Town Square

Do we need that large number of Police Officers Patrolling Palo Alto?

Original post made by Old homewoener, Community Center, on Dec 30, 2012

Do we need that large number of Police Officers Patrolling Palo Alto?

here is what happened today: i placed an old computer for sale on Craigslist because I just purchased a new one.
Now the buyer ask to meet me in a cafe in Palo Alto, I went there but nobody showed up, fine I came back but before I come home 2 police cars with 4 officers stop in front of me
apparently the buyer called the Police for a prank, or maybe because I was selling the computer too cheap and he was actually a seller that want to sell a similar computer for more money, or any other reason that I cannot think right now.
After I gave my information and ID to the officers and explained what happened we all laugh about it, and joke about how old the computer were, and they left and everything is fine, but I just wonder why 2 cars, and 4 police Officers arrive for me. I am wondering that because the average police officer in Palo Alto earns 120k a per year, plus pension, health benefits, and also to remember that their future are guaranteed with 100% of retirement income.
I am all for to build the new Police station by Park Boulevard, especially since the city will cove part of the price tad and the other part a private construction Company will pay the rest, but my problem is: once the building is done are they going to keep hiring more officers?
I sincerely hope not. Two days I read the news that a family of father mother and daughter that is a Stanford grad were stealing from the Stanford Shopping and were cough by the private security personnel there. No Police were involved only after the arrest were made.
I understand we need the sworn Police officers, but at more than 50 in the rank and file, Palo Alto has a tremendous amount expense with these officers and definitely an overhead and unnecessary number of 4 officers to check in a sale of an old computer. or maybe they are bored?


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 31, 2012 at 11:41 am

I think if you did the math, you'd realize that 50 officers is not that many. 50 officers cover the entire city (residential and business) 24x7. That's 3 shifts of officers, who work 5 days/week...which means (in simple terms) that in a day, you have an average of 35 officers covering the 3 shifts.

Assume the 2 heaviest shifts are 6am-2pm & 2pm-10pm, you probably have 14 officers on the first 2 shifts and 7 on the midnight shift.

14 officers on duty to cover a city of 65,000 residents and untold number of people who come to work here on a daily basis.

Simple math, I know. But I think some people would wonder how 14 officers over an 8-hour period could possible cover all needs of the city.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 31, 2012 at 11:46 am

I would also add that the 14 officers are not all out on the streets in patrol cars either. You have to include levels of management (a shift sergeant for example), some maybe in the office doing paper work, etc.

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Posted by Training
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm

What you likely saw were two training units. Each unit had a field training officer and a trainee which is the reason you saw four officers. Anytime someone calls 911 and reports someone might be selling stolen property that will calls for two units to be dispatched. It just so happened that the units that responded to your incident each had a trainee. The assertion that Palo Alto PD is overstaffed is unsupported by the level of crime in the city versus the departments staffing.

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Posted by Appalled
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 31, 2012 at 9:51 pm

I am appalled that anyone would complain that we have too many police officers! When you are being robbed, you'll want the entire force out to help you in a split second. Perhaps if there been another crime going on, there would have been less officers. If we have less police officers in town, they will take longer to reach the scene of a crime. I am all for more police officers in our city and willing to pay higher taxes to feel safe from the non-residents who visit our city to commit crimes. After all, what are the stats on Palo Altans committing crimes in our city? I'll bet the majority of criminals are not residents of Palo Alto.

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Posted by Dudette
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 1, 2013 at 10:13 am

Dude!!!! We are twelve officers short in this town. Some calls actually go unanswered!

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Posted by annoyed
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2013 at 11:09 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

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Posted by fake 911 calls
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Lately there been lots of 911 fake calls. I hope the Police can trace back those calls and check the people who actually dial the 911 only of cause perhaps embarrassment, and waste of time to everyone