Palo Alto looks to restore police auditor's power to review internal complaints | April 16, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 16, 2021

Palo Alto looks to restore police auditor's power to review internal complaints

City Council's Policy and Service Committee votes to expand the scope of OIR Group

by Gennady Sheyner

The Palo Alto City Council surprised many police watchdogs in December 2019 when it abruptly moved to strip away the independent police auditor's power to investigate internal complaints by officers against their colleagues.

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Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 14, 2021 at 10:53 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Good for THIS council and shame on the previous one that aided and abetted the city's reduction of transparency on this and other issues. ! The police blotter dramatically understates crime and the encryption issue is an odd one.

And Just yesterday the Mountain View police delayed asking people's help in identifying the suspect who shot at 2 teenagers near Castro for a full day because they didn't want to alert the suspect they were looking for him! Good luck with that!

Posted by Duveneck neighbor
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2021 at 11:10 am

Duveneck neighbor is a registered user.

The City Manager and City Attorney claim that the privacy rights of officers exceeds the rights of victims and of the public to oversee that law enforcement, and the entire justice system, are behaving according to not just the law, but according to community moral and ethical standards.

This claim is unsubstantiated. CM Shikada is quoted, "While always wanting to respect and protect the rights of anyone who feels they are a victim, we also know there are situations in which claims can be raised many, many times." The CM offers this assertion as 'evidence' for the restricted public and OIR view of police, law enforcement, and justice system behaviors.

Yet, the linked report, above, includes only further assertions, presented without proof or quantitative evidence. And, given the community's profound distrust in the capability of the CM, and of the CA, their assertions of the necessity for the December 2019 OIR contract changes cannot be given any credence whatsoever.

The taxpayers of this community have spent millions of dollars so that the status quo of our system of 'justice' can be preserved. Time and again, however, when behaviors are finally brought to public view, frequently through PAW reporting, the public sees plainly that the tactics, technology, and training of our police fall short of our collective aspiration. And, we see the PD Chief, the CM, the CA, the medical examiner, the DA, and the POA all acting to preserve their entitled status quo.

Enough. The Council must act. The system must be changed. There can be no more excuses.

And, I'm not interested in blame or recrimination, either; we the people are ultimately responsible.

We are all complicit. We are all culpable.

Those who resist the necessary changes, must be encouraged to leave. Grant them a full pension, if needed; but they are no longer entitled to employment in a status quo system. That is the price the public must pay for its inattention.

Posted by Sidney Rothstein
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2021 at 11:12 am

Sidney Rothstein is a registered user.

The police must be held accountable for their actions, both good and bad.

It's as simple as that.

Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2021 at 12:23 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

It is always good to have an independent auditor for the police AND for the City of Palo Alto.

Posted by Dick D.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2021 at 6:47 pm

Dick D. is a registered user.

Yes, the auditor should be empowered.

What about other things like going forward now with encrypting communications, despite the City Manager saying it will be delayed til the end of 2021 to look at alternative approaches - and then the PAPD goes ahead and implements it.

And what about resistance by PAPD from transparency – delay after delay in "timely" responding to the local press.

Who in blue blazes do they work "for"?

Posted by Alejandro Morales
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2021 at 9:05 am

Alejandro Morales is a registered user.

The police are simply saying that they cannot do their job if someone is constantly watching over their shoulders.

Whether this is a valid argument is for the residents of Palo Alto to decide and to have their city council to act upon, one way or the other.

Posted by Seriously Folks...
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 16, 2021 at 6:59 am

Seriously Folks... is a registered user.

>"The police must be held accountable for their actions, both good and bad."

A suggestion...have this internal auditor review all of the individual PAPD officer's personnel records for citizen complaints and questionable actions while on duty.

Pre-establish the 'proper' parameters and then FIRE the ones who crossed the line.

Then establish further psychological testing and background checks for the remaining officers and then FIRE the ones who do not pass certain guidelines. This can also be used to vet new hires as well.

There is no need to defund the PAPD...Just get rid of ALL of the bad apples and then start anew.

Posted by deshaun w.
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2021 at 8:29 am

deshaun w. is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]