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Palo Alto to shift dispatch center to mobile unit

Original post made on Mar 12, 2012

Palo Alto's dispatch center will be moved from the City Hall basement to the city's state-of-the-art Mobile Emergency Operations Center later this week to accommodate seismic retrofit work -- a move that will force the city to temporarily close a downtown block to traffic.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 12, 2012, 11:12 AM

Comments (13)

Posted by The-Name-"Coppers"-Came-From-Copper-Buttons-On-Police-Uniforms, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Well, at least that 500K black elephant will get a workout, rather than sitting around collecting dust.

So .. with a seismic upgrade to the current Communications Center, does that invalidate any of the so-called "Infrastructure Report".. claiming that the "police building" is going to collapse during a "big" earthquake.


Posted by Frederick, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Another uninformed and negative comment. The vehicle has been used in a number of venues, locally and regionally. Get a clue. And the word cop comes from cobstabal on patrol, which the English duly referred to as a COP.


Posted by Business Owner, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

Well we would all like to have the latest greatest equipment. The difference is, some of us have to work for it, and don't have revenue sources we can just tap.
And we all now know what the deal is with our "poor" cops. Not only are they pulling it in yearly, retire and you are set for life. Nothing like that out in the real world.


Posted by Mitzi, a resident of University South
on Mar 13, 2012 at 11:13 am

Not a great idea to print the location, with all the nuts around.
If people had been through a real emergency, with needed buildings down, in an earthquake for example, they sure wouldn't complain about a mobile unit that can continue to dispatch and help.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2012 at 11:32 am

Nobody became a police officer to get rich or set for life Business Owner. And the real world you speak of, they have to deal with the worst elements and tragic circumstances of that world every day. Don't know what kind of business you're in, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't involve having to pursue and apprehend dangerous criminals, place their life on the line if called upon, as well as have to investigate and manage everything from teen suicide, sudden death of a child, domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assaults, to name just a few. As far as being set for life that you mentioned, the average life expectancy of a male police officer in the U.S. ranges from 63-66 years. The average life expectancy for U.S. males otherwise is 73-75. Most experts agree that this trend is due to accumulative stress, shift work, and the overall rigors of the profession. Additionally, there is also a higher rate of divorce and in the past, suicide amongst police officers.

Their task is more challenging and difficult than you suggest. I have no issue with looking at whatever pension reforms that would be appropriate, if that's what you are referring to, but I believe we can do so without the dismissive and disrespectful suggestions. We can work on these issues without the cheap shots.


Posted by Mike , a resident of Professorville
on Mar 13, 2012 at 11:55 am

Let me get this straight -- we bought this giant thing to back up dispatch in the event of an emergency (e.g., earthquake) that makes the dispatch center in City Hall inoperable, and then we park it regularly IN THE BASEMENT of City Hall?


Posted by pete , a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

Good comment, Phil!

Police may not always deal with life threatening or nasty stuff, but the probability is constant and high as even a simple traffic stop or a "routine" domestic violence call can erupt into violence.

Thank you for the information on longevity for police compared to the general population.

I also appreciate the view of appropriate "pension reforms." Admittedly, "appropriate" may be a hard concept to define usefully.


Posted by Bear, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I thought the word cop came from "copper." There are also the meanings, "cop a feel" and "cop a joint." There's also, "to cop a plea."

A word, a word; a lot of meaning can be packed in between the doubleyou and the dee.


Posted by To Mike, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Really!! You couldn't do any better than that Mike!

No the Vehicle isn't parked in the basement. No wonder so many people are uninformed on here.

Just spreading garbage


Posted by Mike, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm

@ Downtown North:

The article says "it is scheduled to return to its regular location in City Hall once the retrofit is complete." Is it parked somewhere other than the basement (parking garage) of City Hall?


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm

You are very welcome Pete. Pension reform and salary adjustments in the public sector have to be made. Financial outlooks make that quite apparent. It's also apparent for anyone who is informed that the Palo Alto Police union has been making voluntary concessions toward stabilizing the city budget for several years now. They have deferred pay raises which had been contractually agreed upon with the city. Unlike the fire department, who refused to give up their last pay increase, the police union recognized the situation, worked with the city, and gave up their raise voluntarily. Although deferred at the time until a later date, it is very likely that the police will not only lose that raise entirely, but could very well have to settle for some form of a pay cut.

Again, the police union never took an adversarial posture or attempt to sponsor a ballot measure. Additionally, the police department over the past decade has eliminated several positions and specialty assignments in making their contribution toward balancing the city budget. The department is operating with 10-15% less personnel than it did even ten years ago. I believe it is important and the respectful thing to do to recognize what efforts the police union has made in dealing with the budget deficit, as well as their overall task of having to do more with less.


Posted by george, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Mike. Read the article more carefully before making incorrect statements. It says, "The communication center is scheduled to return to its regular location in City Hall.....". It does NOT say the MEOC will be in the City Hall.

Thanks, Phil, for a well crafted and reasoned description of police and their work. Too many people have a negative knee jerk reaction when the word "police" is mentioned.

First poster. The dispatch center will have a seismic upgrade, not the police part of City Hall let along the vulnerable building itself.


Posted by DDee, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Phil, you are my hero for the day!

I am constantly flabbergasted by the neurosis in this town, so quick to condemn its workers across the board yet equally demanding when it comes to recieving services.

One small disagreement... while I believe that it has been a very honorable posture that the local police have taken with regard to "give-backs" and contributions to help the city budget, I am not at all convinced that, of all cities, this one wouldn't have respected them more if they had taken a harder stance such as the fire dept.

We seem to - in our civic as well as our professional culture here - reward privilege, entitlement and arrogance, but only from other "haves." We can simultaneously cut half the park maintenance staff from their source of livelihood (I believe their salaries topped out at about $47,000, but averaged in the low 30s) while adding a couple more $100,000 "executive" level positions, such as the PR person who was supposed to bring in lots of businesses to the city. (I suppose there was no way we could "outsource" that crucial post, or hire a temporary consultant for half the amount.)

We only get REALLY upset when it comes to paying the same "decent" salaries and benefits that so many Silicon Valley residents took for granted not so long ago. Most of us lost ours, and instead of getting angry at the real culprits who moved our work and that better standard of living offshore, we bemoan the people who staff the lines and service our commons getting now, what they didn't get back then with the rest of us. Talk about class warfare, there it is right there. Talk about class envy!


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