Nov 14 2017

Crime Report Shows Improvements While Underage Drinking and Smoking Presents Concern

On November 6, 2017, I attended a City Council Meeting which addressed the third quarter reports of the Piedmont Police Department and the authorization of limited obligation bonds linked to Undergrounding Assessment Districts. New technologies utilized by the Police Department were also discussed.

The meeting began after the Council recited the pledge of allegiance, which is a custom at the beginning of every meeting. Before Chief of Police, Jeremy Bowers, was called to present his report, the City Clerk called for any persons to address a matter not present on the Agenda.

I went to the podium and discussed my gratifications towards the recent developments and improvements to Hampton Park. I expressed that the changes were a great benefit to the City and that it was nice to see brand new turf and foundations. The Council members seemed very pleased with my remarks, giving me happy nods and cheerful smiles.

After my address, the City Clerk called Roy Connors to the podium. Roy expressed his deep feelings about the benefits of constructing telephone lines throughout the area. Roy went on to say that, “I believe that the construction of these lines would greatly improve cell reception and provide reliable phone connections to areas of Piedmont.” The Council members unanimously nodded there heads in agreement and Roy stepped off the podium.

Lastly, a man approached the podium and discussed the recent implications of the disastrous Napa fires and how Piedmont residents should prepare for an event like this. He proposed to the Council the benefits that would be included with fire insurance being provided to residences. The Council agreed that further steps should be taken in order to prepare for a situation like the Napa fires.

After the clerk called for any last comments, the Chief of Police gave his address on the 3rd Quarter crime rates.  Chief Bowers began his address by stating that crime rates have dropped by 15% compared to this time last year. He cited that there were 176 reported crimes last year compared to the 146 crimes reported this year. The Council commended this statistic and he continued by saying that “Robberies have declined from 11 to only 1,” which met with even more praise. Chief Bowers attributed these downward trends to technology, officer awareness, and citizen reports.

Chief Bowers went on to explain how new technologies such as camera’s were providing the identification of wanted criminals. He described a situation which involved the brandishing of a firearm as a means of road rage. The suspect was later identified after he was reported, thanks to the use of high optic cameras installed at the intersection where the scene occurred.

After Chief Bower’s debrief on crime statistics, he delved into the topics of underage drinking and smoking. Bower’s emphasized that the Piedmont Police were not serving to punish kids, but were merely attempting to protect them from the harm that ensues from drinking and smoking. He went on to explain the repercussions of marijuana use and how the police department is cracking down on kids smoking in Piedmont Park.

Underage drinking was also briefly discussed.  Bowers stated, “Recently two girls had to be transported to a hospital for acute alcohol poisoning. The Police Force cares about the short term and long term effects of these kids’ health.” This statement prompted Council member Jen Cavenaugh to commend Chief Bowers on all he was doing to suppress the problems of underage drinking and smoking.

Once Chief Bowers had concluded his report, the City Clerk asked the Council members if they had any questions they wished to discuss. Council member Tim Rood, appreciated the recent decline of car collisions, which has decreased by 20% since last year.

Mayor Robert McBain noted the issue of car thefts stating that, “It is important that we reduce the thefts involving cars.” The Mayor suggested that people should hide any valuables in their cars. McBain concluded his remarks by re-affirming to the public that, “The Piedmont Police are here to help us and protect us.”

I believe that Chief Bowers is doing a tremendous job of reducing the criminal activity in Piedmont and also spreading awareness about the dangers of drinking and smoking. These changes will ultimately benefit Piedmont and new technologies will also contribute even more to a decrease in crime rates. Regarding Bower’s address on kids health, I believe that it was very powerful for him to say that the Piedmont Police Department truly cares for every single Piedmont Unified School District kid. The Police only seeks to enlighten us on the dangers of underage drinking and smoking and are not here to incarcerate any teenagers.

At the end of the meeting, I interviewed a local resident of Piedmont, Lisa Gros. Mrs. Gros attended the meeting with her son who was a Boy Scout, as he was required to attend a City Council meeting. She was intrigued about the topics of drinking and drug awareness and seemed optimistic that her son would never partake in such activities.

I then asked Mrs. Gros how she would take action on the issues of underage drinking and smoking to which she replied, “I will be a role model for my kid and give him the right guidance when the time is right, but for right now I just hope that being openly against underage drinking will be enough to dissuade these kids from partaking in these detrimental activities.”

The City Council meets on the 1st and 3rd Monday’s of every month to address community issues and to hear community input from local residents and officials.

By Kevin Mead, Piedmont High School Senior


I attended a Piedmont City Council meeting at the Piedmont City Hall on November 6, 2017. The main topic on the agenda at the November 6 meeting included the Police Quarterly report presented by Piedmont Police Chief Jeremy Bowers. The Police Quarterly Report dominated the majority of the meeting as recent crime reports and specific criminal incidents in general were addressed.

Bowers said that the crime rate is continuing to decrease in the past two years. Bowers also was concerned with recent incidents of mail being stolen from citizens, and suggested that citizens should shred old mail.

A big issue was the recent incidents regarding parties in Piedmont where two girls were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. Police intend to be vigilant for parties and be on the lookout for alcohol consumption among teenagers simply in concern of their long term health.

Councilwoman Jen Cavenaugh asked Bowers if the Police Department tracks who hosts these private parties. Bowers responded by saying that the police do take note of that yet try to educate residents about the City of Piedmont ordinances regarding parties.

Another topic in the police report was the policy on marijuana use by young people. Bowers spoke of two officers from the Piedmont Police who went to Colorado to study how the legalization of marijuana has affected the state, and how it will work in California when it is legalized.  Bowers said the Police Department wants to educate young people on the effects of  marijuana use as opposed to taking a strictly punitive approach.

Councilwoman Cavenaugh asked if the police would still enforce the laws and punish young people caught with marijuana, and Bowers responded by saying that they would while emphasizing education and would also increase police controls in the Piedmont Park as that is an area where marijuana use is prevalent.

I appreciate this approach by Bowers as it is important for people to know what they are doing wrong and why it is harmful as opposed to being locked up without learning more about the crime they committed.

After the meeting concluded, I interviewed Bryan Gros, who attended the meeting with his son who is a Boy Scout and must attend a City Council meeting in order to earn his communication merit badge. Gros went there to support his son and he “learned a lot about the Piedmont Police Department.” In terms of his reaction to the police report, Gros said he “appreciated the way that the Police Chief thinks the best way to handle issues is in the community.”

At the beginning of the meeting, there was an opportunity for citizens to speak to the Council regarding any issue. I spoke about the recent protests in front of City Hall regarding the installation of new cell phone towers throughout the City. I said that the cell phone towers were necessary because the service in areas such as Hampton Field is quite bad and is inconvenient and could pose as a safety risk if someone needs to make an emergency call but cannot due to poor service. I also said that cell phone towers themselves do not cause harm to anyone and the protestors are misinformed on the effects of the towers.

The Piedmont City Council meets on the first and third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The Piedmont City Council addresses issues of public safety and budget issues for the City including various aspects of the City. including the Police and Fire Departments.

by Roy Connors, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors. 

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