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Public Comment into MP Police Sergeants Association Successor Agreement

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2019 15:30:12 -0800

Hello Council,

I’m writing a public email as a follow up to my two emails to the Police
Chief and you related to the Police Department and salaries. I still have
the following comments:

1. Staff Reports related to salary increases. Could these kinds of
reports first go through the F&A Committee for review and public input --
before they go to Council. The public’s concerns would likely then have a
chance to be addressed and included before Council saw the report. “Peer
review” via the F&A Committee would also be helpful when considering
broader implications such as MP’s overall pension liabilities. If you added
this step, Council would almost certainly see higher quality reports before
they arrived for your deliberation.

2. 2014 Police Operational Review Report. I noticed references to this
report at the City’s website, but I could not find the actual report. The
only related document that I could find was a short list of follow-on
action items
from the report. I have submitted a public records request for this report.
I mention it here as our new council members (especially) might like to see
this report.

3. Staffing levels. The Dec 2018 Org chart lists a total of 77.5
people in the Police Organization with perhaps one more to fill the spot
listed as Vacant.” However, the Police Staff Directory
<https://www.menlopark.org/Directory.aspx?DID=8>only lists 27 people. This
makes it difficult to match people to titles. The City’s most recent
Certified Annual Financial Report (CAFR) also listed 70 public safety
employees, which is a discrepancy. On a related note, the Police website
also stresses its robust volunteer program
<https://www.menlopark.org/299/Police-volunteers>. I would like to know the
size of the Volunteer organization as their “job duties” make them seem
like part-time staff. Your website also listed a requirement that these
volunteers commit to working at least 15 hours per week. How many
volunteers work for the police? On average, how many total hours do
volunteers contribute to the Police Department? How do you protect the
public’s privacy in your use of volunteers? Do you also have temporary
employees? If so, how many and for how long?

4. Average Size of Police Department. According to a Governing Report
in 2015 Police Departments serving cities with populations exceeding 25,000
employed an average of 16.8 officers and 21.4 total personnel for every
10,000 residents. In response to my original email, the Police Chief
supplied a link to a DOJ report
<https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/nsleed.pdf> regarding average staffing
levels, which returned similar numbers when considering that the DOJ report
seems to have lumped police and professional staff together. Is our Police
Department the right size for our population and general crime levels?

5. Management-level Demographics. The Chief and his two Commanders
all appear to be Caucasians. In response to my earlier emails, the Open
data Portal <https://data.menlopark.org/>has been updated with demographic
information. However, no names are given so one cannot independently verify
the details. Of the nine full-time positions funded as part of the
Sergeants Association successor agreement union, I would like to know the
demographics of each person.

6. Police workload. Recently, the Almanac wrote an article, "Should
Police Protect Facebook Bikes"
prompted much public response. I would like to better understand how the
Police spend their day-to-day time. The most recent MP CAFR
<https://www.menlopark.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/8885> lists
Operating Indicators for the Police Department but only gives the below
broad categories on page 207:

· 39,553 Incidents

· 22,659 Calls for Service

· 16,894 Officer Initiated Incidents

Could these broad categories be broken into smaller sub groupings that
would help us all to better see how the police spend their time? A deeper
level of information would be helpful when considering overall Police
staffing levels. Comparative data for benchmarking purposes would also
help Council and the public to put the MP Police Department’s performance
into context.

7. Police Unions. Is it customary to have two separate police unions
in a small city? If not, can these unions be consolidated to save
bargaining and administrative costs? For the record, this is what I see so

· MP Park Police Officers Association. According to the Jan 29, 2019
staff report this union represents 42 employees “in the sworn
classifications of police officer and police corporal, and the police
academy participant position of police recruit.”

· MP Police Sergeants Association – According to the Feb 26, 2019
staff report, this includes 9 fulltime positions in the 2018-19 budget and
an additional “new unit” of 5 officers that is fully funded by a
development agreement [with Facebook] for five years.”

· The above total equals 56. That exceeds the “sworn” total of 54
listed on the Dec 2018 Police Organizational chart. The data discrepancy
needs resolving. Are the 23.5 professional staff (listed on the Dec 2018
Org chart) are represented as part of another MP union?

8. Police Pay. According to the California Transparency portal,
<https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2017/menlo-park/>in 2017, the
MP Police were the highest paid employees after the City Manager and the
Assistant City Manager. (We also need 2018 data to be submitted.) According
to the recent CAFR Report (pages 78 and 83), the Police pension appears to
be 50% more generous than the one for the other city employees. The City
also contributes more to the CalPERS Safety Plan. While the contributions
may be a CalPERS requirement, it also raises general questions of pension
fairness with the rest of MP's overall staff. The Police Chief article
that this is a common problem now across the U.S. and it will take new
approaches (i.e. not just more money) to solve. This article is just one of
several recently written on the topic.

Before agreeing to higher pay, I hope that Council will use the contract
negotiating process as a way to bargain for good government reforms related
to Police operations such as increased transparency and diversity. No doubt
you will hear from others with additional suggestions.

Lynne Bramlett
Received on Mon Feb 25 2019 - 15:26:55 PST

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