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Unmarked Pleasanton police cars causing public concern

Original post made on Dec 29, 2010

If you're a bad guy in Pleasanton, don't be surprised if you get pulled over by an unmarked police car.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010, 9:47 PM

Comments (46)

Posted by Ptown Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 8:59 am

"But with little history of police impersonators in Pleasanton..." - doesn't it just take one nutcase?

Sorry PPD, but with the rate of fraud these days, I wouldn't trust their ID to be real if they're not in uniform in a marked vehicle. You'll have to send a uniform in a marked car if they ever pull me over. And how productive would that be? Maybe they can stick to solving crimes (break ins, etc.) vs. traffic enforcement.

Posted by Emil Oxsen, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 29, 2010 at 9:21 am

With almost everybody carring cell phones, I would like to see the non-emergency phone number posted where it can be seen from the car with out getting out of the car or rolling down the window. That way the driver can call to verify who is pulling them over.
Just showing a badge isn't proff that they are actual police officers.

Posted by Sensible citizen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 9:23 am

If Pleasanton Police pull us over in an unmarked vehicle, they should exect to follow us to the Police station, into the station, and have a uniformed officer identify them. This is a dangerous practice. Unmarked vehicles should NOT be used for traffic enforcement.

Posted by bob123, a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2010 at 9:27 am

Maybe instead of worrying about marked or unmarked cars you losers should slow the heck down!!!

Posted by Duh!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 9:32 am

How about this all of you citizens who don't want to be stopped by an unmarked vehicle -- DON'T BE BREAKING THE LAW! If you are not speeding, yapping on your cell phone, driving with an expired registration, failing to yield to crosswalks, etc, etc, the unmarked car can focus on other crimes and will not be stopping you.
I have not been stopped by a cop in over 40 years and there is a reason for that. I drive conservatively (no, not too slowly) and I don't violate the law. Never been in an accident either cause the stupid cell phone stays off when I drive!

Posted by Larry McKinnon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

So this is to help reduce crime, I don't think so. I think it's just another way for the city to raise funds, nothing more. Did I miss something here? I don't think this is a good idea, maybe in cities where they kill for sport, but not here in Pleasanton. We have now created a dangerous situation where some whacko can put a light on his car, and pull people over. And as far as calling the police station, right, like I keep that number on speed dial. I think the mayor has a responsibility to stop the insanity. Do your job of giving tickets for people speeding, using phones while driving, or reckless driving, but let the public know your around doing your job.

Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 9:53 am

I normally support the Pleasanton Police, but this just makes my blood boil. As a woman, I would be terrified if an unmarked car of any type attempted to pull me over and would probably not stop for fear of my life. I don't like the idea of the Pleasanton Police Department terrifying us in this manner. If I were driving alone and had to try to phone the police to verifiy that it was a legitimate police officer I'd have to do it while my vehicle was in motion, as I'd be too afraid to stop. That would be another traffic violation! Not being experienced at dialing and talking on the phone while driving, I'd probably run into a tree/telephone pole or another car. Who'd be liable for that? Maybe the PPD should rethink this action and let the unmarked cars/police officers concentrate on those residential burglaries and more significant crimes against our citizens, and not traffic violations.

Posted by Ryan, a resident of Ironwood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 10:06 am

My college room mate used to do impersonations of such authorities (police, fire). He easily got lights, badges, and decals to do his deal (yes basically he was a con artist and gambler).

Put the police phone number in your cell phone contacts list 931 5100.

Call them as soon as you're being pulled over. When the cop approaches your car, get the badge ID and ask the person on the phone if they can verify where the police officer is at that moment. Do not roll down your windows.

Posted by Sue, a resident of Happy Valley
on Dec 29, 2010 at 10:15 am

Remember that you have the right to carry a gun in your vehicle. You don't need to feel defenseless to being pulled over by a potential con artist or criminal.

It cannot be in your glove box or console, it has to be in a "locked" container. There are many descriptions of this law online, and there are many affordable gun safes available online as well.

Posted by tango, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Dec 29, 2010 at 11:05 am

So now I'm being pulled over by an unmarked police car and I have to fumble for my phone and then decide weather to look for the key to my locked box where I have to keep my gun. In all this time I am in traffic and trying to decide if I should pull over , go to the Police Station or take my chances that this is a lagitiment police officer. What's a women supposed to do, set herself up for some kind of mayhem ? I try not to break the law , but there are so many now that you could break one and not realize it until you are pulled over by a Police person in a marked Police car or motorcycle and they explain what you have done wrong. I will pull over for a marked car or motorcycle , but not to sure I will for unmarked.

Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of Downtown
on Dec 29, 2010 at 11:27 am

On tv.. [and doesn't everything we know come from tv??], an unmarked unit follows the suspect vehicle and calls [by his radio] for a marked unit to effect the stop! He can then conduct his drug/weapon/probation search with a uniformed officer there. Since he's a sworn officer, he can testify to any other violation he may have witnessed.. but, use a marked unit to make the stop. Using an unmarked unit is just asking for trouble!!

Posted by This is scary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 11:27 am

I agree Concerned Citizen and others. I don't object to an unmarked cars to watch for bad guys, but if an unmarked car spots a routine traffic violation I think he (or she) should radio for a marked car to make the stop. Any car can flash their headlights at you, or buy and use a red or blue spotlight. In a traffic situation that does not verify they are legit. And it has been shown that just the presence of marked police helps a lot to reduce crime.

Posted by The real story?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 11:31 am

What does the Police Chief have to say about this?
Has anyone asked the guy who owns one?

Posted by AL, a resident of Parkside
on Dec 29, 2010 at 12:03 pm

The person who wrote 'just dont be breaking the law' is not the point, things happen. We have 'all' made a traffic violation at one time, no one is perfect, things happen. The person who wrote he has been driving for 40 years without an accident or ticket, congratulations but there is always a first time. Its also just as dangerous for men as it is for women. So you are driving along and an unmarked car turns on red lights and 'tries' to pull you over. You dont and continue driving because you are calling the police dept. You break the law by grabbing your cell phone and fumble for the number, but still driving, only aggravating the so called 'officer' even more. Or you do pull over, someone gets out of the car in a uniform or civilian clothing, shows a badge. Great... is it a real officer or a fake? Its easy for a nut to get a uniform and badge. Too many bad stories about this! Why the need for an unmarked car? Come on and get serious, I will pull over for a marked car/motorcycle only!

Posted by Duh!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm

for Vineyard Tango -- "What's a women supposed to do, set herself up for some kind of mayhem ? I try not to break the law , but there are so many now that you could break one and not realize it "
Oh, please, you poor little helpless woman. If there are too many laws for you to remember then maybe you need to let a big strong man drive for you. Geez, setting yourself up to be a "helpless little victim" is so last century.
Don't want to stop, then don't. Don't break all of those confusing laws and you won't be pulled over.

Posted by unknown, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm

The white van are narcotic officers. I lived on Rose and saw that white van everyday. They would mostly hang out on Anderson Street.

Posted by Craig, a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Dec 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I think the unmarked vehicles are a GREAT tool to help reduce crime of all types. Traffic, robbery, drug enforcement, home break-ins and home invasion all included.

All cell phone should have the police's 925-931-5100 programmed to report non-emergency and suspicious activity. If you feel a life is in danger use 911. It's your civic duty.

Posted by Maja7, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 29, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I believe the white unmarked van that is a GREAT idea! How else are the PPD supposed to catch 'bad guys' doing 'bad things'. Yes, I know alot of you still think you live in a sleepy little town.....try reading the arrest log sometime. I'm sure if I'm pulled over by the unmarked van I'd be nervous and stressed out, just like I'd be, if I'm pulled over by a black & white police car. That people is called respect for authority (the authority being the law & police officers that enforce the law). Sorry to say, the world, yes even little P-town, can be a dangerous place. I, for one, am glad that the P-town police are being proactive in their duty of protecting us citizens against threats that even we are in denial about.

Posted by Maja7, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 29, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Forgot... the other thread on this van had some great advice from Joe, a retired P-town cop. We all should read it!

Posted by Joe, a resident of Siena
on Dec 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm


I posted some suggestions yesterday in the other Town Square Forum that discussed this same topic. I will copy/paste my suggestions below. I'd just like to add a few more tidbits that might be helpful, based upon what I have read in this forum today.

First of all, unfortunately for PPD, their "unmarked" van has now been "burned" (that's the term we use when a vehicle is no longer useful as being unmarked....meaning everybody knows that it's the police now). So the department is going to have to start using different vehicles (if they have any), or they are going to have to purchase something else. This means that you might be pulled over by something other than a white van. Don't panic---the same rules apply. But now, since the whole town knows about this van, that pretty much makes that vehicle useless for the purpose it was intended.

I would also like to mention that to many of you, I understand that you are a bit surprised and shocked to hear that a police department in a "sleepy" little community such as Pleasanton, would have an unmarked police vehicle. The truth is that most departments, large and small, have unmarked police vehicles. This is nothing that just started or is new. This has been going on---literally---before I was born. It is NOT a new phenomenon. Using an undercover vehicle with officers wearing plain clothes is an extremely effective way to combat crime that is happening in certain areas. As an example: Daytime residential burglaries. Most of your who are reading this right now have never seen a residential burglar (to your knowledge!!). But they are not the shady, long-coat wearing, sunglass wearing, sneaky, creepy strangers who are lurking behind trees. That's in the movies and in cartoons. The reason that burglars are able to steal from your home while you're away at work is because they look just like you and me. They don't "sneak" around----the steal in broad daylight, and what they're doing looks like just another furniture delivery or a donation truck picking up goods. (There are more methods, but I would rather not get specific). When a department has a trend of a certain crime happening in a certain location, oftentimes they will assign officers in plainclothes and in an unmarked vehicle to "cruise" an area to look for things that are out of place. You would be surprised how much a beat officer knows about his/her beat, and how they are able to instantly recognize when something doesn't look right. When you work the same beat every day, you get to know the people, the routines, the times that kids are picked up, etc, etc, etc.....So by using this technique of going undercover, it's a great tool for law enforcement to use in order to catch the bad guys. (By the way, someone mentioned "revenue" and that by writing more tickets from an undercover vehicle, the City will make more money.......I am definitely NOT an expert on where the money goes when you pay your ticket, but I'm fairly certain that most of it does not go to the City. I'm sure someone out there knows where it goes, but that has been my understanding. I welcome any corrections, as this is a topic that I'm just not very familiar with).

I would also like to make a point that I feel is very important, and I apologize for going against the recommendation of Sgt. Michael Tryphonas, who said that citizens can call the non-emergency number of Pleasanton Police to verify if the unmarked vehicle pulling them over is truly the police or not. Prior to my law enforcement career, I was also a 911 dispatcher and supervisor, so I know how it works on both ends. The problem with the Sgt's recommendation is this: If you were to call the department's business phone number on a weekday during business hours, the odds are very high that the person answering the phone has no clue what's happening on the street and whether or not an unmarked vehicle is on the road. It's probably the receptionist who is answering the phone---NOT the 911 dispatcher (who knows exactly what is going on at that very moment in time). I had the unfortunate experience of calling PPD's business number to report a traffic accident (with injuries), and it wasn't until about 5 minutes (which is a VERY long time) into the phone call where I finally had to ask, "Are you a dispatcher??". She told me no, she was the operator (or some other term that I can't recall at the moment). That person was not trained (or was poorly trained) in how to take an emergency phone call. But with dispatchers, you are in DIRECT contact with the person who is talking on the radio to the officer in the unmarked vehicle. The person who answers the business phone during business hours, in general, has no clue what's going on at that exact moment in time. They might be able to look at a computer screen to see what activity is taking place, but you are certainly not getting to the heart of the matter quickly----as you should be in this circumstance. Think about it this way----the undercover officer has already turned on his red/blue lights and he/she has already talked on the radio to advise dispatch that he/she is pulling you over. Shortly after that, you are picking up your cell phone, turning on your 4-way flashers, finding a place to drive to, and then talking to a non-dispatcher----all the while you are getting put on hold, transferred around, put on hold again, while the clerk/phone operator tries to figure out what's going on. Nothing against phone operators----I'm just trying to explain the reality of what happens when you call certain phone numbers. So while all of this being put on hold, being transferred, and checking is going on, you STILL have an officer behind you with their lights turned on and that officer is saying on the radio, "I have a vehicle that is failing to yield", and the call begins to escalate. That is why I believe that the proper advice is to simply call 911 and get yourself directly into where you should be---with the dispatcher. Immediately, you can be told that you are being pulled over by a Pleasanton police officer. Boom---done. But in calling the business line, you could very well be put on hold before you even have a chance to explain what's going on ("Pleasanton Police, can you hold?"). So with all due respect to the Sergeant, I believe that the advice should be to call 911 for the reasons mentioned above.

Below is a copy/paste from what I wrote yesterday in the other forum on this same topic:
I am retired law enforcement. The proper thing to do if an unmarked, regular looking vehicle pulls you over: acknowledge that you see them and that you DO want to pull over and that you are NOT running from them by turning on your 4-way flashers and continuing to drive by obeying all traffic laws (stop at red lights, stop at stop signs, etc). Make sure your doors are locked and your windows are rolled up, and drive to a very public place (such as the Safeway parking lot, or the police department parking lot, or the front of any fire station). While driving, call 911 and tell them that a white van is trying to pull you over and the guy driving it is not in uniform. If CHP answers the 911 call (unfortunately, they sometimes will still get local 911 calls), you need to ask to be transferred to Pleasanton Police. (CHP does not have a record as to whether or not a Pleasanton unit is trying to pull you over---they have no idea whatsoever, which is why you need to be transferred).

When you do end up in the public location that you picked to stop in, just roll the driver's window down a little bit so that you can talk to the person through it. Keep your hands in plain sight at all times!!!!!!! Do not make any furtive movements that could change this small incident into something bigger--just stay calm. When the officer approaches your door, you tell the officer that you're not getting out of the car or unlocking the door or doing ANYTHING until that officer shows you PHOTO ID that he/she is a real police officer. Any officer in an unmarked vehicle wearing civilian clothing will have their photo ID with them. If the officer says, "I forgot it" or says some other thing that is suspicious and will not produce a photo ID, then tell the officer that you will sit there and wait for a black and white marked police car to show up. Keep in mind that by now, it is also possible that the dispatcher that you are talking to on the phone has already told you, "Yes, that is one of our officers in the white van and yes, they are trying to pull you over right now". Obviously, that ends all suspicion right there and you must pull over and do what the officer tells you. There is no need to ask for ID, because 911 is already telling you that the person is an officer and is trying to pull over YOUR car. From that point forward, you know that you are being pulled over by a police officer.

I have had cases in the past where I was in my full uniform, driving a fully marked police car, and I was working midnight shift. I would stop at someone's house if their garage door was open. I would knock on their door to: a) let them know that they left their door open, and b) ask them to look to see if anything has been stolen. I have been standing on the front porch under a porch light where the homeowner can see me, and they were still suspicious if I was actually the police or not. The solution in those situations were simple---I would tell them to call 911 and ask if there is an officer out at their front door. Once they made the call and verified that I was indeed who I said I am, then everything was fine.

And one more thing to note.....Unfortunately, there are "wanna-be" police officers out there who actually do go to the effort to buy police lights (the type that you mount in the front window), and they go out and pull people over. In my department, we had a guy who was once an Explorer as a teenager, and when he became an adult, he purchased a used police car (Ford Crown Victoria), bought the "POLICE" markings for it, and made up the name of a phony police department (it was a railroad police department). He was actually very clever in how he did it. So clever that it took two years before he was caught. But back to my main point.....if you're not sure if the person pulling you over is truly a police officer, do not panic. Again, turn on your 4-way flashers, obey the laws, start driving towards a very public place, and call 911 to verify if the person behind you is the police or not. And if you get to the point of the officer contacting you before you have an answer from 911, then just roll down your window a crack and ask them to show you their photo ID.

Any questions, feel free to ask.

Posted by Really???, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm

What wasn't mentioned in the previous threads is that undercover cars can not be used for routine traffic enforcement. There are laws that say what markings are required for traffic enforcement vehicles.
In the orginal thread the writer said that they were driving without headlights and they were pulled over because the officers were concerned they may be drunk. It never said they were given a ticket. The thread just mentions that they were stopped for a public safety check, not traffic enforcement.
If you are so concerned for your safety if you get pulled over by an undercover car, call the police department. Preprogram it in your phone (which is highly recommended for any situation). I am sure that whoever answers the phone can tell you if the person pulling you over is a police officer or not.
And use common sense!! As the Sgt. said, the undercover cars are used to catch buglars and drug deals, they will not be making random traffic stops and blow their "cover".

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I don't have a problem with this, and actually support it.

By the way, unlike what some people are afraid of, unmarked police vehicles in California cannot and are not used strictly for traffic enforcement. The legislature is so against it (compared to other states) they have even wrote it into the vehicle code. With that said, if an officer in an unmarked vehicle sees or suspects an egregious violation (DUI, reckless driving, etc.), then the officer has a duty to take action. Additionally, case law and the vehicle code supports the officer in taking action.

The unmarked vehicle in this case seems to be used for narcotic violation (I have seen it as well).

Posted by Sue, a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I will never stop for unmarked police car. I will drive to the Police station and they can follow me there. Now that the word is out, I wonder how many weirdos will impersonate a policeman. I think it is an excellent idea to have police officer in unmarked cars, but not to pull over just your every day driver, but to proctect the streets from muggers, burgulars, etc

Posted by Joe, a resident of Siena
on Dec 29, 2010 at 9:01 pm

In case anyone is interested, you can go to YouTube and use a search criteria such as, "Light bar" (or "police lights", etc) and view the results. When you click on a video, there will then be suggestions for similar videos on the right-side of the screen. You will see that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of videos of people who put red/blue lights, strobe lights, hidden lights, etc, onto their personal cars. Many of these are volunteer firefighters or EMT's who work in rural areas of the country where this is both legal AND necessary. However, you will also see that there are people who do this to their personal car just for the heck of it. It's not difficult to set up your own car to look like an undercover police car, and you will see this after viewing the videos. That is why I feel it is in the best interest of safety for both the police officer(s) and the citizen(s) to follow some guidelines if the citizen is unsure if they are being pulled over by a real officer or not. Chances are strong that you are indeed being pulled over by a legitimate police officer, but there are always going to be those odd ducks who do things that just aren't right. I feel it is reasonable to not pull over and to go through the steps I outlined above (remembering to always obey the rules of the road, keep your hands in plain sight, do not make any suspicious movements, and to make it clear that you understand that you are being ordered to pull over---but you need to confirm who they are first). In our town here in Pleasanton, it doesn't happen often enough to become a big concern. But it is something that is great to be aware of so that you are prepared should it ever happen to you.

I also wanted to note that I am not retired from Pleasanton PD, but I am retired from a Bay Area police department. I do not represent the views of PPD in any way...I'm just trying to help.

Posted by Donald, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 29, 2010 at 11:32 pm

No where in this article did I see that PPD is doing traffic enforcement with unmarked vehicles. How did this forum turn into that? They never said that! I wouldnt expect a white van to pull me over for bald tires or a cracked windshield if I was an everyday Joe. But if those undercover cops saw something suspicious in an area that has had numerous burglaries, I would hope the officers would use that unmarked car to pull that car over.

And to Concerned Citizen, must be nice to live in your own little world. "Id be terrified". Give me a break. I am terrified there are poor damsels in distress like you living in this town. Grow up.

Posted by Susan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Have you ever heard of rape? Unfortunately, all ages, from babies to the elderly, are raped, so 'growing up' doesn't help.

Posted by Not So sure, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2010 at 8:04 am

Using unmarked cars for suurveillance (narcotics, burglary) makes sense.

Using unmarked cars to pull someone over is unacceptable. I wouldn't pull over for any unmarked car. If I were in Pleasanton, I would go to the police department but if I were in Dublin, Danville etc., I wouldn't know where the PD was! So I guess the answer is to call 911.

I haven't been pulled aver in 26 years but this still makes me very uncomfortable and I am not in favor of it.

Posted by tango, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Dec 30, 2010 at 8:50 am

To Duh! I have never considered myself a helpless female. I am 71 years old and not as quick as I used to be. I was really bringing up a hypothetical situation. You try to make heads or tales of some of the laws . It is not easy. I think I will go back to what I used to do, driving Draft horses. I knew all the laws then and never got pulled over.

Posted by artlover, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 30, 2010 at 10:01 am

I am confused on how I should be dialing a cell phone while driving it sounds like, driving with my flashers on, AND trying to get through to the RIGHT 911 person (CHP vs local police force) AND also not making any furtive movements. REALLY? Can you imagine me going for my cell phone and not acting suspicious?

Holy crap, I'm nervous just thinking about this! Keep the unmarked on burglary control and NOT on traffic stops unless they really really need to- i.e. drunk driving etc.

Posted by Ptown resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2010 at 10:17 am

It sounds like they are only using these cars to make traffic stops when needed, not for simple violations. In my book, that is okay. I dont know but I think I would be able to distinguish a real unmarked car verses an imposter. I would expect an imposter to just have a simple light or something on the dashboard. If I saw a car behind me with alternating headlights that flash, strobe lights hidden in the headlights, blue and red lights (with a steady red burning light as required by law in CA), AND a siren, I would be pretty much convinced it was an officer. Especially if they are pulling me over in an area where a lot of other people can see.

And for the people worried about calling 911 while being pulled over, per 23123(a) CVC, you can use your phone without a handsfree device while driving if you are calling 911.

Good work PPD, please keep our city safe and do it with whatever means necessary. I trust the officers will use good judgement with their undercover car doing traffic stops.

Posted by AL, a resident of Parkside
on Dec 30, 2010 at 11:10 am

I apologize with my earlier comment about not using unmarked cars at all! I am all for using unmarked cars for everything except a routine traffic stop. Like someone mentioned before, I wouldnt expect to be pulled over by an unmarked car for bald tires, cracked windshield, 5 miles over the speed limit, stopping in the middle of a crosswalk because you didnt want to run a yellow light, etc... If an officer in an unmarked car sees a suspicious situation in traffic or a blatant disregard for the law, running a red light, causing an accident, etc. then by all means, that is a serious situation that requires immediate action!

Posted by Gary Schwaegerle, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Gary Schwaegerle is a registered user.

couple weeks ago my son & I saw one of these pull overs go down. Had the right squawk siren, flashed & lite up like a Christmas tree. Surprising at some of responses; Why Expose the vehicles we have a great Community by Working Together - Don't Ask Don't Tell, I ain't sayin what it was, but BTW My Son would love a Ride like that to get around. Cheers Gary Schwaegerle

Posted by Gary Schwaegerle, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Gary Schwaegerle is a registered user.

By the way the pull over we witnessed happened so fast; Review Drivers Documents, call um in: probably check for Warrants; gave the papers back - didn't even Notice any Citation written up ? Maybe just a Warning? and they were gone.

Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Dec 30, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Oh, why does everybody have to make everything so complicated?

If you want to know if that unmarked vehicle is REALLY an official police vehicle, do NOT pull over.

Stomp on the gas pedal as HARD as you, run a few red lights, etc.

You'll draw some uniformed officers in black-and-whites fast that way.

(Only joking of course--but really, using unmarked police vehicles for anything other than surveillance is just plain dumb. And does anybody know why that pizza delivery truck has been parked outside my house for the past 10 days? How long does it take to deliver a pizza?)

Posted by Hmmmm, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 30, 2010 at 6:21 pm

That was well said, mellow fellow.

I also read the article about the UC Regents Demanding increased pension benefits. Their argument is that they are entitled and the increased benefits are required to attract top talent. Maybe what they are really saying, considering they aren't yet receiving the increased benefit, is that they aren't top talent. That would at least explain their backwards idea of what it means to be a leader during tough economic times, while staring at an under funded pension liability of 36 billion, while increasing tuition x percent, and asking every other employee to embrace shared sacrifice.

Greed seems to be the theme of everyone that thinks they are entitled or thinks they can get away with fleecing the taxpayer, and they use our safety or our children's future as the carrot to direct our decisions.

Posted by un-marked, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2010 at 12:06 am

I'm all for it (unmarked cars stopping anyone who is suspicious or committed any crime or infraction). For those of you damsels worried about it being a fake cop you can always call 911. There's a lot less conspicuous ways to separate you from your money/life/etc. than driving around in a fake police car with lights and sirens. Yes, I know it *could* and *has* happened - you could win the lottery too.

If an unmarked car tries to pull me over in Pleasanton, and I also know I just did something that might cause a real cop to pull me over then I probably don't need much more convincing than that to stop. If I'm not sure or things seem shady then I'll head somewhere public and/or call 911. Simple. Seems like a lot of previous posters have issues with authority, or maybe just 'issues'.

Also, great advice Joe! And PPD keep up your great work. The excellent police force reputation was a key deciding factor in my choosing to live here.

Posted by Ben, a resident of Danville
on Dec 31, 2010 at 11:11 am

Could not agree more with the last poster. These people who dont want to pull over and have their "blood boiling" have issues. These officers come to work and risk their lives everyday for us. The least we can do is realize they are only doing their job. If everyone on here wants to become a cop and pass whatever training required, then they can talk all they want and voice their opinion. Until that day, everyone on here should hush up and let them do their jobs.

Posted by mark, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 31, 2010 at 7:15 pm

There are plenty of "Marked" police cars to make traffic stops, maybe that "unmarked" car is doing a different type of enforcement. Maybe they are chasing drug dealers and dangerous felons. Instead of letting your "Blood Boil" about what you want to perceive as reality, go to the police department and ask someone. They are very helpful and honest people doing a dangerous job, give them a break. Take some time to learn what is happening in YOUR community rather than fear monger on these boards.

Posted by H, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Has cellphone become a driving requirement? How can the Sgt. Tryphonas expect drivers to be always equipped and calm enough to validate the badge, after being stopped by stranger in an unmarked car?

And how can a low "odds" be the determining factor in executing a risky policy? If I get a speeding ticket, should I tell the judge that the odds of me being guilty is low because I don't have a history of moving violation?

This is setting up Pleasanton for an expensive lawsuit when someone does get hurt by an impersonator.

Posted by I, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm

You're right H, you don't need a cellphone to drive. I agree that the safest policy for you is to never pull over for anyone, marked or not, even if you know you're speeding, running a light ,etc. It's just not worth it!!! Heck, it's just to scary/risky out there with all of the fake cop cars in this town. If you get nervous and DO accidentally pull over for a fake cop, you're right - just call up your lawyer and get busy on that lawsuit - that will teach those cops to try and fight crime using such a dirty tactic. Maybe you can get them to paint all of their cars neon pink and continuously drive around with the sirens on so we all know where they are at all times, including the 'bad guys'.

I've managed to come up with this awesome scheme to not get pulled over by real or even fake guys.. it's called not breaking the traffic laws. I'll explain it to you... what you do is make sure you have a pretty good idea of how the laws work, you know, like you're supposed to before you even get your drivers license. And then here's the tricky part - you actually try to not break any of the laws. You'd be surprised how well this scheme works - it's like the cops don't even see me as they are distracted with the other guys who are breaking laws.

Now, if you'd prefer to live somewhere that the cops don't care too much about routine traffic stops (because they're busy doing body counts) you could move to Oakland and probably get away with your speeding and light running a little more often.

Hope that helps!

Posted by Dear "I", a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I, too, have come up with a semi-fool-proof/"awesome" method of never getting pulled over, and it's also called "obeying the law". In more than 36 years of driving (permit and licensed), I've never had a ticket, and my kids are tired of hearing me mention that achievement. That said, I would also be *very* leery of pulling over for an unmarked vehicle, on the assumption that is someone masquerading for a legitimate police vehicle. I personally would pull to the side of the road and not roll down my window, and take my chances at being convicted of resisting arrest... AND let my good driving record stand on its own before a judge if it ever came to that.

Posted by Rose Ortega, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm

It's all been said - do you only do the right thing when you think a police officer can see you?? Concerns about the unmarked car are legitimate, and the tips offered sound advice. I very much like the police presence we enjoy in our neighborhood, but with the recent robberies at Denny's and the bank on Hopyard, perhaps some of those officers and the unmarked vehicles need to maintain a presence in our vulnerable areas that provide easy freeway access. I think this has a lot to do with why those places were targeted.

Posted by Amazed and Confused, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm

The "terrified" woman with the "boiling blood" makes me cringe. To think that someone is so unbalanced as to make huge assumptions and then draw narrow conclusions based on those assumptions is shocking. She then goes on to admit she's too uncoordinated to drive and dial a phone without hitting a pole or another car, and is already looking for someone else to blame. I hope she never has a real emergency while driving, because she sounds like a serious threat to everyone on the road. Terrified woman, please take your medications and go back to bed for the day. The rest of us with at least a shred of common sense will continue to deal with the police vans and all of the other "terrifying" issues for you.

Posted by Al, retired cop, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Pleasanton Police, thank you for being smart enough to realize that driving unmarked cars is a valuable part of enforcement. As a reasonable citizen (and former cop), I know that you are not using unmarked cars primarily to make traffic stops and write tickets, because the vehicle code prohibits such activity. Therefore, the bloggers who claim unmarked cars are a ploy to "increase revenue" are shamefully ignorant. Please do not let the comments of a few morons handcuff your efforts to keep this community safe. These people, who probably base their opinions on their "television experience" have no idea what the real world is like. They simply take for granted the fact that they live in a protected environment like Pleasanton. Keep up the good work!

Posted by Jim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 23, 2011 at 10:28 pm

To the posters who haven't been pulled over in decades...I get rountinely pulled over...questioned...sometimes rudely. But I drive the speed limit and have a clean record. I don't get it.I am well groomed. My vehicles are well maintained and have no tatoos. Go figure.
I smell desperation to collect fees and fines. California is bankrupt and someone is going to be made to pay the officers pensions.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm

This is amateurish police tactics. And, reinforces the idea that Pleasanton police need to get a life. They should move to New York, San Francisco or Seattle where real cops work and get a life. At least quit acting like morons.

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