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Paintball attacks raise questions about police response

Original post made on Aug 21, 2008

A recent spate of paintball vandalism in Palo Alto's Crescent Park neighborhood has residents frustrated over the police response — and wondering whether Palo Alto's law-enforcement shortage is hampering the department's ability to protect and serve.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 22, 2008, 8:56 AM

Comments (16)

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Posted by are you kidding?
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 22, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I am appalled that 911 would scold someone for calling this in. What if her baby was in the crib and was covered in glass. Then would it be okay to call then when the baby was severely injured? They should consider everyone lucky. A small child getting shot in the head with a paintball could be a serious issue!

We had an issue with some neighborhood kids who were using our car as a bee bee gun target..real smart. We were very concerned since our son's room is street side.

Someone could have been seriously hurt.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by probably just Cresent Park teens
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Might be Cresent Park teens just lacking a car to overturn on school property. Homework will ramp up shortly and occupy their time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 22, 2008 at 9:55 pm

Those who have forgotten the car overturning incident at Paly by a senior...totally inane and the kid got bailed out, of course...


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Posted by a long time resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2008 at 1:36 am

I think it obvious why the police don't respond to many of the crimes being committed in the city.

It looks bad for the city!!! By not responding and reporting there is no record for the public to know about.

Also many of the police hate residents!! If they are not on their list of people who somehow control their salaries and benifits why show any respect for the ordinary citizen.

They have said at public meetings, etc they would never live in Palo Alto!! And they don't and that's a big problem. They should be required to for many reasons. Only the ones that want to live here should be hired.

Most make well over $100,000 a year plus benifits. They can retire at 55 and collect millions of $$ in retirment and benifits for the rest of their lives maybe 40 years while having a new career also.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Many police and other similar professionals do not want to live in the city in which they work for very good reasons. They do not want to have their personal lives and their families having to contend with some of the people they meet in the course of their work. How would they like to have to give a speeding ticket to their kid's favorite teacher, or sports coach. How would they like to come to their kid's recital and end up sitting beside someone they just gave a dui ticket to. How would they like to find that the person they were following as a suspect was their neighbor who knew where the police officer lived and where the kids went to school.

No, please do not make it a requirement for police to live in the area in which they work.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2008 at 7:04 pm

One reason the police (or firemen) don't live in Palo Alto is they can't afford to.

"They hate residents", and "they have said in public meetings they would never live in Palo Alto", "...people who somehow control their salaries and benefits.." Which officers said they hate residents? Who said they would never live in Palo Alto? Their salaries are controlled by agreements between the union and the City. not by individuals making arbitrary decisions.

It's a shame anyone can make unsupported statements that smear public servants. Hopefully responsible people are smart enough to check facts before believing such wild accusations.


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Posted by dave
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 23, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Call the police to task when a response is other than courteous. I've heard Chief Johnson emphasize this. If you read the Weekly article (see the web link), note that Asst. Chief Burns said he would follow up on the complaint about the dispatcher.

Citizens must react rapidly when they see some suspicious person or activity. Don't wait for hours and then complain about lack of response to a cold call. The way to augment the police force is for all residents to be alert and report any unusual activity in their neighborhood. The more eyes, the better.

PS Lock all doors and don't leave valuables in your car.


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Posted by Wilson
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 24, 2008 at 9:21 am

> One reason the police (or firemen) don't live in
> Palo Alto is they can't afford to.

Huh? Maybe it's time the City posted the actual salaries on its WEB-site as many City governments now do, or the local papers started publishing the salaries like the Daily News (pre-MediaNews) did:

Here's a taste of what some of these guys were making in 2006-07:

Salary of Police Officer-Inters:

87,148.55
124,890.58
103,577.03
103,841.28
111,777.09
92,462.81
118,841.48
112,131.85
97,669.46
127,689.87
127,908.68
108,349.39
112,145.99
124,272.59
123,435.09
101,766.25
105,371.67
101,668.10
108,796.34
114,061.29
111,069.75
118,539.79
112,482.75
127,779.24

Salaries of Police Sgt/Adv:

123,132.31
157,829.66
152,651.07
148,403.31
162,264.08
27,292.69
137,797.65
144,607.49
143,600.46
122,544.97
177,795.23
169,460.61
137,419.04
157,287.66
141,920.55
162,414.04

It is difficult to believe that police officers (in a two-family income situation) are not seeing more than 200K a year!

Who really believes that you can't live in Palo Alto on $200K a year?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To Amy Kacher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 24, 2008 at 6:54 pm

I think what happened was bad enough and of course could've been worse if any of you were in the room. I'm sorry about how poorly you were treated by the dispatcher.


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Posted by Blair
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 24, 2008 at 9:53 pm

To Jerks, just something for you and the other cynics. Have you ever considered taking on the responsibilities that police officers have? Always the critic with little or no understanding. I applaud the men and women in public service, especially those in the emergency services. A service that you would lack the courage and ability to even consider taking on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a long time resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2008 at 12:35 am

The statement about police hating residents is based on personal experiences. Complain about illegal activity in the neighborhood and yelling, screaming at you by a armed officer us seen by me at hatred. Also jelosy that I live here and he dosen't or suppositly cant afford to live in Palo but makes much more than I have ever made and the comments made by him contribute to the idea that many officers, not all by any means, hate residents.

When the officer gets mad at you when you call and not at the person(s)doing the illegal activity says there is something wrong.
I have been openly solicited for money also and if I gave they would keep track of my name.

The reason given for giving officers taser guns was so that they could use them on people who looked like they may be trouble long before they got close enough to cause trouble. Statement by chief of police before council. They should be able to go home after each day feeling as safe as anyone in the city (such as a libririan, etc) Their job should present no personal risk to them.

They get super high salaries and benifits because the union say to the city "Pay us what we want or else!! go on strike, we won't protect your business or your neighborhood if you don't"
I heard the union leader at a public meeting say what I would expect to hear from a mofia leader. SCARY One thing was we operate as a unit with 100%support from all of our officers. (I.E, if you dont back us up on what to say about what things that happen you will never work again you will be considered a "rat")_My interpertation.
These are my opinions based on being around here a long time and seeing many things happening.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by get real
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2008 at 10:02 am

long time resident,

Are you kidding me? I think you have been watching too many late night movies. Solicitation for money by cops, strikes by cops, keeping your name? This is Palo Alto, not some big city back east. Don't you think that if this was really happening there would have been a major outcry by the educated residents of this town.

The anonymous surveys solicited by the city put the police department at a high satisfaction rate and do you think the police could have gotten that with the accusations you report? I got this information from the paper that hosts this blog so if you feel comfortable using this blog you must trust the information they put out.

I think you have had a bad experience with the Police and that happens. Take some responsibility for your past (or present) and deal with YOUR issues.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Teen mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 25, 2008 at 10:38 am

Painball guns are most popular amoung rich white kids, not EPA kids. Paintball session costs $50 plus, the gun and ammo for it $100 plus. To me it looks like a typical PA teenager prank.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by i have
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 25, 2008 at 12:06 pm

i have taken on responsibilities of a cop.when youre not white,you have to protect yourself and others! the cops dont care about you,even black and latino and female ones.you need to get real


 +   Like this comment
Posted by get real
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I Have,

What do you mean? Are you a modern vigilante? No one can know what it's like to be a cop unless you've been one. And to paint them all with such a broad paintbrush is juvenile at best. Walk in their shoes and then post. I can't even imagine what it's like to face danger instead of calling someone else to face it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by With-My-Own-Eyes&Ears
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm

> Solicitation for money by cops

It's been a while ago, but I saw (and heard) two cops solicit a tavern owner with my own eyes (and ears).


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