Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 3, 2013

Arrested development, 2013 edition

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

Nothing really happening at the City Council meeting tonight, there is a closed session item about a lawsuit, the City is suing a tenant (former tenant?) out at Alameda Point for back rent in the neighborhood of around $360,000.

But, in case you missed it, Chief Paul Rolleri answered some of the outstanding questions in the comments section from his guest blog post a while ago.   It includes answers to burning questions such as why do so many police cars respond when there is a police incident and what is the breakdown of non Alameda vs Alameda residents in arrests made:

Okay everyone, I apologize for not replying to all of the comments sooner. I was in fact taking a vacation week when the comments were made, and have been playing catch up since I returned. In no particular order, here are my responses to some of the queries: Regarding comment #4, here are the numbers: In 2012, we had 2,396 arrests. Of those, 1,594 (63%) listed Alameda as their place of residence. 882 (37%) listed their residence as someplace other than Alameda. In 2013 year to date, we have made 1,554 arrests. Of those 876 (56%) live in Alameda and 678 (44%) live elsewhere. Personally, I’m not interested in breaking it down by city. However, anyone who is interested can make a public records act request to get the information.

Regarding police cars “congregating” or otherwise showing an excessive response, my answer is that it depends on the circumstances of the call. Typically, our officers ride in patrol cars as solo beat units. There are exceptions, the most common of which is when an officer is in training. In that case, there will be 2 officers in a car. On cold cases, the norm is to dispatch only one unit. For in progress calls, a minimum of two units are dispatched. So, if two training units are sent to the same call, you will get four officers. Again, that does not happen often, but we had 7 officers in training this summer, so it was definitely more likely. If there is a foot pursuit, bank robbery, or other serious call, it may be appropriate to send as many as 3-4 units. I have no idea about the call referenced with the handcuffed person seated on the curb. The location is not accurate, but if I can get the actual location and a date, I may be able to explain it.

For traffic collisions, our typical response is as follows: For a minor collision with no injuries, we send one officer. For any injury collision, we send a minimum of two. However, if there is a collision at a major intersection or on a busy street, we may send additional officers to direct traffic around the collision scene. Additionally, there could be multiple statements to take or disabled vehicles to tow. There could also be a scenario where two officers are dispatched, but a supervisor shows up for a few minutes and now you have three.So again, it just depends. We train our officers to get back into service as soon as they are no longer needed on a call. I cannot tell you that it never happens, but for the most part, officers that are at a call were requested to be there because of the circumstances.If anyone is interested, we offer a couple of citizen police academies during the year. It’s a great way to learn exactly what we do and why we do it. I hope some of you can find the time to take advantage of it someday.

Of course the numbers of the Alameda vs non-Alameda residents arrests are arrests and not convictions or anything.

In other crime related news and much more serious, last Friday evening we heard that something awful had happened at Ruby Bridges Elementary School.   The information was vague but the gist was that a child had allegedly been sexually assaulted in the bathrooms.  For obvious reasons I went into full freak out mode.   This revelation meshed with the story that my daughter had retold earlier about a child being “pushed down and hurt” in the bathrooms.  She went on to say that it was so bad that the ambulance had been called and yellow tape had been wrapped around the bathrooms.  She surmised that the child had probably banged her head hard according to the second hand story that she had heard.  Of course I didn’t even imagine that the tale was so much worse.

After reaching out to a few people (thank you for those that helped fill in the blanks and therefore made the story much clearer, a special thanks to Chief Rolleri who took time out to carefully explain everything to an overly excited mother).   The only positive takeaway from this incident is that the Alameda Police Department really is amazing and with the timely arrest of the suspected perpetrator has given parents at least one less thing to worry about.

Of course, as a parent my first instinct was to lock my children up in my house and never let them leave until they hit 18.  I’m not, by nature, a helicopter parent so this reaction pretty much sums up how badly this incident shook me.   Of course it doesn’t help that (1) it happened in my neighborhood, (2) it happened at my neighborhood school, (3) it happened at my children’s neighborhood school, and (4) it happened while one of my kids was still at school (she goes to a great after school program on site.

As I have slowly processing what happened over the weekend — and of course grilling my daughter as to bathroom protocol during her time at day school and her after school program — this has given me a chance to reiterate lessons on personal safety with my children.  We had already reminded them that they are not to leave with anyone from school that is not on our approved list (our family approved list).  And even though I would like to lock them both up in a bubble until they reach 18, I realize that I will be unable to shield them from everything awful that happens in the world and so the best thing I can do for them is to mentally and physically prepare them to not become victims.  And by physically prepare, I mean I fully intend for both of my children to have their black belts in kung fu by the time they are in Middle School (thanks USA Kung Fu Studio, seriously though for parents out there that need that extra piece of mind, I would highly recommend this studio).   Mental preparation is a bit trickier but boils down to telling my kids to trust their gut when a situation feels uncomfortable (when we are not around) and know that there are teachers that they can trust at school to help keep them safe if they ever feel unsafe.

The reality is this incident could have happened anywhere at anytime, and the worst part of it is it probably is happening anywhere right now.   And what happened to that poor family really is a parent’s worst nightmare come true.  Chief Rolleri explained that in situations like this the police do not perform the interview with the child, instead an organization called CALICO coordinates the interview assuring the the child will only need to re-tell the story once to a multi-disciplinary team.  I am hopeful that — at the very least — the incident will spark many discussion in Alameda and beyond about personal safety at school, but it’s important that we don’t allow fear of the unknown to overreact to the situation as well (aka my bubble plan).

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