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Burns sworn in as Palo Alto police chief

Original post made on Nov 30, 2009

Facing a crowd of city officials, state dignitaries, law enforcement colleagues and family members, Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns pledged Monday afternoon to ensure safety and provide top service to the Palo Alto community.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 30, 2009, 6:18 PM

Comments (30)

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Posted by proudresident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2009 at 6:56 pm

This ceremony was not only memorable, but it makes me extremely proud of the Chief palo alto has selected for their police department. I know Chief Burns will do an excellent job and be a great influence on the men and women who serve palo alto. Congratulations Chief Burns, we support you!


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Posted by M
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 30, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Outstanding.


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Posted by Henry
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:11 am

Congratulations to the Chief. I felt pround to be a Palo Altan with Dennis Burns at the helm.


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Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 9:28 am

Get to work.


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Posted by Koa
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2009 at 9:34 am

Finally, a real police chief!


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Posted by Danny
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2009 at 9:46 am

Congratulations to Dennis Burns, an exceptional choice for chief.


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Posted by TL
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 1, 2009 at 9:49 am

It looks like Burns may be heading for his first controversy, and as you may expect it is over the sit/lie ordinance. Victor Frost is claiming he is being singled out by the ordinance and the Judge wants to see proof of this. Meanwhile, the City will not ask for jail time only that he do community service.


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Posted by George
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 1, 2009 at 11:29 am

This is outrageous! It seems more like a coronation of some minor player of "the Royals" than a swearing-in ceremony of a police chief of a small city. And what does George Schultz have to do with the Palo Alto Police force--now, in the past, or in the future?

And who paid for this? Interesting that not one of the local papers seems to be doing more than "toeing-the-line" and not asking any questions about why a scandal-plagued police department deserves a high-visibility event like this one--not even on City property--and probably attended by more non-residents and politicos than by residents?

This is clearly the most political event that Palo Alto has seen, or had to live through .. ever!


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Posted by mark
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 1, 2009 at 11:38 am

Mr. Burns--

I wish you luck.

How you are going to navigate safely in a domain of probable cause and the fruit of the poisonous tree, in a universe where what you need to do to keep us safe at night is the very thing that can cost you your career, is something that I could not accomplish. Please stay safe, and remember that something that is said in the heat of moment can look very different days, weeks and months later when it is parsed, examined, taken out of context and used to move forward the social cause of another group toward a stated, then denied, then restated and redefined goal--delivered by fast talking, camera hungry, slick-haired climbers who will stand on the backs of the good and moral people they bring down and champion themselves as the new-necessary social vetters in this new "Springtime in America".


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Posted by cc
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 1, 2009 at 1:13 pm

George-
It is only political if you choose to see it that way.
Dennis Burns is such a man of honor and respect that important people not only know who he is, they travel to pay their respect for this man. Who are you to question such a thing. By the way, the City did not pay a dime for this event. it was sponsored by people in the community who know what an awesome person Dennis Burns is. So, what exactly IS your problem?


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Posted by ra
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 1, 2009 at 2:46 pm

never put anyone on a pedestal,thats americas mistake


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Posted by Agrees with George
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Hey, this guy isn't royalty. I, too, would like to know who paid for all of this hoopla.

We, the citizens of PA, have a right to know. I hope that Chief Burns instructs his officers on the proper use of tasers and that he will not cheerlead for officers involved in hurting the reputations of citizens of Palo Alto such as Pat Briggs and others from the PACT.


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Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm

that's right citizens- speak up- why all the pomp and regalia?
It's just the PAPD, and don't forget the motto- serve and protect.
Get to work.


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Posted by George
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 1, 2009 at 4:40 pm

> By the way, the City did not pay a dime for this event.
> it was sponsored by people in the community who know
> what an awesome person Dennis Burns is.

If this is true, it makes this kind of thing even more alarming .. since the Police Chief is now beholden to "people unknown" for this lavish coronation ceremony. Will these people now expect special service? Will the Chief have any problem providing this service while perhaps denying access to the expenditures incurred providing this service.

If this Chief were such an "honorable" man—he would have thanked those proposing this coronation, and simply stood for a swearing in from the City Council. An honorable man would have understood the ethical issues here, and used his integrity to avoid any semblance of impropriety.

> Political if you see it

If the fact that the event was paid for with private money is true, how can it not be anything by political?

Moreover, how many other police departments in Santa Clara or San Mateo County (or anywhere in California for that matter) actually have these kinds of "coronations," If not, why not? Would you guess that all of the politicos from the surrounding areas coming here to "pay their respects" to this police chief being sworn in actually knew him, and could recite the details of his career? Or was there a bigger political agenda hiding under the table?

How many other departments are likely to do something this lavish? If not, then it stands to reason that the police chiefs of those departments are not men of such "honor" that politicos who do (or don't) know them will not come to play this game.

So .. if this is the only one event like this we can remember, how can it not be seen as "political".

> Who are you to question ..?

Who am I? I happen to serve have served "honorably" in the US military. I was a company commander in the combat zone, with over 300 men reporting to. We carried weapons, engaged in various activities that were deemed necessary to keep you and your family safe. In that capacity, I learned an awful lot about men, honor, and what it takes to run an organization military, or otherwise, run successfully. In short -- -- that's who I am.

It was my belief that my service, my obligation to my country, to our form of government, gave me the right to the question that form of government. Certainly that was my belief that I received reading the Declaration of Independence, and the US Constitution. Have you read them? Even without having served in the military, it's also your right to question. Unless of course you're one of the many who, like the citizens of Germany, Japan and Russian, gave up those rights in order to have a man in uniform lead the country.


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Posted by midtown resident 50 years
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2009 at 4:57 pm

George, of Baron Park, Thank you for your service, and I agree with you and what you say we should stand for. This event was a bit pompous and overdone. I have not seen this type of hoopla for any other "crowning" of the chief.
Sounds like most of the people who were in attendance used to work with Chief Burns.
I wish him luck and hope he can do what the community needs.

It would be interesting to know who set this up and why so lavish, what is public service?


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Posted by proudresident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 1, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Would you all just stop complaining? Didn't your mom teach you if you can't say anything nice don't say it?

PAPD has had an extremely rough year. You should be proud that they have a new chief - selected from a national search - & someone who has dedicated 27 years to the PA police department. One of his first comments was that he will remain focused on the job at hand despite all of the ceremony's excitement. A colleague mentioned that he tends to use "we" instead of "i" when working because he believes in strong community support and outreach. What else would you want in a chief? A superman cape? X-Ray vision? When will you EVER be happy with a chief selected for PAPD?



I wish Chief Burns good luck in all of his future endeavors as chief.

Sincerely,
A supportive PA resident


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:06 pm

God bless Chief Burns and the entire PD.


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Posted by Surprised
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:42 pm

George Shultz? This certainly does warrant explanation. I don't recall Shultz ever speaking about any Palo Alto issues. How did that connection come about?
Burns certainly is political. During the time a police chief was being chosen he held a series of community meetings at which he introduced himself to the public. Nothing coincidental about it.
We need to know more about the Schultz connection.


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Posted by Carl
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 1, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Interesting that there's always someone to question a person of high moral character and integrity - and cloak it in some righteous words. It was not Chief Burns' idea to hold a swearing in ceremony in this manner; it was done completely without his advance knowledge by people who know and respect him for the man he is. I'd be surprised if he knows who most of them are.

Please get the facts before essentially slandering a good man. Even though Chief Burns is swamped with work, I'd bet he would gladly meet with you and discuss your problem(s). He's that type of person.

Although the article doesn't mention it, there were a substantial percentage present who were just citizens who know of him and the good work he has done for our community.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 1, 2009 at 9:32 pm

George,

Not only did this event not cost the taxpayer, but they had it at Stanford. A private campus, so people like you could not come and protest! Smart move. Good luck Dennis.


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Posted by private
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 2, 2009 at 3:03 pm

public workers should not be celebrated on private installations


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Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2009 at 3:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I believe the contributors of the gift of the event need to be reported in Chief Burns next Statement of Economic Interests on April 1, 2010.


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Posted by cc
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Ok, yeah. 25 lbs of fruit salad, 5 pkgs of crackers, a couple of ounces of mediocre cheeses, and lemonade. Oh, and the cake.
Stanford donated the venue. I'm guessing about $200.00 in food...I ate my 50 cents worth...


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 2, 2009 at 10:20 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by shallow throat
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm

The event was sposored by many folks, including the PAPOA - Dennis recieved nothing reportable.


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Posted by Surprised
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 5, 2009 at 11:40 am

Then there shouldn't be any problem about reporting the donations.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 5, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Only in Palo Alto, would people be upset because they had a celebration, on private property, for a "public worker".
SAD!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 6, 2009 at 8:05 am

TPARS! Typical palo alto residents...


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 6, 2009 at 1:52 pm

TPARS. I like it!! Hope it catches on. I know I'll start using it.


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