September 16, 2014
Final Reports

2003-2004 Report:

East Palo Alto Police Department

Summary | Issue | Background | Findings | Conclusions | Recommendations | Responses | Attachments

Summary:

In response to a citizen’s complaint the Grand Jury investigated the East Palo Alto Police Department (EPAPD) with a focus on the department’s efforts to improve its performance, personnel, disciplinary and training practices in accordance with recommendations from PSComm, a police management consulting firm engaged by the City of East Palo Alto in July 2000.

The Grand Jury noted these key findings:

Violent crime continues to be a problem in East Palo Alto.
The crime rate in East Palo Alto is a primary issue of the citizens who have voiced their concern in the past to the local press blaming the Chief of Police’s inability to effectively manage the department and appropriately discipline his staff. East Palo Alto led all cities in the County in the number of homicides and robberies in 2002, and in 2003 reached its highest homicide level since 1997.

Many police department improvement recommendations from the consultant are still not implemented.
If the City Council and the Police Chief had been more diligent in implementing all of the PSComm recommendations from July 2000, it is likely the department would have been better equipped to control the escalating crime level.

The quality of the force remains questionable.
The EPAPD must upgrade the qualifications of its present personnel. The Police Chief continues to hire officers who have been discharged from other law enforcement agencies. Nearly half of the force has lapsed in meeting Continuing Professional Training (CPT) ongoing requirements in the last five years; all but one have failed to meet the CPT specific course requirements mandated as of January 1, 2002; 25% of the force has not received basic certification; and management seems uninterested in enforcing training standards. Mentoring and management staff development in general is neglected.

The leadership of EPAPD does not enforce policies consistently.
An officer of EPAPD continues to work at headquarters while under felony indictment in Santa Clara County for activities prior to being employed by EPAPD. Objections from the community to the Police Chief's decision to keep this officer on-the-job were reported in the local press. This action raises the question whether another accused officer could have a reasonable expectation of similar treatment. However, the Police Chief handled a subsequent disciplinary matter quite differently by placing an officer on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation of inappropriate police behavior.

A leadership succession plan is not being followed.
The consultant recommended in 2000 that immediate attention be given to creating and filling a Captain's position. The Grand Jury learned no job description or requisition has been developed for a Captain's position and that the City intends to hire a Human Resources Director before hiring a Police Captain. The City Council's priority to hire a Human Resources Director before hiring a Police Captain does not serve the best interests of public safety.

Overview of Recommendations:

  • The City Council should aggressively seek qualified candidates for the budgeted Police Captain's position and fill it within 90 days with someone who has demonstrated leadership and motivational skills, and has potential to succeed the current Police Chief.
  • The City Council should immediately enforce policies for timely performance evaluations, timely completion of training requirements, and initiate a professional development program for all employees of the East Palo Alto Police Department.
  • The City Council should ensure that adequate financial resources and staff are allocated to enable the East Palo Alto Police Department to implement fully the recommendations of the organizational assessment provided by PSComm, LLC/Joseph Brann and Associates, LLC (Attachment A of the full report); report the current status to the Grand Jury by August 1, 2004; and require the Police Chief to report status to the City Council quarterly.
  • The City Council should hold the Police Chief accountable for implementation of the recommendations on Attachment A; his decisions and actions; and reflect his progress in an annual performance evaluation properly recorded in his personnel record.
  • By December 31, 2004 the City Council should take appropriate disciplinary action if the Police Chief does not make substantial progress in implementing the recommendations in this report, including hiring a Captain.
Issue:
Is the East Palo Alto Police Department following recommendations of the independent consultant hired to guide the department in its efforts to improve its hiring, firing, recruitment, promotional, disciplinary and training practices and to improve its performance and its image?
 
Background:

In the past the Grand Jury investigated the East Palo Alto Police Department (EPAPD) in response to complaints from citizens of that city. It found a department ill qualified to deal with uncontrolled drug dealing, street crimes and drive-by shootings. Assistance from adjoining law enforcement agencies, California Highway Patrol and the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office (Sheriff) was necessary to assist EPAPD in managing crime and violence in its jurisdiction.

Media coverage of the Police Department's problems caused a serious decline in the department's morale and public image. With the decline of the image of the City of East Palo Alto (City) as a whole, established businesses were anxious to leave and new businesses were reluctant to come to the City. The tax base declined further. The City seemed to be in a downward spiral.

In 2000 the City Council engaged a consultancy, PSComm, LLC of Hayward, California, to study the Police Department and make recommendations to improve the performance of the department. The consultancy issued an assessment of the department in July of that year. The assessment included 71 specific recommendations suggesting improvements in management and supervisory accountability, human resources, workplace environment, technology infrastructure and utilization, training, community policing and problem solving and crime reduction strategies.

The Grand Jury studied the report, "Policing East Palo Alto - the Organizational Assessment," issued by PSComm, LLC (PSComm) and investigated how the City and EPAPD responded to the recommendations in the areas of hiring, firing, recruitment, promotional, disciplinary and training practices. During the investigation the Grand Jury evaluated personnel records and policies regarding training and performance, reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the East Palo Alto Police Officers Association, and researched the San Mateo County and East Palo Alto crime statistics from the California Department of Justice. The Grand Jury conducted interviews with PSComm, now Joseph Brann & Associates, LLC (Brann & Associates), and with the City Management.

Findings:

Violent crime continues to be a problem in East Palo Alto.
The California Crime Index calculated by the California Department of Justice reports that in 2002 while the City of East Palo Alto had its lowest crime rate index since 1995, it also had the fourth highest crime rate in San Mateo County. In addition it led all cities in the County in the number of homicides and robberies in 2002, and in 2003 reached its highest homicide level since 1997. Statistical charts of violent crimes in East Palo Alto over the last ten years show spikes in various years, different by type of crime. No real trend line can be drawn.

The temporary improvement in the East Palo Alto crime rate 1999 - 2002 could be attributed to the efforts of all assisting law enforcement agencies, the efforts of citizens' watch groups, and the changing demographics over the last ten years that has seen some of the criminal element of the population migrate to other areas. Today residents are dissatisfied with the renewed resurgence of crime and vow to "do whatever it takes to keep the community from reverting to those dark days . . .1" in 1992 when East Palo Alto was the per capita murder capital of the country. Results of a survey of East Palo Alto citizens commissioned by One East Palo Alto Neighborhood Improvement Association and conducted by Empowerment Research dated March 2004 reveals the following public views:

Issue % of Respondents with this belief
Drugs are the top crime issue 43%
It is unsafe or very unsafe in my neighborhood 65%
Perception of the police is poor or very poor 31%
Block clubs (citizens' watch groups) are effective in addressing crime issues 86%

A significant number of residents believe that neighborhood coalitions are effective in addressing crime issues and a third of the community believes the police services are below average.

Many Police Department improvement recommendations from the consultant are still not implemented.

In the Management and Supervisory Accountability section of its assessment of EPAPD, PSComm cites the following that illustrate the poor condition of the department in July 2000:

  • There is a lack of an experienced or skilled management staff.
  • There is a Department-wide failure to conduct performance evaluations.
  • Roles and expectations of department staff are unclear.
  • There is an absence of a training and professional development strategy.
  • Discipline is not delivered in a consistent and timely manner.
  • There is a lack of recognition and/or rewards for outstanding performance.
  • Staffing levels are critically low.
  • The City does not offer an adequate or competitive compensation package.
  • EPAPD's hiring criteria and employment standards need to be strengthened.

The significant recommendations made by PSComm involved:

  • Immediate attention to filling critical vacancies, including creation of a new Captain's position;
  • Significant improvement in the compensation and benefits package;
  • Standards necessary for suitability for employment, training and personnel evaluations;
  • The necessity of weekly management meetings.

The detailed recommendations made by PSComm in these areas are included in Attachment A.

In September 2001 Brann and Associates issued a progress report on the implementation of recommendations from the PSComm organizational assessment of EPAPD. The progress report cites improvement in some areas and no progress in other areas. Relative to Management and Supervisory

Accountability, it notes that a variety of efforts had been launched to improve the knowledge, skills and abilities of the managers and supervisors, and to ensure adequate managerial oversight of operations. Training standards had been developed, but the training guide had not been updated, and only management employees were receiving training. Ongoing staff shortages were still a problem, but the compensation and benefits package was improved, and hiring criteria were established.

In March 2003 Brann & Associates issued an update to the progress report noting areas in which no progress had been made and areas in which "back sliding" occurred where progress had been seen at the time of the first progress report. In the area of Management and Supervisory Accountability the report commended management and supervision of resources and personnel especially in the patrol arena. While there was progress in development of job skills, more training actions are necessary in order for management to be effective. Initially there was improvement in completing performance evaluations and dealing with disciplinary actions in a timely manner; however, management had declined in their follow-through.

The quality of the force remains questionable.
For years the City, hampered by a small tax base, did not offer a competitive salary and benefits package to attract qualified officers. The Grand Jury was told that in the past the City had often hired persons who were not considered qualified by other police departments. Candidates were hired who had been discharged by other departments or who had previously been allowed to resign in order to avoid disciplinary action. Large sums of money have been paid to settle lawsuits because of the inappropriate actions of some officers.

A review of the personnel records provided by EPAPD2 for its current 36 sworn officers indicates that as late as December 2002 the department continued to hire officers discharged from other police departments and officers who have large gaps in their police work experience. There are four officers currently on the payroll that had been discharged from one or more of their previous police jobs, including one later promoted to lieutenant by EPAPD. There are three officers currently on the payroll that had less than a year's experience when they resigned from a previous police job, and their record shows no further police work for several years prior to being hired by EPAPD. In addition to the gap in police work experience, three of the officers had no training for three and a half years when hired by EPAPD.

Exhibit 1 - Hiring Information

Officer Previous Police Employment Reason for Separation Date Hired by EPAPD Gap in Police Work Experience
A PD (5 years 6 months)1990 Discharged 1990 2 years
B PD-1 (4 months)1979 Resigned 1986 3 years 6 months
  PD-2 (8 months)1982 Discharged    
C PD (9 months)1998 Resigned 2000 1 year 5 months
D PD (4 months)1992 Resigned 2000 7 years 6 months
E PD (1 year)1997 Resigned 2000 3 years
F PD-1 (2 years 4 months)1994 Resigned 2001 2 years 4 months
  PD-2 (3 years)1997PD-2
(1 year 7 months)1999
Discharged
Discharged
2000 3 years
G SO* (4 months)2001 Discharged 2002 1 year 3months
H SO* (days)1997 Unknown 2003 5 years 2 months

*A Sheriff's Office

California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) offers training required by law for peace officer qualification and ongoing employment. POST awards professional certificates to recognize peace officer achievement and proficiency. The Basic Certificate is awarded to currently employed full-time peace officers of a POST-participating agency who have satisfactorily completed the prerequisite Basic Course requirement and the employing agency's probationary period. Other certificates are Intermediate, Advanced, Supervisory, Management, Executive, Public Safety Dispatch, Records Supervisor, and Reserve Officer. There are only 11 officers on the force, including the Police Chief, who have more than the Basic Certificate. There are two officers whose records indicate they have been assigned full-time peace officer positions, but have never taken the Regular Basic Training Course. They have taken some reserve training modules.

POST regulations require continuing education for the purpose of maintaining, updating, expanding, and/or enhancing an individual's knowledge and/or skills. It is training which exceeds the training required to meet or requalify entry-level minimum standards. POST regulations state that every peace officer must satisfactorily complete the Continuing Professional Training (CPT) requirement of 24 or more hours of training every two years. For all police officers below the rank of middle management that means two years from the completion date of the Regular Basic Training Course; for middle management and above it is based on date appointed or July 1, 2000, whichever is later; for reserve officers it is based on date appointed or July 1, 1995 (Level I Reserve Officer) and July1, 1999 (Level II Reserve Officer) whichever is later.

The following exhibit lists pertinent data regarding officers whose training records indicate lapses in meeting CPT requirements, over 40% of the force.

Exhibit 2 - Training Information3

Officer

Basic Course Completed

Previous Police Employment

Date Hired by EPAPD

# Certif.

CPT Period

Total CPT Training  Hrs.

B

1981

1 year

1986

3

9/99-8/01

9/01-8/03

0

24

D

2000

4 months

2000

1

4/00-3/02

24

 

F

1993

6 years 10 months

2001

1

6/99-5/01

6/01-5/03

6/03-5/05

0

32

0

G

2001

4 months

2002

0

10/01-9/03

10/03-9/05

0

16

H

Not completed

days

2003

0

7/01-6/03

7/03-6/05

0

0

I

1985

4 years 2 months

1989

3

7/00-6/02

7/02-6/04

0

24

J

1991

 

1990

1

3/99-2/01

3/01-2/03

16

32

L

2000

 

2000

1

8/00-7/02

8/02-7/04

0

24

M

1995

 

1985

3

12/99-11/01

12/01-11/03

28

8

O

1997

 

1997

1

12/99-11/01

12/01-11/03

66

16

P

Not completed

 

2002

0

1/02-12/03

8

R

2002

 

2002

0

2/02-1/04

0

S

1985

 

1985

3

5/01-4/03

5/03-4/05

8

24

T

1998

2001

1

7/98-6/00

7/00-6/02

7/02-6/04

0

12

48

U

1996

5 years 3 months

2001

1

6/98-5/00

5/00-5/02

6/02-5/04

8

48

12

V

1999

2003

0

19/99-11/01

12/01-11/03

4

120

Review of the training records provided by EPAPD indicate that 3 11 officers did not satisfy their most recent full two-year period CPT requirements. Another five5 officers did not meet the CPT requirements in the previous period, but have met the requirement for the current period.

As of January 1, 2002 all police officers below middle management are required to complete 12 hours of Perishable Skills courses (three modules, a minimum of four hours each) and two hours of Communications training in each two-year period as part of CPT. Only one officer has met this criteria by taking all modules.

Records provided showed another nine officers or 25% of the force with zero for the number of POST certificates (or no record was available) indicating they have yet to meet the criteria for a Basic Certificate from POST. Two of these had no additional training since graduating from police training in 2001. According to POST criteria, those officers with no certificates should be newer employees who have graduated from a POST-certified police training program and are currently on new hire probation, or are not full-time employees. According to the City Personnel Policies and Procedures, a police recruit is on probation for 18 months. A lateral and prior service police officer is on probation for 12 months.

Exhibit 3 - Probation Period

Officer

Date Compl.

Basic  Training

Date Hired by EPAPD

Date of Basic Certificate

Time on Probation

D

1992

2000

3/03

2 years 10 months

P

2001

2002

none

2 years 2 months

Q

2002

2002

none

1 year 8 months

R

2002

2002

none

1 year 8 months

Three officer recruits have been on the force longer than 18 months, but have no POST certificate noted. One of these has been on the force over two years. Records also indicate an officer appeared to be on probation nearly three years before receiving the Basic Certificate.

POST also encourages law enforcement agencies to participate in its agency program by agreeing to abide by the standards established by POST. The more than 600 agencies in the POST program are eligible to receive the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training's services and benefits, such as job-related assessment tools, research into improved officer selection standards, management counseling services, the development of new training courses, reimbursement for training, and quality leadership training programs. If it appears a department fails to adhere to the regulations, it may be deemed ineligible to receive these services and benefits. EPAPD is a participating agency.

The overall quality of the force remains low primarily due to lack of a professional development plan, training, and a performance assessment plan with equitable standards for progressive discipline. Upward mobility of officers is blocked by their unwillingness to seek required training independently. Some officers choose to undergo only the minimum training required to maintain the POST Basic Certificate.

Mentoring and management staff development in general is neglected. EPAPD does not have its own detective division, which normally requires more highly trained personnel. The detective function in East Palo Alto is provided by the Sheriff. The Grand Jury was advised that the only current mentoring activity is rotation of some of the department's better officers through temporary assignments working with the Sheriff's detectives to build some detective experience on the force.

There is no agreement for jointly developed goals and objectives between officers and supervisors. Performance evaluations are not current for many of the managers. The department was unable to provide any evidence to the Grand Jury that an evaluation of the Police Chief's performance had been completed in the last five years. There is little evidence that all personnel had received annual written performance evaluations. This is in violation of City personnel policies and the agreement with the police officers' union. The City Personnel Policies and Procedures clearly define the requirement for performance evaluations every twelve months of actual service, and upon termination of service. All performance evaluations are to be forwarded to the Personnel Office. The forms currently used for performance evaluations are outdated, inconsistent with current procedures and do not meet the department's needs.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the East Palo Alto Police Officers Association states, "Upon completion of twelve months of actual initial or promotional probationary service, after receiving a satisfactory performance evaluation, a merit increase . . . shall be granted." It continues that each twelve months of actual service thereafter, "each employee receiving a satisfactory performance evaluation shall receive a merit increase."

The MOU also establishes salary adjustments for Intermediate and Advanced Certificates from POST, and longevity pay for officers with ten years continuous service with the City as a motivation to improve professionalism and stability of the force.

The leadership of EPAPD does not enforce policies consistently. The Police Chief has been in this position since 1994 working under an employment contract, and reports to the City Manager. During the past six years the City had several acting, appointed, or contract City Managers. The Police Chief operated semi-autonomously without effective oversight, and some questionable managerial decisions were made during this period.

The Police Chief's handling of personnel matters presents numerous questions relative to the fairness and consistent application of disciplinary action in the department.

An officer of EPAPD continues to work at headquarters while under felony indictment in Santa Clara County for activities prior to being employed by EPAPD. When notified of the indictment of one of his officers, the Police Chief sought advice from the City Attorney regarding the question of the officer's continued employment. The Police Chief was provided three alternatives by counsel:

1. Put the indicted officer on administrative leave with pay.

2. Seek termination of the officer.

3. Keep the officer on the job in some non-sensitive position.

Since EPAPD is experiencing a shortage of personnel and limited budget, the Police Chief opted to assign the officer to work in the office at EPAPD headquarters. The Grand Jury was advised that it is common practice in law enforcement and the standing practice of this Police Chief in the past, to relieve an accused officer from duty immediately when the mere allegation of wrongdoing by a sworn officer surfaces. The accused officer usually remains on administrative leave pending resolution of the charges. Objections from the community to the Police Chief's decision to keep this officer on-the-job were reported in the local press.

This action raises the question whether another accused officer could have a reasonable expectation of similar treatment. However, the Police Chief handled a subsequent disciplinary matter quite differently. It was recently reported in the local press that a sergeant of EPAPD was placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation of inappropriate police behavior, which was estimated to take at least two weeks.

In a different instance the Police Chief followed the hiring criteria recommended by the consultant. An officer who was fired for cause sued the City for wrongful termination, and was ordered reinstated. The reinstatement is on hold since the officer allowed his POST certification to lapse. Before being reinstated the Police Chief has required the officer be POST re-certified by the State of California and pass specified physical and mental suitability examinations.

A leadership succession plan is not being followed. The consultant recommended in 2000 that immediate attention be given to creating and filling a Captain's position. The Grand Jury was advised the current pool of officers in the department offers no qualified candidates for possible replacement of the current Police Chief. The Grand Jury was led to believe the new Captain's position had a written job description and a requisition had been issued with requirements for a college degree that would preclude any current EPAPD officers from qualifying for that position. It seemed that the interviewing of external candidates was about to commence. Neither has taken place. The Grand Jury learned the personnel department has no such job description or requisition and that the City intends to hire a Human Resources Director before hiring a Police Captain.

The search to fill this position has not been given top priority. Funding for this position is the first cut volunteered by the Police Chief when budget cuts are necessary. There has been little pressure from the City Council or City Manager to fill the position.

Conclusions:

The drug dealing, violent crime and drive-by shootings that were commonplace in East Palo Alto several years ago have declined somewhat, but remain at a critical level. Assistance from adjoining police departments, California Highway Patrol and the Sheriff has been and continues to be helpful to EPAPD in suppressing the drug dealing and the resultant violence. With the decline in drug trafficking the community has attracted new businesses and tax revenues have increased. Now the City is better able to provide an attractive salary and benefits package and should be able to raise the requirements and qualifications for new hires for the department.

Violence is creeping upward again. The crime rate in the City continues to be a primary issue of the citizens who have voiced their concern in the past to the local press blaming the Chief of Police's inability to effectively manage the department and appropriately discipline his staff. If the City Council and the Police Chief had been more diligent in implementing all of the PSComm recommendations from July 2000, it is likely the department would have been better equipped to control the crime level.

The EPAPD must upgrade the qualifications of its present personnel. The Police Chief continues to hire officers who have been discharged from other law enforcement agencies. Nearly half of the force has lapsed in meeting CPT ongoing requirements in the last five years; all but one have failed to meet the CPT specific course requirements mandated as of January 1, 2002; 25% of the force has not received basic certification; and management seems uninterested in enforcing training standards. If the POST Commission finds that EPAPD is not meeting regulations regarding Continuing Professional Training, it is possible EPAPD would no longer be eligible for training cost reimbursement.

Incentive pay for Intermediate and Advanced POST Certificates seems to be ineffective in stimulating the force to seek advanced credentials.

Training records indicate that either the Basic Certificates from POST have not been issued once a probation period is met, or that officers remain on probation longer than required. It is not clear whether officers are being kept on probation longer because of problems with performance or that the EPAPD does not update personnel records accurately and in a timely manner.

Merit increases are to be awarded only if a satisfactory performance evaluation has been filed. Current performance evaluations could not be located for many personnel. Merit increases are being awarded without documented performance evaluations being presented to the employees and filed with their personnel records.

The current Police Chief is ineffective in implementing the Management and Supervisory Accountability recommendations made by the consultant.

The actions of the Police Chief lack consistency in how standards are applied and procedures are followed. This vacillation can cause uncertainty among employees, leading to morale issues. The perception in the department that the Police Chief shows favoritism when taking disciplinary action can further erode respect from the officers.

Recommendations:
1. The City Council should aggressively seek qualified candidates for the budgeted Police Captain's position and fill it within 90 days with someone who has demonstrated leadership and motivational skills, and has potential to succeed the current Police Chief.

2. The City Council should ensure that adequate financial resources and staff are allocated to enable the East Palo Alto Police Department to fully implement the recommendations of the organizational assessment provided by PSComm, LLC/Joseph Brann and Associates, LLC.

3. By August 1, 2004 the City Council should provide the Grand Jury current status and completion date or targeted completion date for all Management and Supervisory Accountability recommendations made by PSComm for improvement of the East Palo Alto Police Department listed on Attachment A.

4. The City Council should require the Police Chief to implement the recommendations on Attachment A and update the status of these recommendations and report to the City Council quarterly.

5. The City Council should immediately:

5.1   Develop and implement new policies, and enforce existing policies for timely performance evaluations, timely management of training requirements, and professional development programs for all employees of the East Palo Alto Police Department.

5.2   Develop a new performance evaluation form that enables the officers and management to monitor performance consistent with agreed upon goals.

5.3   Direct the Police Chief that merit increases will not be authorized without the appropriate written performance evaluations.

5.4   Direct the Police Chief that the bare minimum is not an acceptable level of training or proficiency for the East Palo Alto Police Department, and require a plan for ongoing continuation training for all sworn officers be developed and implemented within 90 days.

5.5   Direct the Police Chief to schedule training immediately for those officers who have not met the Continuing Professional Training required in POST regulations.

5.6   Direct the Police Chief to update all personnel training records immediately and ensure all POST certificates earned have been awarded.

5.7   Hold the Police Chief accountable for implementation of the recommendations on Attachment A; his decisions and actions; and reflect his progress in an annual performance evaluation properly recorded in his personnel record.

6. By August 1, 2004 the City Council should provide the Grand Jury current status and completion date or targeted completion date for all Management and Supervisory Accountability recommendations made by PSComm for improvement of the East Palo Alto Police Department listed on Attachment A.

7. The City Council should determine the "best practices" regarding the continued employment of officers under felony indictment or internal investigation and require that EPAPD follow those practices consistently, fairly and without favoritism.

8. The City Council should require the Police Chief to work with the East Palo Alto Police Officers' Association to adhere to the following:

8.1  Ensure that any officer returning to the department after a protracted absence from law enforcement:

  • Obtains re-certification in accordance with POST regulations.
  • Is current with all ongoing Continuing Professional Training.
  • Passes all physical and mental evaluations by the appropriate agencies for suitability for this assignment.

8.2  Develop joint goal-setting procedures as a basis for performance evaluations.

8.3   Ensure progressive disciplinary procedures are followed as mutually agreed.

8.4   Communicate any changes that result from implementation of the recommendations to their members.

Attachment A
EPAPD lacks an experienced or skilled management staff.

Recommendation

Date Status Provided

Completion Date or Target for Completion

1.   Partner with other agencies to obtain cost-effective management training or seek training support from low or no-cost training providers such as one of the California Regional Community Policing Institutes.

   

2.      Develop and implement a formalized mentoring program.

   

3.      Provide day-to-day direction to acting and inexperienced supervisors with immediate availability to managers who can coach and assist them. 

   

4.      Consider adding a third lieutenant position or have an experienced sergeant assume some of the administrative functions currently handled by lieutenants.

   

5.      Provide training in advance for all individuals assigned any “acting” supervisory or management position.

   

6.      Establish a pool of suitable candidates for “acting” supervisory or management positions.

   

7.      The Police Chief should conduct regularly scheduled weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the management staff to address and deal with recurring and evolving management issues.  The focus of these meetings should include individual and management group accountability for the Department’s goals and priorities, day-to-day operations, and personnel issues (including training, employee development and discipline).

   

8.      Periodic employee meetings should also be scheduled to improve internal communications by discussing pertinent issues, reinforcing the vision for the department and allowing employees the opportunity to provide feedback and present questions. 

   

9.      Create a formal, yet simple, monitoring system to document and track the status of organizational priorities and special tasks assigned to management personnel.

   

10.      The Police Chief and management staff should review monthly financial reports to monitor the status of department revenues and expenditures (including overtime expenditures.)

   

11.      Managers and supervisors should be involved in budget development and held accountable for sound management of resources.

   

There is a Department-wide failure to conduct performance evaluations.

Recommendation

Date Status Provided

Completion Date or Target for Completion

12.      The annual “State of the Department” report should include budget and financial performance data.  Future budget submissions should identify organizational performance measures associated with departmental goals and priorities.

   

13.      Managers and supervisors, including the City Manager and Police Chief, should be held accountable for conducting timely, thorough and meaningful performance evaluations.

   

14.      Performance evaluations should reflect the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to support a community policing/problem solving culture, and should include performance measures related to the department’s strategic priorities and vision. 

   

15.      The performance evaluations of managers and supervisors should include an assessment/measurement of their success in coaching and developing their subordinates.

   

There is a lack of clarity in the roles and expectations of Department staff.

Recommendation

Date Status Provided

Completion Date or Target for Completion

16.      The Administrative Services/Personnel Department should update the job descriptions for all sworn officers and civilian positions. 

   

17.      Re-evaluate the roles and responsibilities of Department managers and supervisors, designating specific projects and expectations. 

   

 

There is an absence of a training and professional development strategy.

Recommendation

Date Status Provided

Completion Date or Target for Completion

18.      Create an organizational training strategy that supports the direction and priorities of the Department.

   

19.      Produce a professional development plan for each position in the Department.

   
     

Discipline is not delivered in a consistent and timely manner.

Recommendation

Date Status Provided

Completion Date or Target for Completion

20.      Standards governing the timely investigation, processing and disposition of internal investigations and disciplinary issues should be established immediately.

   

21.      Adherence to these standards should be incorporated in the new position descriptions and performance evaluations for all managers and supervisors.

   

22.      Managers must be held accountable for keeping parties informed of the status of internal investigations and meeting the timelines established for such investigations.

   
     

There is a lack of recognition and/or rewards for outstanding performance.

Recommendation

Date Status Provided

Completion Date or Target for Completion

23.      The Police and Personnel Department management teams should collaborate on the design of a formalized commendation, recognition and reward system. 

   
     

Staffing levels are critically low.

Recommendation

Date Status Provided

Completion Date or Target for Completion

24.      The Police Chief, working with the Personnel Department, should immediately develop an aggressive action plan and timeline to fill existing sworn and civilian vacancies.  I16T14:55">n addition, retention strategies should be developed to address the long-standing turnover challenges.

 

   

25.      The Police and Personnel Departments should provide weekly progress reports to the City Manager on the Department’s staffing and their hiring activities until such time as the actual staffing reaches a level that is at or above 95% of the authorized staffing level.

   

26.      Exit interviews should be conducted and documented on all employees who leave the organization. 

   

27.      Employees should be encouraged to participate in recruiting new employees.  Rewards and incentives ought to be considered to induce them to participate. 

   

28.      Recruitment and marketing efforts should be undertaken that recognize and promote appealing aspects of police service in the East Palo Alto Police Department.

   

29.      Consideration should be given to expanding the number and use of Community Service Officer (CSO) positions.

   

Recommendation

Date Status Provided

Completion Date or Target for Completion

30.      Ongoing staffing vacancies and existing job assignments should be examined for the potential to have those duties fulfilled through other means.

   
     

The City does not offer an adequate or competitive compensation package.

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31.      The compensation and benefits package must be made a top priority.

   

32.      Reassess the utilization of civilians and volunteers within the Department.

   
     

EPAPD’s hiring criteria and employment standards need to be strengthened.

Recommendation

Date Status Provided

Completion Date or Target for Completion

33.      Management staff in the Police and Administrative Service Departments should jointly develop hiring criteria and employment standards that reflect the values and expectations of EPAPD.

   
 

 

 

Recommendation

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Completion Date or Target for Completion

34.      Both the Police and Personnel Departments should be held accountable for ensuring all hiring/screening criteria are diligently and consistently applied in the course of screening candidates for employment with EPAPD.

   

35.      The psychological evaluation process for police officer candidates should specifically assess the applicant’s ability to function effectively in serving the diverse community that constitutes East Palo Alto.

   

36.      Standards should be established concerning the suitability/eligibility of former employees for re-hire along with lateral transfer candidates.  These standards should specifically address the candidate’s prior work experience, performance and adherence to professional standards of conduct

   

37.      Any supervisor or manager who has a role in hiring employees should be thoroughly trained in and held responsible for the application of all hiring criteria and employment standards.

   

38.      The vacant Personnel Analyst position in the Personnel Department should be filled as soon as possible.  That position should then be given the authority and the responsibility for coordinating police testing and hiring.

   

1The San Jose Mercury News, "East Palo Alto Leaders Vow to Fight an Upturn in Violence," March 29, 2004.
2 Based on the April 13, 2004 EPAPD police roster of Peace Officer Standards and Training - Confidential Profile Report provided by EPAPD.
3Based on the April 13, 2004 EPAPD police roster of Peace Officer Standards and Training – Confidential Profile Report and personnel files provided by EPAPD.

Response
© 2014 Superior Court of San Mateo County