Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 21, 2017

Chief Paul Rolleri: Collision course correction

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

It’s been four years since Lauren asked me to write a guest blog while she enjoys some vacation . At that time, I was a brand new interim police chief, and decided to write about traffic issues. I thought about changing the topic, but I wasn’t able to avoid it. Four years later, despite all of the national conversations about policing, traffic still remains at the top of the list of concerns in Alameda. At least with the people who take the time to write to me. It is rare for a week to go by without receiving several email complaints about a lack of enforcement or an increase in collisions. Oh, and I should acknowledge that some people write or call to complain that we do too much enforcement.

So, what has happened since my last blog? Overall, our collision totals have been dropping. There has been a 22.5% decrease in the total number of collisions from 2005 compared to 2016. The drop has been less incremental in the past few years, but it’s still encouraging and moving in the right direction. There are several reasons for that, and APD cannot take all the credit. The Alameda Peeps group began their “Slow Down in Town” campaign, which I believe has been very successful in bringing extra awareness to the motoring public. Several Peeps volunteered to be trained to operate a traffic radar gun and report speeding vehicles to APD, which generated hundreds of written warning letters. Our Traffic Unit, while short staffed, has done an admirable job of conducting numerous directed enforcement efforts that concentrate on speeders and pedestrian right of way violations.

In my 2013 post, I opted to skip the stats. This time, I’m offering some for everyone to chew on:

2005: 1,055 collisions (184 with injury/5 with fatalities)

2010: 861 collisions (177 with injury/0 with fatalities)

2015: 841 collisions (176 with injury/4 with fatalities)

2016: 818 collisions (231 with injury/2 with fatalities)

2017 (through May): 371 collisions (125 with injury/1 with fatalities)

There is still a lot of room for improvement, and we will continue to try and use “The three E’s” (engineering, enforcement, and education) to make the city a safer place to drive, bicycle, and walk. The recent fatal collision on Park Street that took three young lives was a grim reminder of the work that still must be done. When we are able to publicly share the details and cause of that collision, it will be evident that some tragedies happen despite the three E’s. But that is no reason to stop trying.

On a side note, I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to increase the staffing in the traffic unit, but I continue to be optimistic that I’ll get it done later this year. To be clear, the City Council has fully funded APD for its 88 authorized sworn police officer positions for each of the last four years. The staffing crunch exists because nearly every law enforcement agency is facing recruiting and retention challenges. APD has been no exception to those challenges. However, we have worked very hard with our Human Resources Department and have made good progress. Three recruits graduated from the police academy on June 29th, and three more will start the next academy in July. We have other people in the hiring pipeline as well.

I appreciate the widespread support we have been receiving from the community (although I fully expect to dodge some tomatoes in the comments section). We will continue to do everything we can to keep the island safe, stay on top of our training, and provide the best public safety service possible.



  1. Thank you Paul for everything you and your officers do. I’m encouraged by the steady decrease reflected in the data and numbers for 2017 so far. I do believe that every bit helps and am appreciative of you calling out the SDIT campaign and the work that has been done by the community in partnership with the city and APD.

    Comment by Heather Little — July 21, 2017 @ 6:42 am

  2. We certainly appreciate the work of the APD. As a person who lives close to a school, I’d like to forward a suggestion. Could the APD encourage each school to have a traffic management group which would assist in keeping the drop off and pick up moving during the half hour window each morning and afternoon?

    The Dad’s club at St. Barnabas used to do this when St. Barnabas had a school, and it really helped. APD might use some of its civilian volunteers to train these folks. It would be more efficient than sending police officers on a rotating basis to monitor school sites. Better to use the staff to slow people down all over the Island, since that seems to work.

    BTW, a note of appreciation to your fine staff. I was a victim of a hit and run in Oakland recently. The driver then hit and ran from a second car a block away from where she hit me. My car was disabled, but I was not hurt. I called 911 and the OPD sent my call to the Highway Patrol. Since no one was hurt, the HP told me to call a report number. It goes to voice mail and says it will call you back if you leave your number. I have called six times and no call back. I know this miserable service would never occur in Alameda, leaving an older woman in a rather unsafe area to fend for herself. Thanks to AAA all turned out o.k. The whole experience made me really appreciate the APD.

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 21, 2017 @ 7:05 am

  3. I’d love to think about ways we could pull in the ride-sharing drivers for training/warning about speed limits on the island. Could Uber and Lyft drivers all receive a SDIT flyer, or a friendly reminder from APD?

    Would love to see population numbers arrayed next to those impressive collision numbers.

    Comment by Gaylon — July 21, 2017 @ 7:08 am

  4. Did APD /City of Alameda recently affirm it would follow Section 1373 of the Federal Code requiring compliance with immigration law so as not to jeopardize federal funds slated for law enforcement? If not, what federal funds otherwise slated for Alameda might be in jeopardy by the failure to affirm according to your (APD/City Manager/City Council) internal reports?

    In the past APD has been accused of racism amongst its officers. Do you have reports showing the race of motorists stopped over the course of the last few years by APD? What are the percentages for each race?

    Comment by Nowyouknow — July 21, 2017 @ 7:32 am

    • It’s a known fact that women speed much less than men, so a more interesting report would be the gender of those stopped for speeding.

      Comment by jack — July 21, 2017 @ 5:55 pm

  5. Chief Rolleri, in these trying times while officers are sometimes lacking respect, I must applaud you
    for always looking out for our citizens. Thank you for doing a great job!

    Comment by Suzanne Lindsey — July 21, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

  6. If there are summaries or reports about collisions and injuries, it would be interesting to see if there are patterns to bicycle collisions and injuries in Alameda.

    Comment by JohnB — July 24, 2017 @ 3:28 pm

  7. Has there been a review of the license plate reader data ? What is the retention period again?

    Comment by MI — July 26, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

  8. Double parking on Park Street used to mostly occur in front of marshal arts studio for kid drop off, but it has become an every day event. Uber has come to Alameda and makes it worse.

    Comment by MI — July 26, 2017 @ 3:46 pm

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