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Atherton: 60 show up for outreach meeting

Original post made on Feb 22, 2010

About 60 people came to the Atherton community outreach meeting on Monday night, Feb. 22, and while most wanted to know about the recent spate of home burglaries or to complain about traffic problems, a few had more serious grievances to air to City Manager Jerry Gruber and police Chief Mike Guerra.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 22, 2010, 10:21 PM

Comments (77)

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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm

(1) In defense of Ms. Tevis, I received the following e-mail from an individual who obtained it through a public records request from the Town of Atherton. It was sent by Chief Bob Brennan to Marc Hynes, Wende Protzman, with cc: to Tim Lynch and Glenn Nielsen on 10/1/07 at 7:13 a.m.:

"Mrs. [NAME REDACTED FOR PRIVACY; NOT TEVIS] is taking up too much of our time for these types false report incidents. I would like to put her on a do not respond.

Any advice?

Bob"

(2) In response to Chief Guerra's allegation as to why no investigation can take place about police report alterations, it seems obvious to me that sealing means the reports cannot be distributed to any third parties without proper permission, not that Mr. Guerra himself cannot look at the report. Nonetheless, if he is truly concerned about that issue, he could contact my attorney at any time to get both my permission and to seek the judge's permission to distribute the report to independent police agencies such as the FBI or Attorney General so they can do a proper investigation of the matter. It is inappropriate for Atherton to investigate its own internal affairs matters on its own, as it would be for any agency of that size to do so. Thus far, as far as I know, neither he nor anyone else from the Town of Atherton has attempted to obtain this permission.


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:50 pm

I would also like to add that I was delighted that former Police Chief Richard Moore came up to talk with me after the meeting. I got the strong impression that his involvement in a citizen's police review board could work wonders for helping with the current issues with the police department.


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Posted by Why
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 23, 2010 at 12:27 am

I am not understanding some things here. Jon you were arrested over 1 1/2 years ago. You would have thought that in that year and a half or reviewing for trial someone would have stepped forward and said this police report isn't right. You would think that someone would have been honest enough to come forward. Now that there caught by a judge there looking into it. Form a tax payers point of view it would have been nice if they looked into it from day one. Form a tax payers point of view I am pissed my tax payers dollars eight thousand of them I might add is what it cost me so you could get paper work (police report) you are legally entitled to. We should make the person pay the $8,000.00 who's bright idea it was not to give you the paper work. Hey Jon How much did it cost us per page. People it's our money. Were paying our police force to care about us and protect us. Not arrest us and cost us money.


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Posted by Call Us
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 23, 2010 at 12:45 am

Melinda there are a number of us that love and think very highly of you. Any time you need help feel free to call us. I think it's sad there is even a do not call list. Form what it sounds like this public record could be credible. Thats a shame. You are such a caring person. I am truly sorry. My heart goes out to you.


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Posted by bloodhound
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 23, 2010 at 7:45 am

Jon Buckheit is not the only victim of police records having been falsified.

I know of one other instance where such was the case. I am reluctant to describe the specific document or circumstances for fear of retribution and a coverup.

If Chief Guerra is truly serious about cleaning up the Police Department he will call a meeting with Peter Carpenter. At this meeting, he will go into the Police Department\'s evidence locker and he will produce the original of the record which I have reason to believe was falsified.

I am prepared to show up at the Atherton Town hall, accompanied by Mr. Carpenter at the hour and day of Chief Guerra\'s choosing.

Mr. Guerra, the docunent I am referring to is not under seal by any court. Here\'s your second chance to come clean.

If you do not meet with me. I\'ll be happy to share what I have with the US Attorney when he comes riding into town.

Mr. Guerra you can continue to be part of the problem or you can become part of the solution.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 8:36 am

Jon Buckheit does it again, proves the Chief of Police of Atherton is not being honest.
A lifelong resident said she had stopped calling the police because she knew that the police department had put her on a "do not respond list," a charge Chief Guerra denied.

"We do not have a do not respond list," he said.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, 6 hours ago
(1) In defense of Ms. Tevis, I received the following e-mail from an individual who obtained it through a public records request from the Town of Atherton. It was sent by Chief Bob Brennan to Marc Hynes, Wende Protzman, with cc: to Tim Lynch and Glenn Nielsen on 10/1/07 at 7:13 a.m.:
"Mrs. [NAME REDACTED FOR PRIVACY; NOT TEVIS] is taking up too much of our time for these types false report incidents. I would like to put her on a do not respond.
Any advice?
Bob"
Michael Stogner, a San Carlos resident who is running for Rich Gordon's county supervisor seat, stood up to support Buckheit.

"I urge you to solve (the investigation) quickly," Stogner said. "What you have is police officers in Atherton committing crimes against your own residents."
Guerra said he wanted to investigate but no longer has access to the police report and is otherwise constrained because of the active litigation.
To be clear (the investigation) I am referring to is at least one APD Officer committing a felony fabrication of a police report against Jon Bucheit. Jerry Gruber and Mike Gurerra and Steve Wagstaffe are aware of this crime.



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Posted by scorekeeper
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 9:08 am

By the way most Athertonians keep score, Melinda Tevis comes in dead last. She doesn't own a fancy home. She doesn't have a large bank account. She isn't a high paid executive.

However in the scorecard of life that really matters, how much Melinda cares about and cares for others and how much these actions and feelings are reciprocated. Ms. Tevis stands out amongst her peers.

All of Atherton would do well by the example Melinda has set. If more people shared Melinda's capacity for caring and for her attention to the needs of others, Atherton would be a much better place.


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Posted by True Blue
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Over one half of Atherton's budget goes to run the police Department.
What remains of the other half our money is spent on Police related litigation.
The new management is now implementing a schedule of fees on residents to add to their parcel tax contributions to keep the town afloat, rather than look "the sacred cow" stait in the eye.
When you hear that 97% of residents support our Police Department-you are hearing something very close to the truth.
Yes!!! 97% of the resident's money goes to support the police Department.


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Posted by Ranch Gal
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 23, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I read with great interest that Michael Stogner is running for Rich Gordon's seat. Michael you sound like an honest stand up guy and hopefully you will tackle the BLATANT CORRUPTION and back slapping at the County Supervisor level. Rich Gordon and his cronies have acted to feather their own nests instead of upholding the law. Just sit in on some of the Board of Stupidvisor meetings and you will see how they manipulate situations, their votes are already pre-determined with back room deals etc. PLEASE clean up the County! Corruption is everywhere! Rich Gordon almost ruined me a few years ago for political corrupt reasons.
I have been an Atherton resident since the '50s. Seen many chiefs come and go. I think Guerra has to come clean and hold his officers to a higher standard. I have also known the Tevis family since the 1960's and they are wonderful folks. I was horrified to read she was on a NO respond list. I believe there definitely is favoritism in the Ath PD.


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Posted by West Side guy
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 23, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I attended the meeting last night, and I approve of the concept. Too much time was spent airing out personal gripes, instead of common problems. The police are hamstrung, damned if you do, damned if you dont Support them and give them a break.


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Posted by Ranch Gal
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm

West Side Guy: Nice of you to support the Ath PD but wait until you come home at 2 am and the PD stops you for ZERO reason. Just because they can.... I had not been drinking at all. I own a regular looking auto. 2001 Taurus, worked at the science lab until very late, going down Atherton Avenue to my residence and bingo, red lights flash. Drinking? Nope. Step out of the car. I complied. Did the DUI balance dance. Why did you stop me officer? I hadn't done anything to warrant being stopped. He said " THIS IS MY STREET. I can stop anyone I want to at any time.

GOT IT?


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Posted by Melinda Tevis
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Like everyone else I was invited to attend an informal community meeting, designed to provide venue to air and address any concerns between residents and the Town's Police Chief and Manager.
Because I appreciated this invitation, I attended and spoke.
Because I want to be proud of our town and our Police Department I thought long and hard about what might be my most useful participation in this goal.
Because it is so rare now (and I consider precious), for most to be as fortunate as I am, to have an actual HOME TOWN, I felt a special obligation to be attentive, to show up for the meeting, and grapple with my stage fright.
Perhaps because I am such a loyal champion of Dead Messengers everywhere--my own delivery often fails miserably.
WHAT I MEANT TO EXPRESS IS THIS:
THE TRUEST MEASURE OF OUR POLICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD BE HOW THEY TREAT OUR MOST UNIMPORTANT RESIDENT--A TITTLE THAT I CLAIM VERY PROUDLY FOR MYSELF AND WILL NOT RELINQUISH TO ANYONE


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Posted by prophet
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

happy are the meek for they shall inherit Atherton


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Posted by e.grimley
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Ranch Gal....good point about the 'Stupidvisors.' What we are about to witness again is the San Mateo County Shuffle. The Treasurer retires...a supervisor whose term has ended wants to slide in....thus opening a seat on the Supes Board....the ex-sheriff wants to slide into that seat from his position with the hospital board....and on and on it goes. Same players...different titles...and we are to expect change? (Ever notice how the sheriff always retires just before his term is up so his/her #2 takes over as sheriff? Then, come election time, the #2 is now the encumbent...and is easily elected because no one knows the difference?) Priceless!


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Posted by ED
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Dear West Side Guy
The problem with giving the "cops a break" is that after too many breaks they end up broken.
Also the Town Coffer ends up broke.


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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm

happy are the meek for they shall inherit Atherton



Yeah, but only when the rich are finished with it....


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Posted by prophet
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Interested misses the point.

It's people like Melinda who enjoy this town as much if not more than anybody else. She's got friends, real friends. Friends that know they can count on.

Interested has expressed the kind of a cynicism that has a hollowing effect on the Town.


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Posted by My take
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm

I was there last night. My favorite line from Guerra (in response to whether he would arrest the officer who fabricated Buckheit's report): "yes, in fact, we've arrested several of our own officers [in recent years]". This department is a dozen officers!

Mr. Buckheit is quite a speaker. Frankly, he's too well spoken, smart, and frankly right, for anything good to come out of APD's fight with him. Guerra and the Town should work with him to improve things in the APD rather than fight with him.


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:39 am

I am truly grateful for the support I have received from many members of the extended community both on these message boards and elsewhere.

Ranch Gal, I am troubled to hear the story about your traffic stop. Police officers need probable cause or reasonable suspicion that the suspect is involved in criminal activity to detain. Self-professed ownership of a street is completely inappropriate. Based on your story, it sounds to me that this officer needs to be retrained at the very least, and given an attitude adjustment. I recommend you make a report, even a belated one, to the police chief, city manager and town council if you still have his or her name.


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Posted by guardian
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 24, 2010 at 8:56 am

Our job is to keep the riff raff out of town. Driving a 2001 Taurus is all the probable cause I need to make a traffic stop.

If ranch gal is offended then she should move out of Atherton or buy a newer car.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 24, 2010 at 10:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Bloodhound states:"I am prepared to show up at the Atherton Town hall, accompanied by Mr. Carpenter at the hour and day of Chief Guerra\'s choosing."

I have talked to the Chief and he is willing to meet with you and me. Please email me at peterfcarpenter@gmail.com so we can arrange a mutually convenient time.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 24, 2010 at 10:46 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I think that Guardian should confirm that she/he is not an Atherton Police Officer lest the readers who might miss the sarcasm of her/his post assume otherwise.


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Posted by 2ndamendment
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Lets just disband the PD and form a militia. I'm sure there are enough retired folks around Atherton that have nothing to do. Evidenced by this website on a daily basis.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 5:55 am

2/2/2010
Chief Guerra told The Almanac he couldn't comment on the situation, as there is a pending lawsuit, but did say, "We take those things very seriously, and we're looking into Buckheit's (allegations)."
"Those things" = Atherton Police Officer Falsifying a police report. To be more specific adding a new victim to the police report which changes it from DV to include child abuse which is a whole new ball game.
2/22/2010
Chief Mike Guerra told a group of Atherton residents "He wanted to investigate but no longer has access to the police report and is otherwise constrained because of the active litigation."
City Manager Jerry Gruber and Chief Mike Guerra have known about these FACTS for a substantial amount of time. This is not a secret anymore, yet they refuse to solve it. Identify and prosecute the Atherton Police officer/officers who have committed a felony against Mr. Buckheit.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:04 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

RanchGal stated:"West Side Guy: Nice of you to support the Ath PD but wait until you come home at 2 am and the PD stops you for ZERO reason. Just because they can.... I had not been drinking at all. I own a regular looking auto. 2001 Taurus, worked at the science lab until very late, going down Atherton Avenue to my residence and bingo, red lights flash. Drinking? Nope. Step out of the car. I complied. Did the DUI balance dance. Why did you stop me officer? I hadn't done anything to warrant being stopped. He said " THIS IS MY STREET. I can stop anyone I want to at any time.

GOT IT?"

Well, her is the follow up to that posting:

A search was done using the following criteria: Date – 1/1/2000 to 2/23/2010; Time – 0100 to 0300, Vehicle Make – Ford. The results showed five traffic contacts during this time on Atherton Avenue. One was a Ford Mustang, one was a yellow cab, and three were either a SUV or Van. There was not a Taurus in the system.

This strongly suggests that the stop cited above did not occur.

If the search criteria used, which were based on the details in the above posting, were wrong then please provide the correct criteria. "


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:07 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I previously posted:
Bloodhound states:"I am prepared to show up at the Atherton Town hall, accompanied by Mr. Carpenter at the hour and day of Chief Guerra\'s choosing."

I have talked to the Chief and he is willing to meet with you and me. Please email me at peterfcarpenter@gmail.com so we can arrange a mutually convenient time.

************

I have not yet heard from Bloodhound.


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Posted by Bloodhound
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:39 am

Hi Peter

Please check your e-mail. I sent you a note this morning.

If you have not received this. Please post a note right away.

I look forward to your reply.

Confidentially yours,


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Bloodhound's email was sent and received at 8.35 this AM and I am attempting to coordinate a meeting time with the Town Manager and the Police Chief - complicated by the fact that I will be out of town the next two weeks starting on Sunday.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 25, 2010 at 9:24 am

Peter -

With regard to your inability to locate RanchGal's claim of being stopped in the data base, you should know that not all traffic stops are recorded in the data base. This is especially true for "nuisance stops" where no ticket or warning is issued.

To other Atherton residents -

Recognizing that many do not like advice from "outsiders," I would just offer the following information. In Woodside, we contract with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department for our police services. We have two full time patrol units that cover Woodside and Portola Valley 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We only pay for those officers and do not have to fund full-time, 24/7 services from a supervisory and support staff (Chiefs, Captains, Lieutenants, etc.) or jails, or car maintenance services, etc. Additionally, if our patrols need extra help, there are literally DOZENS of other deputies and patrols that can flood into our area at the drop of hat.

We have very little turnover of Sheriff's staff and I have to tell you that our deputies couldn't be more polite, professional or accommodating. They are as much a part of our town staff as anyone else. They are family.

I'm sure some will cite a million reasons why this could never work for Atherton... but I can tell you that it definitely works for Woodside and Portola Valley. We get great service at a very reasonable cost.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Pogo states:"Peter - With regard to your inability to locate RanchGal's claim of being stopped in the data base, you should know that not all traffic stops are recorded in the data base."

In fact all of Atherton's patrol cars are audio/video equipped, and all traffic stops are recorded.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I don't want to belabor the point but did you view all the video tapes, Peter?

Like I said, just because a traffic stop occurred (and may have been taped), doesn't mean it was entered into the official log (which is what I suspect you checked).

I tend to believe RanchGal's story. Her memory is just too vivid and scary to be fictional.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am confident that ALL of the Atherton traffic stops ARE in the data base and therefore see no reason to give more credence to an unsubstantiated allegation than to a very clear history of recorded traffic stops. Perhaps the time of day, location or make of car were incorrectly stated; if so, I will request that a repeat search using new parameters be done.


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Posted by techno geek
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm

With all due respect to Mr. Carpenter I think he is placing too too much faith in both the word of the Atherton Police Department and in technology.

Digital images and recordings can be deleted and routinely are. Additionally, there are far too many points at which the different data collection and record keeping systems (such as video recordings, dispatch logs, police reports etc.) used by law enforcemtn to be reconciled with one another that would enable one to account for every event, every contact and every minute of every day of a patrol officer's time.

To conclude that the event that Ranch Gal describes is fictional because there is no record of it quite frankly smacks of denial.

It is this very kind of denial that has enabled the Atherton Police Department to escape accountability for so long.

Finally I would caution Mr. Carpenter on the distinction between accessibility and honesty. If I make my life an open book but the pages are full of lies, you really haven't learned anything even if you read my book from cover to cover.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If both sides simply alleged what happened or didn't happen then it would be impossible to give one more weight than the other.However, based on the allegation which has been made and the facts that have been provided, I elect to go with the PD's contemporaneous data base.
Why is it logical to given more credence to an individual's sketchy allegation than to a careful review of an historical data base?

What additional facts can Ranch Gal provide - the specific date, a description of the officer, different time or different street than the ones used in the search of the data base? With beter data the search may show a different result.

That is an informed choice on my part, not denial. Others may come to a different conclusion.


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Posted by skeptical one
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 25, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Has it ever occurred to Peter Carpenter that Ranch Gal might not be inclined to be more specific about the circumstances of her unfortunate encounter?

Has it ever ocurred to Mr. Carpenter that men like Jon Buckheit are the exception, rather than the rule?

I believe Mr. Buckheit has displayed extraordinary courage by revealing himself to the community.

By comming out in the open as he has, Jon has he opened himself up to suspicion and prejudice within the community (lets be honest with one another, we are all inclined remember the charge rather than the disposition) and a wife or girlfriend beater is not a reputation anyone would want to have, especially if it is undeserved.

By comming out Mr Buckheit has also opened up himself to retaliation by the police.

One might speculate Ranch Gal might be reticent to say more because she doesn't want to have a reputation for erratic driving. Perhaps she's just afraid.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

skeptical one asks:"Has it ever ocurred to Mr. Carpenter that men like Jon Buckheit are the exception, rather than the rule?"

Yes, and I have publicly acknowledged my admiration and respect for Jon and his actions.

skeptical one asks:"Has it ever occurred to Peter Carpenter that Ranch Gal might not be inclined to be more specific about the circumstances of her unfortunate encounter?"

Yes, and I have given her the benefit of doubt and invited her to provide additional information which might help resolve the apparent conflict between her allegation and the PD's data base.

And please give me the benefit of doubt - I am neither stupid nor naive, but just trying to build some bridges.


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 25, 2010 at 4:54 pm

It seems clear to me at least, that the fact a policy may exist that all traffic stops must be logged, and no log entries were found for Ranch Girl's assertion, does NOT mean that what she alleges never happened. That forecloses the possibility that the policy was not followed in this situation (and, as POGO points out, one can imagine reasons why it may not have been). I do not think Peter is implying that computer/A-V equipment automatically records and logs each traffic stop, and therefore there is no possibility of a human being choosing not to follow a policy (but if I am wrong about that, please correct me). If and when Ranch Girl comes forward, either publicly or to the town management as I have suggested, with specifics as well as the name of the officer (if she knows it), a proper investigation of this complaint would involve matching her assertions and her testimonial credibility against both the lack of the log and the testimonial credibility of the officer who is the subject of the complaint. I do not think it is appropriate to say the incident never could have happened unless and until that process was followed, nor do I think it is appropriate to say the incident definitely did happen and therefore some corrective action needs to be taken.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 25, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Peter -

It is certainly within a cop's discretion to stop a car without officially "calling it in" to dispatch. C'mon. And there doesn't need to be a sinister motivation behind it.

Cops are people. They lose evidence, forget facts, show up to work late and even forget to call in a traffic stop.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Atherton PD, and every other jurisdiction I know of, requires an officer to call in the plate number BEFORE exiting his/her car. I don't know of a single police officer in any jurisdiction who would risk their lives by making a stop of a car without first doing a Wants and Warrants check on that vehicle. Vehicle stops can be deadly.

And a stop at night in Atherton REQUIRES a backup unit/cover car.


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Posted by Do the math
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Peter is falling into the same trap Guerra is though unlike Guerra perhaps unintentionally. If a mandatory assumption in any police complaint is that required policies and procedures were all followed, the result of every single complaint would be exonerated. In fact, Guerra admitted that no complaint about police misconduct in Atherton has ever had a different outcome.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Do the Math - why don't you start do some of the fact finding?

I get very tired of being the only person on this topic who goes out and attempts to get facts and information. It is very tiresome to have to continue to respond to critics who contribute NO new information.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Do the Math - Here are some assignments, if you have the skill and courage to pursue them:

1 - provide specific examples of the Atherton PD's failure to follow specific procedures

2 - provide a list of police departments which do NOT require license checks before approaching a stopped vehicle

3 - provide specific examples of citizens who have been treated improperly by Atherton PD (in addition to Jon) - names, dates, specifics please


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Peter, I think "Do the Math" (or anyone else) would be hard pressed to complete at least homework assignments #1 and #3 because California law makes all of that secret information that is not accessible to the public. Why does a relatively liberal state have perhaps the most pro-police (usually equated with conservative) laws in the U.S.? It has to do with (in my opinion) police unions, and I think the subject of unions is something you're very familiar with.

I think everyone greatly appreciates the facts and information you have brought to the discussion. In this case, you have come up with some that, depending on what the standard is for sustaining a police complaint, might provide an exoneration. What I hear "Do the math" saying is that, perhaps according to his or her own personal standard for sustaining a police complaint, the fact that certain behavior is quite contradictory to practice and policy doesn't mean it did not occur (and I can personally verify that in my own experience with the Atherton police).

Perhaps then a good question for you and everyone else to consider is: what is currently the standard for sustaining a police complaint in Atherton, and what should it be? My research indicates the following standards of evidence in California courts:

1. Scintilla of Evidence. The police complaint would be sustained if there is any believable evidence offered by the complainant that the improper behavior occurred.

2. Preponderance of Evidence (used in civil litigation). The police complaint would be sustained if (and only if) the evidence offered by the complainant is more believable/reliable/credible than the response by the accused police officer.

3. Beyond a reasonable doubt (used in criminal litigation). The police officer being complained about would be exonerated if there is *any* reasonable evidence s/he offers that the accused improper conduct never took place. This is a very difficult standard to meet.

4. Clear and convincing evidence (used in civil punitive damages). This is the hard one. The police complaint would be sustained if (and only if) the evidence offered by the complainant is *substantially* more believable/reliable/credible than the response by the accused police officer. The law really makes no attempt to define "substantially".

What is the current policy? What should it be?




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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:46 pm

P.S. – My own opinion of what it "should be" is clear and convincing evidence BUT the review body can adopt the lesser standards of preponderance of evidence and even scintilla of evidence IF there has been a pattern of complaints about that officer in the past, even if such complaints have not been upheld according to the clear and convincing standard.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am interested in building bridges and solving problems. This forum has become preoccupied with making allegations and demeaning any effort to build those bridges.

I am out of here - good luck on your witch hunts.


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Posted by comming forward
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Dear Peter

I am aware of one who was stopped and issued a citation for driving with an expired license, without the checks you stated as standard procedure. This case also appears to have been contrary to other police policies.

The vehicle stopped had the following license plate 5HNU241

The location of the stop was Ashfield and Dinklespiel

The license number of the driver cited was California n6141962

The date and time was 8/31/2007 approximately 9:00 am

This traffic stop was not subject to video recording. Apparently, the suspect was considred to be so dangerous that the officer making the stop called in for backup. Two patrol cars arrived on the scene immediately. A total of four officers (perhaps five) were on the scene, including:

The officer making the stop was Chief Robert Brennan

Additional responding officers were:

Brad Mills
Clark Yee
Eric Grim

Observing from a distance was then Lieutenant Glenn Nielsen.

I hope that this gives you sufficient information to make a determination as to whether proper police procedure was followed in this incident.


I would urge you to contact Chief Guerra for a copy of the pertinent documenation including dispatch logs, etc.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Coming forward, this sounds very familiar to me.

Chief Robert Brennan had prior knowledge of license being expired due to illegal access to the criminal computer system.......his public excuse: He did a routine background check on this gentleman the day before.

Am I close on this one?


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Posted by oracle
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 25, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Michael Stogner is very close. However there is more to the story, much more.

How Chief Guerra\'s responds to revelations soon to be forthcomming will a good indication as to whether he is sincere in his stated intentions.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 6:42 am

During the meeting Chief Mike Guerra acknowledged at least one remote surveillance camera, does anyone know of others?


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 9:37 am

[Post removed; stay on topic and be respectful]


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Posted by Report from the Front
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Given Peter's decision to make at least a temporary exit from these forums, I would like to report that he showed up at the Atherton Police Department with Bloodhound this morning, and Chief Guerra refused to meet with Bloodhound because of the potential or actuality of litigation. A written complaint was submitted.


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Posted by e.grimley
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

POGO is absolutely correct in that not all traffic stops are recorded....and for a variety of reasons. Some as simple as an obvious 'no threat' situation where a heads up or warning will be given (less than 30 second contact), to yielding to more important 'radio traffic' (crime in progress).
As for your contract with the Sheriff's Office....of course you are going to get the biggest bang for your buck...the Sheriff lives in Woodside and his children attend schools in the Woodside-Portola area for crying out loud. What you are getting for your 'contract' you wouldn't be able to afford under normal circumstances. Also helps that the residents out there fuel the campaign fund for his election and re-election bids.... I've always wondered why the Sheriffs (past & present) always held their 'Tip-A-Cop' fundraisers at Bucks in Woodside....but never in one of the restaurants found on Middlefield Rd. in Redwood City, where the sheriffs also patrol....
Your thoughts?


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 3:28 pm

You write articles and allow comments that do nothing but disparage you local police. I call you out and I'm disrespectful? Hypocrisy much?


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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Gunslinger.

I also do not understand why your post was removed. Although I found your comment illogical and nonsensical I cannot believe any other would consider it to be worthy of removal.......


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Well first, thank you for standing up for my freedom of speech. You're a standup person for doing so.

Going to what I said, doesn't it seem that there's some ulterior politics going on concerning this witch hunt by carpenter?


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Sorry, I meant Buckheit. Carpenter seems cool


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I don't think comments like that should be deleted either, and woud like to respond. I am not engaging in politics (not running for any office, nor being controlled by anyone who is). I am not seeking the limelight either (as Ms. Gemmet could probably verify based on her first phone call to me). I simply think that a police officer altering a police report with false charges is absolutely unacceptable and s/he should no longer be a police officer in Atherton or anywhere else. I have stated on these forums and at the public meeting on Monday night that I have had other interactions with other members of the APD and think they're doing a fine job. My comments are only targeted to the officer(s) involved in altering the report and their management not taking appropriate action. If that's a politically motivated witch hunt, I'm guilty of it (but have a different definition of that than you do).


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm

I think this has something to do with Bothun. I think this has something to do with the ominpresent liberal outcry of "racial profiling.". I think this has something to do with community homogeneity


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Gunslinger, you are not comprehending what Mr. Buckheit is saying. This has to do with Mr. Buckheit and at least one Atherton Police Officer committing a felony against him. The Police Chief and City Manager refuse to do their job.

This is simple you either support a Police Officer committing a felony or you don't. Which is it?

For the record I don't.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I think you need to do some research as to the history and context of the liberal beef with the atherton PD


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 26, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Gunslinger, I think you may have misfired. I'm no liberal.


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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 12:00 am

Gunslinger. I think you are way off on your opinion of Mr. Buckheit. There are clearly problems in Atherton that need to be addressed. Indeed I would put it to you that in other communities there would be a far bigger outcry.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 6:38 am

Well, if you happened to read my post that was deleted, you'd see I said I wasn't sure. However I've seen the many weeklies of embarcadero media attacking atherton PD for "racial profiling" and a number of other things, such as the arrest of Brian Bothun. I distrust everything these papers have to say, which is why I was asking if there were ulterior motives. There are ulterior politics here. I just don't know what exactly... Yet


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 6:51 am

Gunslinger, Its fine if you want to distrust what newspapers have to say. This is different you have citizens reporting criminal conduct a felony against Mr. Jon Buckheit, an Atherton resident.

What are your thoughts on this specific act. Atherton Police Officer/s committing a felony.
against Jon Buckheit.

City Manager, Police Chief and San Mateo County District Attorney are all aware of this crime. To this they refuse to identify and charge the Officer/s.



This is not a SECRET.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:05 am

I would like to know what you all think the motivation is of a police force to arbitrarily harass the "community." Tell me your thoughts Buckheit. Are the cops just a bunch of tyrants who like to lord over their power? Is that the common ground for all these complaints? Are they just a bunch of hooligans who like to mess with people like Tevis and Buckheit? Where's the common ground? There's politics here, somewhere, and I'm gonna sniff it out


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:11 am

e grimley -

I don't think this is a sweetheart deal as you've suggested. Woodside had the SAME contract under the previous Sheriff who did not live in Woodside. Portola Valley has the same contract, too and the current Sheriff doesn't live there.

That contract is VERY vigorously negotiated. But not having to fund a full-time jail or full-time dispatcher and office or maintenance yard or training program or bureaucracy allows to have considerable cost savings. I personally like the fact that we have such well-trained deputies and that they can "staff up" and bring in extra units whenever they are needed.

I can tell you that this arrangement definitely works for us. The cost of police is a big part of any budget and any way this can be reduced without reducing service should be investigated.

There's only one way to find out if Atherton can get the same deal and it's as simple as having the city manager contact the Sheriff's Department.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:19 am

Dear Gunslinger.

You are not able to answer a simple question, a simple yes or no.

"There's politics here, somewhere, and I'm gonna sniff it out"

I think your sniffing days are over.


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Posted by Bloodhound
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:20 am

Michael

You continually allege felonies by the Atherton Police Department. You claim the DA and PD are not pursuing them. You imply that's because they conspire to let each other commit crimes against the citizens.

The idea that a conspiracy or crime is committed by public agencies is, I suppose, plausible. But, let's admit it: it's highly unlikely. Yet, you continue to harp on the possibility.

Which brings me to the observation that you are running for public office. Is this conspiracy / corruption idea your entire platform? Frankly, I believe it makes you seem a nutter.

You identify yourself as a "victim's advocate", which I imagine is highly satisfying work, but doesn't pay particularly well. (My cynicism will shine through here.) Could it be that you're running for Supervisor to avail yourself of the excellent compensation: salary, bonus, car allowance, health care, and pension?


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:23 am

Gunslinger -

You don't need a motivation to perpetrate these kinds of things (such as racism), you only need an unchecked ego and a power trip... even a temporary one.

Unless you've lived a charmed life, you've probably had an interaction with someone in power (an usher, a security guard, a police officer, a teacher, etc.) who flexed their power against you unnecessarily. In that case, maybe you had to leave your seat, be quiet or spend some time in detention. The difference here is that in the case of a police officer, you end up in jail and it can cost you a ton of money and perhaps your job, friends and reputation.

Is it so difficult to imagine that a police officer would say to themself "I'll show this guy who's boss" and charge them with something outrageous? There are bad apples in every walk of life from doctors to lawyers to police to clergy.

The real problem here - at least in my eyes - is the failure of others in government and police to respond to this appropriately. A policeman admits to falsifying a report and he's promoted? C'mon. This kind of behavior should NEVER be allowed. Those are precisely the people we need to weed out of positions of power.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:23 am

Bloodhound,
You bring up some great questions. I have been volunteering as a victims advocate for over 10 years. I had a very good example at home that being my mother who volunteered her spare time will raising 4 children. My mother still volunteers today, so do I and you are correct people who volunteer receive less income then those on salary and pensions. I have been described by John Roemer a reporter for a National Legal Publication as a Local Government Watchdog. He picked the title not me, he read my blogs.

To answer your final question, yes

PS
"You continually allege felonies by the Atherton Police Department".

In the Jon Buckheit case this is not an allegation it is a fact. Atherton Police Officer testified
on the witness stand that his police report had been altered by another Oficer.


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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:30 am

Bloodhound. I doubt that what happened to Mr. Buckheit began as a conspiracy, although ultimately that is what it may be. Far more likely it began as co workers trying to cover each others butts. The problem is covering the Butt of a police officer who has committed a felony is not a good idea, at least not if you want to keep your job.


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Gunslinger, in response to your question, POGO and Interested say it better than I could.


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Posted by concerned
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 1, 2010 at 8:46 am

Does anything think that the recent retirement of the past Chief and a long time, well respected Sergeant were because they liked what was going on????


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Posted by Watching the cops
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2010 at 2:07 am

The timing of the retirements so close together is certainly curious. Granted, Atherton is a small department, but the departure of Glenn Nielsen, Chris Madsen and Eric Grimm represent 50 percent of the top management and 40 percent of the sergeants.

I have lived in Atherton 46 years and I don't recall ever seeing turnover at that rate in the police department.

Perhaps training, or rather a lack of training, is a contributing factor to the police department's problems.

For example, late last year I had occasion to sit through a court session where an Atherton case was up for a preliminary hearing. It was almost comical watching two detectives testify. One didn't know what the other one was doing. When it came to evidence, there was some problem with the chain of custody and nobody was really sure about anything.

Were the police dishonest and trying to frame somebody or manufacture evidence? Perhaps.

More likely, they just didn't know what they were doing. Poor training, poor adherence to crime scene procedures, officers in above their heads, or just plain ignorance — take your pick.

Whatever it was, the testimony didn't make Atherton police look very professional.

I think it's safe to say being a cop in 2010 is far more involved than it was in 1970. Perhaps it is time for Atherton to seriously consider contracting with the sheriff's office. I can't imagine detectives form the sheriff's office looking as ammeter as the Atherton investigators did.

Atherton police might be capable of stopping drunken drivers or writing tickets, but when it come to a case with any complexity or evidence, perhaps an organization such as the sheriff's would be better suited to get the job done correctly.

Do the math: Does it really make sense for Atherton to have its own detectives given the level or training investigators need and the number of cases Atherton handles?


On another note, I think Peter Carpenter's comments here previously show he is too trusting of the technology and police database, but he does make a good point about getting the details.

You really need specific examples with as many details as possible to seriously investigate potential police wrongdoing. But just because it doesn't immediately show up in a database search doesn't mean it didn't happen.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2010 at 7:34 am

When forced to chose between well documented facts and undocumented allegations, I prefer the former. That does not mean that the undocumented allegations are false but simply that they remain unproven.
Any other standard leads to chaos.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2010 at 8:58 am

Watching,
"The timing of the retirements so close together is certainly curious. Granted, Atherton is a small department, but the departure of Glenn Nielsen, Chris Madsen and Eric Grimm represent 50 percent of the top management and 40 percent of the sergeants"
Don't forget Chief Bob Brennan retired to join the San Mateo County Sheriff.

You might want to look at something known as Pension Spiking.

"Perhaps it is time for Atherton to seriously consider contracting with the sheriff's office. I can't imagine detectives form the sheriff's office looking as ammeter as the Atherton investigators did."

You might want to reconsider this for now. Are you aware that our top two Sheriff's were caught/detained and identified as customers of Underaged Human Trafficked Sex Slaves on 4/21/2007 by FBI, Las Vegas Metro, in a sting called Operation Dollhouse.

Any organization is only as good as it's leader or leaders.

"Atherton police might be capable of stopping drunken drivers or writing tickets, but when it come to a case with any complexity or evidence, perhaps an organization such as the sheriff's would be better suited to get the job done correctly."

Are you aware that up until recently Atherton Police Department was the home base for R.E.A.C.T. Task Force?
Keep this dialog going it is healthy.


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Posted by Watching the cops
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Mr. Stogner - Yes, I am aware of the activities of Sheriff Munks and his appointed undersheriff, Carlos Bolanos. They showed poor judgement in Las Vegas.

As much as I disapprove of Munks, I don't think it's fair to condemn the entire sheriff's department.

At least Munks has to answer to the voters. At the moment, however, Munks is the only declared candidate for the June primary and the deadline to file is next week.

With Munks you have a specific example of questionable behavior to point to when examining his performance.

It would be nice to know if there any specific examples of wrongdoing in Atherton so people can decide whether there is really a problem or if this is just a bunch of hyperbole.


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