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About this blog: A longtime newspaperman, I have been editor of the Pleasanton Weekly since it was launched Jan. 28, 2000. I was a reporter and Neighborhood News editor at the Chicago Tribune for 13 years, and previously a reporter for the Advance...  (More)

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Police chief talks about crime, other Pleasanton issues

Uploaded: Oct 27, 2017
Police Chief Dave Spiller has been making the rounds lately to talk up Pleasanton, and with good reason. Still understaffed at a time when police work and pay is falling out of favor among college graduates nationally, he's embarked on a recruiting campaign, taking this squad car (pictured) to several California law enforcement meetings to let officers in other jurisdiction know Pleasanton is hiring.

It's likely that police chiefs and sheriff's from other locations aren't so enthused about the promotion.

Pleasanton has just recruited several new police officers, But that's not enough. The number of crimes here rose in 2015 (1,739) and 2016 (1,708) over earlier years (1,309 in 2014) and the growing number of cyber-crimes is taxing the police department’s technological capabilities.

Crime totals for last year (data for 2017 will be released early next year) show that Pleasanton, with a population of 77,682, had almost twice as many of reported crimes as San Ramon, which then had a population of 75,332 and 864 reported crimes. Livermore, with a population of 86,870, reported 2,472 crimes, the highest in the Tri-Valley, with Dublin at a population of 54,695 reporting 1,187 crimes.

Listed in the crimes category with 2016 numbers for Pleasanton are homicide, 0; rape. 12; aggravated assault, 44; robbery, 45; burglary, 208; larceny/theft, 1,261; motor vehicle theft, 136, and arson, 2. Of these, property crimes totaled 1,607 in 2016, down 45 from a year earlier.

Also increasing in Pleasanton – at least in the eyes of the public – are the numbers of self-proclaimed homeless individuals. Spiller said most are seen seeking handouts from motorists at intersections such as Hopyard Road and Owens Drive.

“Ten cars will go through that intersection and five motorists will hand these individuals at $20 bill,” Spiller said. “The other five will call police to complain.”

“For the most part, these are people who take BART to Pleasanton, spend time sitting in the median, which is perfectly legal, and go home at night after collecting hundreds of dollars,” he added.

To put a stop to this, the police department is using social media and other media to urge motorists to give those $20 bills to charities, where contributions are needed.

As part of their ongoing training, police officers are taking special courses on how to respond to threats from individuals who may have mental issues. Spiller, working with other police chiefs in Alameda County, is leading a multiple jurisdiction mental health network for police officers “to achieve a meaningful change in how we respond” in those cases.

It’s a 40-hour block of very specific training about observation and behavior. The idea is to have officers learn to” give a little ground” to stabilize a situation involving someone who may be mentally-challenged, even if the stand-off takes a few hours.

“Residents may get mad to see their street closed, but there’s no reason why we have to rush in to these situations and force a confrontation,” Spiller said,” Spiller said at a Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce briefing.

Speaking later at a meeting of the Valley Real Estate Network, Spiller was interviewed by Adina Erridge, the group's vice president (pictured). He told Realtors they can help in his effort to reduce property crimes.

They should secure the locks on homes they are selling and talk to the neighbors if that home is going to be empty.

“We’re living in an era with different lifestyles today,” Spiller said. “Sometimes homeowners don’t even know their neighbor next door, so Realtors can help to keep a neighborhood informed and alert.”

Asked about allowing party-goers to carry alcoholic beverages in open containers in downtown Pleasanton during special events, such as during the upcoming Brew Crawl on Main Street, Spiller stood firm on continuing the ban.

“The Pleasanton Downtown Association keeps encouraging me to be a little more loose for these events,” Spiller said. “But I don’t want people roaming through our downtown carrying alcoholic drinks.”

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jeb Bing, a PleasantonWeekly.com blogger,
on Oct 27, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Jeb Bing is a registered user.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Oct 27, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I am a strong supporter of the Pleasanton police officers Association. How can a citizen receive advanced notice when Chief Spiller will be speaking somewhere in Pleasanton?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on Oct 27, 2017 at 7:59 pm

"Also increasing in Pleasanton " at least in the eyes of the public " are the numbers of self-proclaimed homeless individuals. Spiller said most are seen seeking handouts from motorists at intersections such as Hopyard Road and Owens Drive. “Ten cars will go through that intersection and five motorists will hand these individuals at $20 bill," Spiller said. “The other five will call police to complain." “For the most part, these are people who take BART to Pleasanton, spend time sitting in the median, which is perfectly legal, and go home at night after collecting hundreds of dollars," he added."

I'm glad that I read this information. I had been assuming that the people begging by sitting in the median strip were transients who were just passing through on the way to some distant location, and it never occurred to me that they were Bay Area locals who were begging as just their "job". I've never given to them, but I have been tempted. Knowing that they're not transients trying to get back to a faraway home but just locals trying to bum some money as a living has turned me firmly against the idea of giving them money.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Troupe, a resident of Danville,
on Oct 28, 2017 at 1:55 am

The homeless make hundreds of dollars a day of tax free money? Why get a college degree then? That could be $1400 a week.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 28, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Panhandlers have roaming about for years and years. I never give them money.

When adults have children in their arms and a dog, the dog never has water or food. I'm willing to give food and water to the dog but no money to the owner.

If I see a child with begging adults, I call the police.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Mike, a resident of another community,
on Oct 29, 2017 at 1:22 am

This is a phase the police departments are going through. the same thing happened in the late 90's early 00s, departments could not get enough recruits, so they offered sign on bonuses. Back then it was the dot com explosion, now it is housing is too expensive in the Bay Area.

Maybe recruit at the colleges and offer a bonus after completion of all necessary training. Also, eliminate the entry written exam for a college grad. I think a college grad has proven he/she as the minimum in common sense.

Currently most departments make a lateral go through the same hiring process as a new cop, written, agility, medical, poly, Psych. Keep the medical and Psych, but eliminate the other three for laterals. Ask the current department if they would hire this officer again, conduct a criminal history, finance check, neighborhood check and a few references. And most importantly, does this recruit or lateral have people and social skills.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Nov 5, 2017 at 8:04 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

If we, as a community, love our generally quiet charming little town, then there are steps that need to be taken to address the growing homeless issues, illegal alien gatherings from Home Depot to Lazy Boy, and the panhandling at a number of exits and intersections around the city, or it will continue to increase. Pleasanton PD needs to adopt a more proactive approach to this problem by implementing the issuance of citations, much like Rudy Giuliani did in NYC during the 1980's. This is not a Sanctuary City issue, it is quality of life issues confronting all of us. An aggressive Police Department is a good thing when administrated in a legal manner. Think about it.




vulnerable


 +  Like this comment
Posted by amandor, a resident of Amador Estates,
on Nov 7, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Pokedex by sniping all those rare and regional Web Link could also pick your preferred Pokémon from the list.


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