Jan 29 2013

Police Chief Crime Report on Recent Activities and Proposed Actions

The following report was prepared by the Police Chief for the Council meeting of February 4, in City Hall.  

City of Piedmont COUNCIL AGENDA REPORT : February 4, 2013

FROM: Rikki Goede, Chief of Police

SUBJECT: Update to Council and Community on Police Department Response toCrime and Consideration of Authorization to Hire Ahead of Known and Probable Vacancies


Authorize the Chief of Police to immediately begin the process to hire ahead of known and probable vacancies within the Department to minimize gaps in patrol services.


On January 21, 2013, two armed home invasion robberies occurred within thirty minutes of each other. The first robbery occurred on Estates Drive and, while officers were investigating that crime, a second occurred on Arroyo Drive. The same suspects are believed to be involved in both robberies. These two incidents, combined with an increase in residential and auto burglaries have,understandably, increased the fear of crime within the community of Piedmont and has the residents demanding to know what steps are being taken by the police department to address the crime issues. This report will serve to update the Council and community on the actions taken by the police department in response to these crimes.


Upon assuming the Police Chief role on January 22, 2013, I immediately began an assessment of the Department’s staffing. The Department is authorized 28 full time employees, including 20 sworn personnel. Due to a combination of retirements, disability status, and frozen positions, the Department is currently at 22 full time employees. Without question this has hindered the Department’s ability to effectively respond to and investigate criminal activity. It also impacts the Department’s ability to maintain a minimum on duty staffing of one sergeant and two officers that is critical to the safety of our officers.

With regard to the aforementioned, the Department has taken the following immediate actions:
 Overtime has been authorized to backfill positions and ensure the minimum
staffing is met at all times.
 The number of paid reserves (primarily retired officers) has been increased from two to five allowing for more patrol resources.
 I have reached out to two local Bay Area departments who have provided investigative resources to assist our detective in the investigation of the home
invasion robberies. Additionally, we are working with Oakland investigators who
are following up on home invasions in their city with similar suspect descriptions
to the two committed in Piedmont.
 Overtime has been authorized for two officers to continue the investigative efforts on the other open criminal investigations.
 The determination of the benefit to offering a reward will be discussed with the investigators as well as the timing of such.
 Currently, the Department has two new officers in the final hiring process who are anticipated to begin field training next month. It is important to understand that field training for the aforementioned new hires will take a minimum of four
months and up to six months to complete. These officers have already completed
a police academy or that time would be extended by another four to six months.
 The Department is seeking Council authorization to actively begin hiring ahead for anticipated vacancies in an effort to minimize potential patrol gaps. Given that the Department is anticipating the possibility of five retirements in the coming year, it is important to prepare and minimize any gaps in patrol services these retirements will cause.
 The Department has already met with a vendor that provides license plate
reader/video surveillance services and is waiting for a final cost estimate from the
vendor to report to Council.

Finally, I want to reiterate that Piedmont remains a very safe community, however, it is not immune to the same issues facing every city in the state. For this reason, community collaboration and vigilance are essential to maintaining our safety. Neighborhood Watch programs have never been more necessary, and I will be working very closely with the Public Safety Committee and the community at large to increase participation in this valuable tool. Without question, 11,000 pairs of eyes watching out for the community are better than 20.


2 Responses to “Police Chief Crime Report on Recent Activities and Proposed Actions”

  1. Please consider banning door to door solicitors. All they have to do is “register” at the city hall and this could easily be falsified. These solicitors could easily be “casing” houses for future robberies. I have never heard of anyone wanting these solicitors to come to their house and I have lived here for 40 years.
    Please follow through on this.
    Thank you.

  2. Courts seem to have pretty consistently upheld door-to-door solicitation as a permissible form of commercial speech, subject to reasonable regulation by localities. Some good history at http://nfsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Constitutional-Solicitation.pdf

    Piedmont’s code bans ringing doorbells or knocking, even for protected charitable or political purposes, if a “No Soliciting” or similar sign is posted. (PCC 13.8) However, a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Watchtower Society v. Village of Stratton, 536 U.S. 150 (2002), held that a town ordinance’s provisions making it a misdemeanor to engage in door-to-door advocacy without first registering with town officials and receiving a permit violated the First Amendment as it applies to religious proselytizing, anonymous political speech, and the distribution of handbills.

    In the Watchtower decision, the Court stated that “it is offensive, not only to the values protected by the First Amendment, but to the very notion of a free society, that in the context of everyday public discourse a citizen must first inform the government of her desire to speak to her neighbors and then obtain a permit to do so.”

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