schools have reinforced their efforts to re-educate about safety and emergency procedures.
As parents, it is unfathomable to contemplate the possibility of this type of tragedy at one of the local schools, but we stand ready should it occur.