Shortage of officers in Palo Alto Palo Alto Issues, posted by Adel2012, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on May 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm
In the road show column of SJ Mercury, today I read that there are only three or fewer officers in Palo Alto enforcing the traffic laws. At least two of these officers mostly hang around the schools (which is ok). Apparently part of the reason for the low staffing level is that the city and public employee unions did not come to an agreement on salary and benefit concessions (again from SJM news). So, our city cannot afford more officers at the current level salary and benefits. Here are a couple of solutions that comes to my mind:
1) Privatize more city services (like Half Moon Bay, I think). With the current level of State unemployment, I am sure it would not be very hard to find new recruits.
2) Put something in the ballot to reform the government worker contracts (like San Jose).
3) Use cameras and sensors to control speed, red lighter violators and rolling stoppers.
So, unless people start voicing their concern, we are not going to see any meaningful reform in the city government. BTW, I am not an activist or a politician. I am just a law abiding tax payer, who really scared to cross the streets these days when I know there is no one watching and enforcing traffic safety rules.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Duveneck School community, on May 3, 2012 at 11:49 pm
The two are around Duveneck often on their motorcycles during drop-off and pick-up.
I know of a Paly student who was slapped with a $250 ticket today for not wearing a bicycle helmet.
These traffic cops should really enforce red-light running, which occurs frequently on Oregon Expressway/Louis Rd., Louis Rd./Embarcadero Rd., St. Francis Dr./Embarcadero Rd. They really should put red light cameras on those intersections but City Council probably doesn't want the headaches from outspoken residents.
Posted by PA Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 4, 2012 at 12:02 am
"Privatize more city services (like Half Moon Bay, I think). With the current level of State unemployment, I am sure it would not be very hard to find new recruits." Only a sworn Officer can give you a ticket and testify against you in Court.
"Put something in the ballot to reform the government worker contracts (like San Jose)." We just did and repealed Arbitration.
"Use cameras and sensors to control speed, red lighter violators and rolling stoppers." Remember all the red light runners caught on video whose evidence has been thrown out of Court!!
Police Officers cost a lot of money I'm all for our City cutting back on their numbers. There will still be the same number of Officers on regular patrol as there always were.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 4, 2012 at 8:15 am
The Police Departments, like Fire Departments, should be run at the county level not the city level, this would mean less admin costs, less top jobs, and more of the rank and file out there doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Posted by Adel2012, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on May 4, 2012 at 8:54 am
With all these incidents that people are reporting in Oregon Expressway and Embarcadero, you may assume that a responsive police department would increase the enforcement in these areas. But this is probably too much to ask!
Does anyone in the city hall read these posts? Who is setting the city priorities?
Posted by Frustrated, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on May 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm
The City seems to have plenty of money to pay top executives six figure salaries and has plenty of money for pet projects, but is planning to cut traffic cops? This is ridiculous. Palo Alto cop salaries are the same as anywhere else in the Bay Area so don't blame it on that. The city management needs to spend money on whats important first, like public safety.