News

Ex-Palo Alto firefighter receives court sentence

Andrew Jentzsch to receive mental-health counseling after posting threatening messages online

A former Palo Alto firefighter who threatened Police Chief Dennis Burns and several city officials was sentenced on Friday (Dec. 16) to receive mental-health counseling and to seek employment or retraining.

Andrew Jentzsch, 48, had been a firefighter and paramedic with the City of Palo Alto for 20 years, starting in 1983. In 2003, he resigned his position but then wanted to return to the job. The city did not rehire him.

Jentzsch has written in online posts that he sustained a painful shoulder injury and required a joint replacement. He said the city did not help him or provide benefits for his injury. He had a long history of resentment over the incident, which he documented in posts on various Internet forums.

On March 22 he made several posts on Palo Alto Online's Town Square forum that referenced weapons, ammunition, "ending it" and "not being around for the aftermath."

He also referenced Burns, who is interim fire chief, but who did not have anything to do with the dispute. The posts included a list of people with whom Jentzsch held grievances, including president of the firefighters union Tony Spitaleri and City Manager James Keene.

Jentzsch was arrested April 21 in Hawaii by Hawaiian county police and was extradited to California May 12. He pleaded no contest on May 19 to a felony count of making criminal threats as part of a plea bargain.

He had faced two felonies: making threats to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury and threatening a public official, and making annoying or threatening phone calls or using other means of mass communication, a misdemeanor.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Kurt Kumli in Palo Alto sentenced Jentzsch to 200 hours of community service, 48 days in jail (reduced for time served and the balance waived), to pay undetermined compensation to his victims, various fees and fines and submit to search and seizure of his home and computer.

He was banned from possessing any weapon and cannot possess a firearm or ammunition for the rest of his life. He must seek gainful employment or vocational retraining and must attend anger-management classes and receive mental-health counseling as specified by his probation officer.

Kumli also added criminal protective orders barring Jentzsch from any contact with Burns, Keene, Spitaleri and city labor negotiator Sandra Blanch. He must stay at least 300 feet away from City Hall, but in the event that he has business there, he can contact Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin by phone to set up an appointment.

Jentzsch quietly accepted the terms of the plea deal and withdrew a notice of appeal.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Aaaron
a resident of another community
on Dec 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Hopefully Andy will get the help he needs. He has been unstable for years, even during his years with the city. Good luck.


Like this comment
Posted by PAFreePress
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm

To Posted by Aaaron. Did you work with Andrew thus having knowledge of some sort of psychosis. If found him to be a conginal and compassionate. Did you ever give throught to systemic problems on the job which may have contributed to underlining health issues?

I think you were being a bit to harsh. On a side note I no he went to the Human Relation Commission seeking help with his issues and he told me they were unwilling to help.

The same holds true with city council. If anything it was an emotional accident in the making all of which could have been avoided with the proper care by all parties concerned.


Like this comment
Posted by Marielena
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2011 at 8:25 am

Paramedics and Firefighters go through a lot on their job. Imagine they are the ones who get to the emergency scene first. Of course some of the mental issues can be related to the job stress. I hope he gets he help the article claims he needs. Hopefully, he will start healing. Thanks to him for the times he was able to do his job and save people who were in trouble or in medical emergencies. Thanks to all firefighters, paramedics and police officers who go the extra mile to help others. Happy Holidays.


Like this comment
Posted by Forum Historian
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 17, 2011 at 10:37 am

Is he the person who posts rants as "Fireman" on this forum?


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I'm not really up on the whole story here. I've read parts of it off and on as it has appeared here previously. I don't have the feeling that the story is being told completely or in any way that makes sense. Why bother to write about it if you cannot cover it in a way that informs?

Then to have someone immediately jump in without qualifying his statement and saying the person in question has been unstable for years with what sounds like a disingenuous hope that he gets help just doesn't sit right with me. Someone who writes a post like that without explaining their real agenda may be one who also needs "help".

As I said, I don't know any of the people involved, but when I see bits and pieces of what people throw in and it doesn't really add up, it makes me feel a bit sympathetic towards the former firefighter to tell the truth.

>> Andrew Jentzsch, 48, had been a firefighter and paramedic with the City of Palo Alto for 20 years, starting in 1983. In 2003, he resigned his position but then wanted to return to the job. The city did not rehire him.

>> Jentzsch has written in online posts that he sustained a painful shoulder injury and required a joint replacement. He said the city did not help him or provide benefits for his injury. He had a long history of resentment over the incident, which he documented in posts on various Internet forums.

A firefighter with 20 years service to a city that throws away money like Palo Alto does ... at least if you are the right person ... maybe the city could have done something to help the guy.

So ... also

>> was sentenced on Friday to receive mental-health counseling and to seek employment or retraining.

I was not aware that the courts could sentence someone to get a job ... now, maybe this is a solution to the massive unemployment we have in this country now ... just arrest the unemployed and sentence them to get a job!

Seriously, so is the city going to help this guy do any of these things?


Like this comment
Posted by I know the story
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

@Anon

Google is your friend.

@Forum Historian

yes same person


Like this comment
Posted by Firefighter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Worked with Andy for years. He has no one to blame but himself. End of story!


Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Good luck Andy, we're hoping for the best for you.


Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Dec 18, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I got some good advice when I lived in Santa Monica - when things get really bad just go to the beach. This guy lives in Hawaii I can not think of a better place to go to the beach.


Like this comment
Posted by Andrew Jentzsch
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Well for those who care.

I do have a job, Care Giver for a Quadriplegic.

I was working in Hawaii as a Care Giver for another Quadriplegic when this happened, working 7 days a week while needing a new shoulder that hurts more then you can imagine. i do not live there.

I have not been offered any help, I went to every city department asking, threats was all I got.

The Palo Alto Fire Department is an Embarrassment to the Fire Service. Lets see you want the public to vote on what?
What did you do to the rest of the City Employees.
Greed and ego is not what being a Firefighter is about.
I worked with some very good people, I worked with lots of people who are the problem. I cared which is more than I can say about many I worked with.

There is so much more to this story, I hope to someday get it out to the public, working n it.

Doing the best I can, as I always have tried to.

Sorry for some of the things I have done. Have a Merry Chritmas..

Thanks to the people who have supported me.


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2011 at 9:37 pm

For those who would judge Mr. Jentzsch, please consider the environment where he worked.

The environment of disgraced former Assistant City Manager Harrison, disgraced former Utilities Director Ulrich, disgraced former Police Chief Johnson, etc, etc, etc...and, of course, the Pat Briggs witch hunt.

For those who have followed "Fireman's" postings here over the years, it seems a lot of what he has said turned out to be true.



Like this comment
Posted by Michael McCarty
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Michael McCarty
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 18, 2011 at 9:51 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]



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