In wake of Horrific Shooting, Emeryville Police address alleged tensions between Officers and Council
The Emeryville Police Officers Association (EPOA) has issued a statement in response to recent online comments that they insist are not reflective of the current relationship with them and our local government. Some of these opinions, mostly expressed anonymously, noted some personal interactions and candid conversations with officers expressing disapproval of the level of support for them by our current council.
“Our police officers have always had a great relationship with and support from our elected city officials,” the association noted in a letter provided by EPOA President Lance Goodfellow. The statement is republished below in its entirety.
Many of the comments implied the city was not doing all it could to support our police and public safety in our city. “City Council’s ‘progressive’ policies of undermining the police department” noted one of the many comments in this recent story. Several others noted a perceived emphasis on ‘compassion’ might be undermining good police work and compromising our public safety.
Resident dissatisfaction with our local government appears to be growing amid a spike in crime and ongoing quality of life issues. The anger has been stoked by some high-profile robberies including the recent randomly targeted shooting of Alex Madias who remains in an East Bay trauma unit following a gunshot wound to the head. Madias’ shooting is believed the first such ‘random’ incident in our city in a decade.
The discussion seems reflective of an ongoing discord between Police Associations and “progressive” politicians that are pushing police oversight initiatives and criminal justice reforms that reduce criminal penalties.
The current anti law enforcement sentiment in our region has reduced the influence of police associations and has made it harder for them to find electable candidates to support. The influential San Francisco Police Union may pass on endorsing a mayoral candidate this election for the first time noting “none of the front-runner candidates matches its priorities” in this recent SF Chronicle article.
The Berkeley Police Association has recently gone on the offensive by waging a PR campaign at WheresMyBerkeleyCop.com to combat “anti-law enforcement sentiment” and draw attention to the reduction in officers that is adding challenges to their ability to enforce public safety in their city. Berkeleyside.com recently reported that as many as eighty percent of BFD’s officers are investigating leaving the force.
Despite these frictions in neighboring cities, The Emeryville Police Department have continued to receive high marks for their service with satisfaction levels consistently in the eightieth percentile.
To address our recent budget shortfall, our council voted unanimously to reduce the EPD’s staff by three including one officer, our only parking enforcement official and the elimination of 28 year EPD employee and Crime Analyst Adrienne Robinson’s position. Robinson prepares the monthly crime reports that we republish and provide the community vital information about crime trends in our city.
E’ville Eye editor Rob Arias and local resident Betsy Cooley both made impassioned pleas to retain Robinson’s position at the July 11th council meeting, but it was for naught. “To consider eliminating her position after 28 years would be really sad” Cooley noted during public comment. It is not clear what access the media and public will have to criminal statistics and reports when her position is eliminated.
John Bauters was the only Councilmember among the three winning candidates that EPOA endorsed in the 2016 election.
February 16, 2018
Emeryville Police Officers’ Association Supports Elected Officials
It was recently brought to the attention of the Emeryville Police Officers’ Association Board of Directors that certain social media posts attributed statements to unidentified members of the Police Department which in some respects were critical to the relationship between the Emeryville Police Officers’ Association, the Mayor, and City Council.
While we continue to build upon our excellent relationship with the City and the community, we are not insensitive to the fact that members are always engaging in conversations with members of our community on various issues. Some members of the community have their own set of beliefs that may influence their account of contact with our members. We believe that our members exercise great restraint and discretion in engaging in conversation on topics that may be controversial. It is our belief members avoid disparaging our City government or the Police Department.
Although we do not have any specifics on what was actually said or who may have said it, we have reached out to all of our members asking them to be judicious and respectful in conversations about our Police Department and the city’s elected officials.
Our police officers have always had a great relationship with and support from our elected city officials. The police officers, sergeants and elected officials of Emeryville share interest in the safety of the community and are committed to working together to fight crime. In a small city like ours, EPOA membership has a unique opportunity, to make a significant contribution towards a better quality of life for our residents. It is only in continued cooperation and collaborative effort between the Mayor, City Council, and Emeryville Police Officers’ Association that we will be able to realize Emeryville’s true potential. It is in this unified effort that we believe: Our size is our strength.
Finally, we want to acknowledge that our membership has thousands and thousands of contacts with citizens each year. These recent negative posts represent a fraction of the number of comments made by citizens about us. By far and away the majority of our contact with our community is very positive and social media reflects the professionalism and integrity of our members.
We look forward to working with the residents, Mayor and City Council to continue growing the quality of life in Emeryville.
— Emeryville Police Officers’ Association