Menlo Park cop caught with prostitute keeps job | January 18, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 18, 2013

Menlo Park cop caught with prostitute keeps job

Case sheds light on confidential police disciplinary process

by Sandy Brundage

Hearing a knock at the Motel 6 door, a prostitute wearing a black catsuit answered, $20 bills stashed in her cleavage. In the bathroom, Sunnyvale police officers found a veteran Menlo Park police detective wearing nothing.

This story contains 1398 words.

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Sandy Brundage is a staff writer for The Almanac, the Menlo Park sister newspaper of the Palo Alto Weekly. She can be emailed at


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:25 am

There are no winners in this mess.

Posted by well done, a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

Excellent reporting.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

This is why we need local journalism. We need to know how our taxpayer dollars are spent, and sometimes it is downright shocking. Shame on this guy and shame on the corrupt "system" in place here. I guess laws are only for "some" of us.

Posted by Palo Parent, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:30 am

I just HATE when that happens.

Posted by blatt, a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:13 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Rolling Eyes, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:39 am

Hey, loosen up, "neighbor." People make mistakes; he only hurt himself. He has already donated his life by having a career in law enforcement. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.

Posted by Deep Throat, a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:51 am

Palo Alto no longer uses binding arbitration. On November 8, 2011, Palo Alto voters approved Measure D to repeal Article V of the Palo Alto Charter in its entirety, eliminating the requirement that public safety employee disputes be resolved by binding interest arbitration.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2013 at 11:08 am

> People make mistakes; he only hurt himself.

Not very much, it would seem from this article.

> He has already donated his life by having a career in
> law enforcement

Pooleeezzzeee .. Poorly educated Police Officers are now paid more than company presidents, and they also have for-life pensions that will make them multi-millionaires in retirement. What job can you point to that compensates people as well as this?

The crime statistics pretty much point out that police don’t stop crime from happening. They might, on occasion, figure out who committed a crime, and make a sound enough case to secure a conviction. But that's about it.

What’s really troubling is how the police have managed to secure enough “rights” that they can commit crimes without expecting to be treated like other people. There is just no transparency in the police function in most places. They have created a wall around themselves that gives them the right to not have to admit that officers have committed crimes, or even deny it—unless the proof is incontrovertible.

The example of the officer in Palo Alto who was arrested for a DUI (perhaps even involving an accident). It was almost impossible to get the Palo Alto Police to even admit that the event occurred. In that case, the arrest was in another jurisdiction, so there were no local police involved—until the matter was considered by Internal Affairs. Even then, they were not forthcoming about what the decision process was for evaluating improper/illegal activities of policemen who were off-duty (in this case).

The Daily News has recently reported a similar problem with a DUI involving a Los Altos police office, who was seemingly on-duty. It would not be hard to believe that within a ten mile radius, we have three different police departments with three different sets of standards—none of which are available to the public for review, and general vetting.

This lack of transparency would seem to be getting worse, not better.

Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 15, 2013 at 11:14 am

According to an interview with Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns, binding arbitration is still available as an option.


Posted by pecuniac, a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2013 at 11:25 am

The ghosts of our Calvinist Founding hypocrites still keep us in an outdated moral code and with a virtual State religion. The problem here is criminalizing victimless behavior. We need State licensed sex workers who are required to get both education about safe practices and, regular health checkups.
If a cop wants to get laid, its no one's business but his/her (and their family's) business.

Posted by Abe Mitchell, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 15, 2013 at 11:57 am

What a complete waste of tax - payers monies. If this policeman has such sexual needs then let him enjoy the same, because at the end of the day whom did he actually hurt and infect?
In future tell your police force to get on and fight the real criminals and mind their own business.

Posted by the big question, a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Was the officer on the taxpayer-paid clock at $52 and hour while with the prostitute? That to me is much more troubling and unethical than simply patronizing a willing member of the world's oldest profession. I'm surprised the article made no mention of that issue. Seems like he would get fired or disciplined no differently than if he were caught in a movie theater while on duty.

Posted by janet , a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm

This is not a moral or a religious issue. It is a question of LAW. Prostitution is illegal in California. Cops are supposed to uphold the law. They are also supposed to be working during hours for which they are paid from taxpayer dollars. They are frequently witnesses in court when other people break the law. Breaking the law themselves impacts their credibility. There have been similar problems in San Mateo County but he employees are teflon coated. At present there are laws for the plebs and get home free cards for public "servants." Also, what does consorting with prostitutes by police officers say with respect to their state of mind in protecting women's rights? If this officer has to pay for it, he must not have what it takes.

Posted by gcoladon, a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

This is disappointing on many levels.

Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Argue from whatever viewpoint you'd like, but I'd like to reiterate that this guy was on government time $$$$$$$$$$$ --

>>> "Detective Vasquez was in Sunnyvale to serve a subpoena related to a Menlo Park sexual assault case, he told the officers, "and this was not the first time he had solicited a prostitute for sex," according to the filing. Upon learning that the target of the subpoena wouldn't be home until later, the report states the detective said, "I had an hour to kill" so he called "My Redbook," a site listing local escorts and their phone numbers."

He had an hour to kill? This makes it legitimate? No. It does not. Shame.

Posted by Alex, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm

The line at the beginning of the article: "an internal affairs investigation triggered by the bust" -- are we referring to the bust decorated with $20 bills?

Posted by pissed off, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm

that is such b.s its a cop so they do anything to whipe his hands clean strip him of his badge and let that corrupted department start over man not cool he deserves to go to jail just like if it was any other citizen getting in nookie

Posted by isez, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm

isez is a registered user.

Haha, Alex!

@Joe: This cop was not risking the lives of the general public he has been employed to guard. He was not driving DUI which endangers the public.

This guy is handsome. Wonder why he had to pay someone for it. Gals love men in uniform. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Odd. In every other journalism about a bust, the word "alleged" appears in every sentence. Unless convicted, isn't this man innocent in the eyes of the law? The fact that he wasn't convicted had nothing to do with his occupation.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I have to say, I don't understand the reasoning here. The fact that he is being kept on says to me that he is not the only one and in fact there is some major corruption going on somewhere hidden that we cannot see. When the law is so complex that it can be derailed by something so trivial - the law is an ass.

By the way, look at that guy's picture, he just looks dishonest.

Posted by Starbucks customer, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Prostitution = illegal, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm

What about the participation in an illegal activity do Menlo Park officials not understand?

In Los Altos, a police officer on a mobile device (cell phone?) rear ended a woman parked at a stop sign last summer, totaling her car and sending her to the hospital.

The LAPD, City Staff & City Council covered it up for months, until the Daily Post uncovered & reported details after the woman sued for damages. How's that for not taking responsibility, thinking law enforcement & the City is above the law?

Anyone paid to uphold our laws can't break the same laws, abusing his/her power, without consequence. This officer made his choice - he needs to be ousted.

What other laws has he broken? Does he give out tickets, like candy, for California stops, while winking at police & fireman buddies that do the same thing or worse?! We need men/women with integrity. Demand it, or they're out.

Posted by Rolling Eyes, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm

It's always so interesting how people can criticize others yet no one is perfect. I am not religious but I do believe that no one is perfect and that's why these things happen. A shame that y'all can't just thank the man for protecting us for 20 years and realize a police officer is not Superman yet he is putting his life on the line for strangers.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by cid4houses, a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm

"I don't want to be a dick and ask for preferential treatment."

And yet, that is what he gotby being alowed ti stay on the force.
Same thing happened to two high rankng San Mateo County Sheriff's. (Munks & Bolanos)

Web Link

Posted by Prostitution = Illegal, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Rolling eyes: I agree that no one is perfect. But are you saying ALL people in law enforcement have no integrity? Do you think we must accept men like this one, or go unprotected? Or do you think no one in our entire community has enough integrity to fill the job held by this officer? If so, that's cynical.

I think many others with integrity live in and around our community. Men and women that can protect us equally or better, since they would not wink at their police and firemen buddies, while at the same time being hard-nosed with average hard-working citizens, mercilessly given them tickets for say, a California stop. We pay consequences, so should they. Hold public servants accountable, and now.

Posted by Rolling Eyes, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Prostitution = illegal: I am not sure that police offices have applicants standing in line, knocking on their doors. In addition, we are surrounded by people without integrity in white collar management and who's policing them? Can't catch and crucify everyone. If this guy were on meth during the job, I would expect him to be fired, but he did not harm society nor is he a threat to society. I say, let him get off.

Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2013 at 4:42 pm

To a few of you --

How about we try our best to be grown ups while we discuss this story?

Thank you.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I mentioned this on The Almanac thread - but doesn't anyone care that a official was talking about this in public, right near a reporter? Does he get disciplined?

Posted by nice guy, a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I've met Officer Vasquez before, he was a nice guy

Posted by Govt is Corrupt, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Hmmm - Yes, I agree with you. Alex M. should be disciplined. Neither Rojas or Alex M. are too bright - and they were selected by the Council. So I guess the Council isn't too bright either.

What this case shows is really the power of the police union - that they send in their best lawyers to represent their members. That is not the case for the other non-police unions. As a matter of fact, employees represented by SEIU are in the worst shape - and much of this is because of the long time damage made by the former HR manager Glen Kramer - the extreme double dipper after 40 years of service. So the police are not the only ones who abuse. City government is corrupt on many levels.

Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Oh come on! Who hasn't been caught at one time or another in a motel with a hooker in a cat suit? ;-)

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 15, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Now I feel for the guy - he's all over the evening news, including his photo. He says he's divorced; if he is single, he hurt himself & hopefully no one else w/this. I am glad he didn't lose his job - he has a lot of years in & has a decent rep on the job. I am glad also Catwoman didn't get into trouble. I'm hoping she's not a trafficked person w/a nasty pimp; maybe I am naive. Meow!

Since he wasn't convicted of a crime, he doesn't lose his job - but locals will remember this for a long time.

Govt is corrupt - what are the chances we'll hear anything about McIntyre getting into trouble? I figure, you know, unless his bosses or someone in the know blabs in public near a reporter, we might not ever know if he got into trouble. He may not have committed a crime, but his blabbing has had bigger ramifications than Vasquez's behavior.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 16, 2013 at 2:24 am

The more I think about this the bigger rip-off of the public it is. We don't even bother to fire a cop who is with a prostitute while on-duty ... is there something in the water in Menlo Park that I'm lucky enough not to be drinking?

What has this guy been up to? Are these interactions with prostitutes regular, maybe they yield profit, maybe for others? I mean this guy was not just - not thinking, because 6 or 7 layers of warnings should have been going off in his head and he deliberately shut them them all down ... doesn't that imply something about the guy's character?

Posted by did she recover?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2013 at 9:04 am

Wow, am I the only one who thinks the implications of this are really scary for the families of police officers and court witnesses?....

Posted by Govt is Corrupt, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2013 at 9:53 am

Hmmm - I agree with you again. Believe me, McIntyre is no saint. He is a very devious and elf-centered person with questionable morals based on his actions - the intent of which, is not always obvious to the Council (or maybe the Council doesn't care). Just how do these "public servants" get selected seems questionable too. Perhaps these "management types" should also get probation just like everyone else.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2013 at 10:08 am

> The contract states: "The award of the arbitrator shall be
> final and binding." In other words, that person can overrule
> whatever disciplinary decision the city made.

This is really absurd, and makes a sham out of the whole discipline process—particularly if the various unions end up being able to pick (or buy) the arbiter. And no doubt, all of the proceedings are secret, so the public has no way to determine whether the arbiter is remotely biased, or not.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm

This affects law enforcement and public safety. The officer "patronizes" a hooker while on duty (paid by taxpayers). If Catwoman decides to ply her trade in Menlo Park, and the officer goes to arrest her, she could threaten to expose him as a client, so he would just let her set up shop.

Also, sometimes hookers or their pimps rob customers. If this officer had been robbed, would the police have gone after the robbers? But not the john/officer?

Posted by jane, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

my comments:

1. He should'ha had a V8

3. Or spend a little more time in the local Starbucks.

4. What I want to know is, what happened to Ms. Rodriguez? I bet she never gets a speeding ticket in Menlo Park....unlike me

5. In the future, I am going to be very attentive to the name of any Menlo Park police officer I run across. (yes ladies and gentlemen, we'll be watching you....)

7. The officer in question might want to change his name to Smith.

8. In any event, hang in there Officer Vasquez -- this will be old news in 2 weeks. But I hope you've learned your lesson

9. My sympathies to anyone involved in this case, including Ms. Sandy Brundage, the person who wrote the article and put her byline up there.....

Posted by 9lives, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm

His new assignment will be an Undercover Agent!

Posted by Harry Pagina, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

instead of putting a 'do not disturb' sign at the door,
she should have hung a sign that said, "beat it, we're closed"!!

Posted by Ed, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm

We shouldn't pay police officers who break the law, and we certainly shouldn't pay them generously. Yes, they risk their lives, but so do soldiers in Afganistan, and soldiers don't make very much money, and their retirement benefits aren't nearly as generous. Taxpayers are being taken advantage of, and police should obey the laws they are supposed to enforce.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Actually a police officer comes way down the list of dangerous occupations about 17th-according to the bureau of labor statistics

Fishermen, miners-even tree trimmers are far more dangers occupations.

Posted by corrupt, a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2013 at 12:47 am

The Menlo Park POA only endorsed one candidate for city council this past year... Kelly Fergusson, who chose not to be interviews by the DA's investigator during her own criminal investigation. This is not a low standard, this is corruption. Vasquez, Brackett and Bacon can no longer be trusted to protect and serve the community.

Posted by Corrupt-Is-As-Corrupt-Does, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm

> the prosecution asked to dismiss the case. The problem? Prosecutors
> were notified the day of Ramirez's trial that the officer who had
> interviewed her was unavailable to testify. According to
> Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker, who supervised the case,
> the officer was caring for his wife as she endured a
> life-threatening medical crisis

Interesting. The article does not quote any law enforcement officials (or the Das) that the officer in question was on some sort of leave, and as such, could not be expected to appear in Court. Nor does anyone associated with this case identify where the wife is located (hospital, nursing home, residence, in/out-of town). Is the officer drawing salary? And just how long would it take for him to testify at this trial? Would it have been impossible for the DA’s Office to pay for a nurse for a couple of days to relieve the officer so that he could testify? It’s hard to believe that the Officer was really as unavailable as the DA’s Office makes out—particularly since it meant convicting a Menlo Park Police Officer.

Keep in mind that this is the same DA’s office that recently was chastised by a trial judge for not properly Marandizing a murder suspect—whose attorney subsequently got him off the murder charge.

Another example of a corrupt government in action.

Posted by Prophet, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 19, 2013 at 6:27 am

So how do we refer to this guy when we see him in the field?
Officer Hourly?
Officer 2 Guns?
Officer John?
If he made detective we could call him Tricky Dick.
No, let call him what he is. Officer Imminent Transfer. I'm sure they are encouraging him to leave and reinstated him so he can at least work somewhere else(which I think is fair bty, considering the "crime")
I can't see him being able to do his job very well in MP anymore, so they'll let him learn from his mistakes in a new town.

Posted by Wow, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jan 21, 2013 at 5:18 am

Wow. Just wow. What country am I in?

Posted by TightEmUp, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Tight Em UP! NOW!!!
But I do value our officers.

Posted by dano, a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I saw Sunnyvale police smash a suspects head into the hood of their cruiser after he had handcuffs on. Ughhh, I think that's police brutality- they get away with anything they think they can.

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