By: Nicole Acker
For the fourth year in a row, the Menlo Park Police Department
releases its annual crime statistics and citizen complaint data. In 2016, the police department responded to over 21,000 calls for service, conducted over 8,175 traffic stops, wrote more than 3,900 reports and arrested nearly 1,300 individuals. The resulting 2016 crime statistics showed a 7 percent decrease in violent crimes from 2015, which consists of homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The violent crime rate has continued to decrease over the four year period. Property crimes rose slightly (1 percent) in comparison to 2015, which involves burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson.
In 2013, the Police Chief committed to transparency by annually reporting the outcome of complaints filed against our personnel. In addition, crime statistics are made available on our website
. In 2015, the Menlo Park Police Department was the first San Mateo County police agency to join the White House Data Initiative
and release data sets that include calls for service, traffic stops and personnel demographic information including sex, race and education level.
In 2016, the Menlo Park Police Department received 26 citizen complaints out of 38,032 officer contacts. In 2015, 24 citizen complaints were received out of 39,771 officer contacts. When reviewing personnel complaints, it is important to look at the number and types of service calls officers respond to within the evaluated period. It is inevitable that with 38,032 public contacts, there will be situations where a member of the public is not satisfied with the service received and has justification to file a complaint. Five were sustained, one was not sustained, six were exonerated, four are still currently under investigation, four concluded with no finding, one was classified as frivolous, two were unfounded and three were withdrawn by the complainant.
The use of body cameras has allowed supervisors to review incidents mentioned by complainants immediately. This review allows for an examination of a situation as it happened based upon the facts, as opposed to recollection. The police department is constantly striving to decrease the number of complaints by being transparent and professional in all contacts and service to the public.