Jan 17 2019

Get Ready, Piedmont – Disaster Preparedness Brochure & Checklist

With the two recent earthquakes near Piedmont measuring 3.4 and 3.5 on January 16 and 17, 2019, Piedmonters are reminded to get ready. Below is the link to a guide and additional information.

The Piedmont Public Safety Committee has prepared the Get Ready, Piedmont disaster preparedness guide. This document provides comprehensive information on preparation for and response to, earthquakes, fires, landslides, and other emergencies. The guide is 50 pages in length with checklists and illustrations on things like turning off utilities, food and water storage, first aid materials, seismic measures etc. This document is available by clicking here as well as on the Public Safety Committee and Fire Department pages of the site. Printed copies are available at the Fire Department.

Also available is the four page checklist which provides a ready reference on steps to take in the event of an earthquake or wildfire as well as general guidance on disaster preparedness and crime prevention. Printed copies are available at the Fire Department.

For additional information, please contact the Fire Department at (510) 420-3030.

Jan 11 2019

PRESS RELEASE   Piedmont Police Department

Over the last two weeks several home invasion robbery cases, which occurred in the City of Piedmont over the course of the last two years, have concluded and the suspects involved in the incidents have been brought to justice. These cases were successfully investigated by Piedmont Police officers and detectives and prosecuted by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. The Piedmont Police Department was aided greatly by the several law enforcement agencies in the area. The collaborative networking of these agencies resulted in several dangerous felons being apprehended and prosecuted.

Piedmont Police Officer David Cutler located and arrested two of three suspects immediately after they committed a home invasion robbery on the 500 block of Scenic Avenue. Further investigation by Piedmont Police Detectives Wright, Coffey, Spranza and coordination with San Francisco Police, Emeryville Police, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the identification and arrest of the third outstanding suspect. On January 10, 2019, representatives from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office notified our detectives that the involved suspects, Dimitri Johnson (21 years, Oakland), Terrace Fears (21 years old, Emeryville) and Sidney Davis 23 years old, Oakland) plead guilty to the home invasion robbery and will also serve lengthy prison terms for their crimes.

On 10/10/ 2017, a home invasion robbery occurred at a residence on the 1300 block of Oakland Avenue. This incident was particular in the method used by the suspects where they lured the victims out of the home by turning off the power from the outside electrical panel. The initial responding officer and detective conducted thorough investigations and were aided by the outstanding work of the Alameda County Sherriff’s Department, who provided Crime Scene Technicians to process the scene of the robbery. Because of this work, Dante Brown was identified and charged for the home invasion robbery. On January 8, 2019, representatives from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office notified our detectives that the suspect plead “no contest” for the felony residential robbery with the use of a firearm. He is to be sentenced in the near future to a lengthy prison sentence.

On 1/24/18, a home invasion robbery occurred at a residence on Lorita Avenue. In this event, three armed suspects approached the victims, forced them into the residence and ransacked the home. The initial responding officers were able to locate video from a neighbor’s surveillance system. The video led PPD detectives to a possible vehicle. Piedmont Automated License Plate Reading (ALPR) cameras provided additional links to the suspected vehicle. Those links were further investigated and led to a positive match of the suspect vehicle. An alert OPD officer located the vehicle in question and additional information that led to the suspects. Ultimately, with help from the Stockton Police Department, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, the suspects were positively identified and arrested. S1 Michael Austin (33, Oakland), S2 Brandon Johnson (30, Stockton), S3 William Edwards (22, Oakland). Each suspect has been arraigned in Superior Court.

If anyone has any additional information related to any of these events, please call Detective Jeff Spranza at (510) 420-3013. If you wish to remain anonymous you may call the Piedmont Police Department Tip Line at (510) 420-3055. For press inquiries, please contact Captain Chris Monahan at (510) 420-3012 or CMonahan@piedmont.ca.gov.

Jan 9 2019

The City Council at their January 7, 2019 meeting discussed at length a proposal by Piedmont Police Chief Jeremy Bowers and School Superintendent Randall Booker to use grant funding for three years to install a sworn and armed police officer in the Piedmont Unified School District, who would be assigned to the Piedmont High School and Middle School.

Praise was given to Bowers for seeking grant funding.  The Council had not previously been involved in seeking the grant and wondered if the money could be used for other than a Sworn Police Officer (SRO) in reaching community and school goals.  The answer was no.

After taking community input, a target of bringing the matter back to the Council in March was suggested.

Some notions expressed were:

  • Armed officer in the schools – good or bad
  • Ability to afford an SRO following the grant appeared difficult
  • Need to learn more about SRO effectiveness from other schools
  • Potential for allinating minority individuals
  • Having a snitch on school property
  • Downside risks
  • Other methods of achieving goals
  • Current experiences within the Piedmont schools
  • Training necessary to achieve expansive job description

The Piedmont School Board and City Council must both agree on a SRO.

There were requests for greater outreach to the community prior to making the decision, which is targeted in the next few months in hopes of having a SRO for fall 2019.

Jan 9 2019

On Sunday, January 6th despite the rain, the backstop at Hampton Field was dedicated to Piedmont native and Oakland Police Officer John Hege, who was killed in the line of duty in March of 2009.

Present at the dedication was Hege’s mother, Tam Hege, who spoke at the occasion to the throng of police officers from Oakland and Piedmont the well over 100 participants gathered to honor Hege.

Prior to his 10-year law enforcement career, John served as a teacher, an umpire, and a coach. In addition to coaching football at Piedmont High School, John umpired hundreds of baseball games at Hampton Field. Raised and educated in the East Bay, Hege earned the distinction of Eagle Scout with Troop 15 in Piedmont. Hege’s mother Tam was actively involved in Piedmont with many volunteer roles including School Board member, Planning Commissioner, and President of the Piedmont League of Women Voters. Hege graduated from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California.

After college, Hege worked as a teacher in Hayward. In 1993, he joined the Oakland Police Department as a volunteer reserve police officer. OPD hired Hege as a full-time police officer in 1999, assigning him to the Bureau of Field Operations. After patrolling Oakland neighborhoods for 10 years, Hege fulfilled a lifelong dream with a transfer to the Traffic Operations Section and an assignment as motorcycle officer.

John loved both his career and his hometown Raiders. Friends and family were also important, and Hege was famous for planning parties, organizing trips and gathering people together. Selfless to the end, Officer Hege’s organ donations saved the lives of four people and his tissue donation improved the lives of as many as fifty others. Hege will be remembered as a caring friend, a devoted son, and a role model for his fellow officers.

Residents with questions are encouraged to contact Recreation Director Sara Lillevand at (510) 420-3040 or slillevand@piedmont.ca.gov

Jan 5 2019

The sole new item on the City Council agenda for Monday, January 7 is the possibility of a School Resource Police Officer (SRO).  (Read the agenda  here.)  A number of communities have considered the SRO program and some have implemented SROs. There is a national organization of School Resource Police Officers –read NASRO explanation of the program here.

The New York Times Sunday, January 6 Magazine cover article focuses on the reporting by SROs to various law enforcement entities, including reporting students to ICE.  ” Schools with large populations of black and Latino students are more likely to have a resource officer than schools that are majority white.  … President Trump called for police officers on every campus. …In January 2018 in Houston, ICE detained a high schooler with a 3.4 G.P.A. after a school resource officer wrote him up for fighting with another student.

Advocates suggest that School Resource Officers serve as counselors, role models, and advocates for students, families, faculty, and staff, while bringing security to school campuses. School Resource Officers are a recognized and approachable resource for students and faculty during and after school, at school events, and during investigations that have a tie to school campuses and activities.  In addition to being available on campus to quickly respond to emergency situations, SROs can be a valuable resource for students, parents, teachers and administration regarding law enforcement related issues. Enforcement is not the expectation of the School Resource Officers, in fact the main objective is to help the student avoid the criminal justice system by employing the principles of restorative justice. School Resource Officers heavily focus in the area of prevention. The officers give presentations in classrooms, talk with students in the hallways, building relationships and alert to problems.  These relationships establish important lines of communication that help to prevent crime and school violence.

PUSD Superintendent Randall Booker and Piedmont Police Chief Jeremy Bowers have been discussing a dedicated police position assigned to SRO duty as part of the implementation of the “Safe School Plan.”  On Wednesday, November 14, 2018 the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education (PUSD) discussed the proposed Police SRO.  This specially trained police officer would combine a unique combination and unusual set of skills: counselor, teacher, social worker, and law enforcement professional. As a counselor, this police officer would support students and staff. As a teacher, the officer would give classroom presentations and educate students on the police. As a social worker, the officer would help resolve conflicts within the school community. Furthermore, the ultimate goal of this position would be to  improve the overall safety of our schools.  (Read the staff report complete with statement of duties and skills here.)

Council meeting Monday,  January 7, 2019, 7:30  p.m. City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and on the City website under videos. 

Dec 15 2018

Piedmont Police PRESS RELEASE

On December 12, 2018 at 4:58 p.m, a strong armed robbery occurred at the corner of Wildwood and Grand Avenues. The victim was walking northbound in the crosswalk smoking a cigarette. While in the crosswalk, he was approached from behind by suspect 1 (S1) and asked if he had a lighter. The victim gave him his lighter. The suspect used and returned the lighter and then walked away towards Wildwood Avenue.

Shortly thereafter, the victim was on the northeast corner of the intersection and was asked  by a second suspect (S2) if he had a lighter, which he thought was unusual. Before he could react, he noticed S1 walking towards him. At the same time, S2 (who was behind the victim) wrapped his arms around the front shoulders of the victim. The victim grabbed his laptop bag, which was crossed draped around his right shoulder. Both suspects began punching the victim in the head. The punches caused the victim to fall to the ground.

The victim said he felt approximately 30 punches to his head and shoulders which caused him to experience vision issues. The suspects took the victim’s laptop and fled in a vehicle with another occupant. Witnesses described the “get-away” vehicle. Piedmont Police Department officers immediately responded to the scene and began to search for the suspects and suspect vehicle.

Officers located the suspect’s vehicle parked smoking on St. James Drive. Another witness noticed the suspects running towards Trestle Glen Road. Both S1 and S2 were located and arrested on Trestle Glen Road. The third suspect was not located and the laptop is presumed to be with the third suspect based on video evidence. The suspects were positively identified by the victim and witnesses. Both suspects were arrested and transported to jail.

Suspect 1 – Rowell, Derick Jamal, 26, Oakland, was charged with Robbery, Assault, Conspiracy and Probation violations.

Suspect 2 – Stewart, Charles Ranando Jr., 29, Oakland, was charged with Robbery, Assault, Conspiracy and Probation violations.

If anyone has any information related to this event, please call Detective Jeff Spranza at (510) 420-3013. If you wish to remain anonymous you may call the Piedmont Police Department Tip Line at (510) 420-3055.

Dec 13 2018

 Council meeting Monday, December 17, 2018, 7:30  p.m. City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and on the City website under videos. 

Agenda 

READ the full staff report and recommendations for approval by clicking below.

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2018-12-17/crowncastlesettlement.pdf

Dec 4 2018

Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Avenue

10:00 AM  Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018

Please join the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and the Piedmont Police Department for an interactive program focused on seniors staying safe during the holidays. We will discuss shopping securely, avoiding phone and email scamps, and being aware of other types of fraud common during this time of year. Attendees will also learn about general financial exploitation, and how to safeguard oneself and seek assistance.

The program will be held on Wednesday, December 5th from 10:00 – 11:30 AM in the Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Avenue.

All are welcome to attend as this information will be useful to share with elder family and friends.

Dec 4 2018

12-4-18

Dear City Administrator, City Council, and Public Works Director,

While street sweeping is conducted by a Public Works Department professional driving a very expensive street sweeping machine, our city’s street sweeping program is run like an amateur volunteer activity.  Effective street sweeping requires that the machine sweeps up fallen leaves in the gutters, otherwise those leaves wash down into our storm drains and clog them.  Yet, cars routinely park on streets scheduled for sweeping, so the machine just sweeps around them, missing most of the gutter leaves.  Why do cars remain on streets during sweeping days?

The answer is because clearing the streets depends upon an intensive and frustrating volunteer effort.  Local residents have to find out and remember when their street is scheduled for sweeping (there is no fixed day or time).  Then, volunteer residents have to tie or tape floppy cardboard “no parking” signs to trees or poles in front of their houses.  Then, they have to call the Public Works Department to report and register that they have mounted the temporary signs.  Oh, and the report must be made four days before the scheduled street sweeping day.  Then, on street sweeping day, the volunteer has to check to see if any cars are parked where the signs were posted, and if so, call the Piedmont Police to report a violation.  Then, this is the frustrating part, they have to wait to see if a cop will come out to ticket the violating parker.  Sometimes a parker has moved his car before a cop comes out.  Often, someone will park in the empty space after the cop has left, causing the volunteer to call the Police Department again to request street sweeping enforcement.

Whew!  It has taken a lot of time just to describe the process.  Most of our neighbors don’t have time to actually go through this process.  My wife, Karen, followed the city protocol – to the letter – because a lot of leaves have been accumulating.  She even raked the leaves away from the gutter into the street to help the machine collect them.  In spite of her efforts, four cars parked on the street, ignoring the signs she posted.  This is not the way to run a professional city service, and, the lack of adequate sweeping costs our city extra expense to clean out clogged storm drains.

The solution is not rocket science; it just requires looking at what most other cities do.

(1)    Establish a regular schedule for sweeping each street.

(2)   Post permanent signs saying “No Parking” on those specific dates and times.

(3)   Deploy police to enforce the regularly scheduled “no parking” rules.

This is how Oakland conducts its street sweeping parking restrictions on Linda, Kingston, and other nearby streets in that city.

My wife and I are not going to continue performing this tedious volunteer work to aid the city’s street sweeping.  Many of our neighbors don’t do so either, because they are not home during sweeping times or because it is too much of a burden.  It is long past time for Piedmont to run its street sweeping operation professionally.

Taxpayers paid a lot of money for the street sweeping machine, and that money is wasted if the machine can’t clean the gutters because cars are parked on sweeping days.

Sincerely,

Bruce Joffe, Piedmont Resident

Nov 28 2018

Get involved!  Public participation is needed.
HELP PIEDMONT BE HAZARD-READY!
A Local Hazard Mitigation Plan is currently being developed by the City of Piedmont.

Fires, drought, earthquakes, and severe weather are just a few of the hazards to be addressed in the plan.

While hazards such as these cannot be prevented, a Hazard Mitigation Plan forms the foundation for a community’s long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses by breaking the repeated cycle of disaster damage and reconstruction. Additionally, only communities with a FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan are eligible to apply for both pre- and post-disaster mitigation grant funding.

Nationwide, taxpayers pay billions of dollars annually helping communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals recover from disaster. Some disasters are predictable and, in many cases, much of the damage can be reduced or even eliminated through hazard mitigation planning.

The people most aware of potential hazards are the people that live and work in the affected community. In addition to plan participation by local, state and federal agencies, the community is seeking all interested community members to hear more about our Local Hazard Mitigation Planning project.  The City encourages attendance and participation from the general public at an upcoming public meeting:

Thursday, December 6, 2018
Public Meeting: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Piedmont Community Hall
711 Highland Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611

For additional information, please contact Chris Yeager at (510) 420-3067 or email at CYeager@piedmont.ca.gov.