News

12 questions the city won't answer

Repeated attempts by the Palo Alto Weekly to get answers from the city of Palo Alto about why first responders mishandled a June 3 911 call and how the city has changed policy and training in the wake of that incident have been repeatedly rebuffed by city leaders, chiefly City Manager Ed Shikada.

Here are some of the still-unanswered questions:

1. On what basis did the police dispatcher, within a few seconds of the initial 911 call, radio to police units that the call appeared to be "more like a 5150 call than a medical call?"

2. The city's "staging" policy for keeping firefighters and paramedics away from an incident until police have deemed it safe is very specific to violent incidents, such as shootings. How was staging under the circumstances of this incident in compliance with that policy?

3. What training on the staging of medical calls did dispatchers receive prior to and after this incident?

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

4. Why weren't the police dispatched on an emergency basis, since the fire department was dispatched under an emergency medical protocol?

5. The city's protocol for possible strokes requires an immediate and undelayed response. Stroke symptoms include speech difficulties, a decreased level of consciousness, confusion and loss of balance and coordination. The Palo Alto woman had these symptoms. Why did officers — and the EMT who was also present before the police allowed paramedics — appear to ignore these symptoms?

6. Why did Officer Yolanda Franco-Clausen stop three blocks from the scene — and what was she doing during those five minutes?

7. Why did police persist in trying to question the resident for five minutes instead of immediately pulling in the paramedics when the officers found there was no threat to firefighters?

8. Police asked the patient's husband for and were given permission to check "inside the front door" of the residence. Under what authority and for what purpose did police Officer Clausen search other rooms and look inside the woman's purse?

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

9. What happened to Sergeant Adrienne Moore's body-worn-camera footage and patrol-car recording footage of this incident? The city attorney's office first said there was footage but that something had happened to it and it was no longer available. Now City Attorney Molly Stump says it does not exist and won't say whether it was erased or never recorded in the first place.

10. Officer Clausen's wife disclosed information about the incident to at least one acquaintance and asserted that the patient had lied about her condition. What policies govern the sharing of information about an incident with others, including a spouse, and what are the consequences?

11. How often has the department been requested to stage a medical emergency response in the past year in cases where there was no indication of violence or criminal behavior?

12. Why has the city not apologized to the patient and explained the actions it is taking to prevent a recurrence of what happened in this incident?

This is part of a larger story on the mishandling of a June 3 911 call that can be found here.

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

12 questions the city won't answer

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 20, 2019, 7:01 am

Repeated attempts by the Palo Alto Weekly to get answers from the city of Palo Alto about why first responders mishandled a June 3 911 call and how the city has changed policy and training in the wake of that incident have been repeatedly rebuffed by city leaders, chiefly City Manager Ed Shikada.

Here are some of the still-unanswered questions:

1. On what basis did the police dispatcher, within a few seconds of the initial 911 call, radio to police units that the call appeared to be "more like a 5150 call than a medical call?"

2. The city's "staging" policy for keeping firefighters and paramedics away from an incident until police have deemed it safe is very specific to violent incidents, such as shootings. How was staging under the circumstances of this incident in compliance with that policy?

3. What training on the staging of medical calls did dispatchers receive prior to and after this incident?

4. Why weren't the police dispatched on an emergency basis, since the fire department was dispatched under an emergency medical protocol?

5. The city's protocol for possible strokes requires an immediate and undelayed response. Stroke symptoms include speech difficulties, a decreased level of consciousness, confusion and loss of balance and coordination. The Palo Alto woman had these symptoms. Why did officers — and the EMT who was also present before the police allowed paramedics — appear to ignore these symptoms?

6. Why did Officer Yolanda Franco-Clausen stop three blocks from the scene — and what was she doing during those five minutes?

7. Why did police persist in trying to question the resident for five minutes instead of immediately pulling in the paramedics when the officers found there was no threat to firefighters?

8. Police asked the patient's husband for and were given permission to check "inside the front door" of the residence. Under what authority and for what purpose did police Officer Clausen search other rooms and look inside the woman's purse?

9. What happened to Sergeant Adrienne Moore's body-worn-camera footage and patrol-car recording footage of this incident? The city attorney's office first said there was footage but that something had happened to it and it was no longer available. Now City Attorney Molly Stump says it does not exist and won't say whether it was erased or never recorded in the first place.

10. Officer Clausen's wife disclosed information about the incident to at least one acquaintance and asserted that the patient had lied about her condition. What policies govern the sharing of information about an incident with others, including a spouse, and what are the consequences?

11. How often has the department been requested to stage a medical emergency response in the past year in cases where there was no indication of violence or criminal behavior?

12. Why has the city not apologized to the patient and explained the actions it is taking to prevent a recurrence of what happened in this incident?

This is part of a larger story on the mishandling of a June 3 911 call that can be found here.

Related content:

A tug of war: City keeps changing its mind over releasing information about the June 3 incident

TIMELINE: The 911 call: What happened when

Editorial: When local government leaders refuse to answer questions, they become their own worst enemies

City Council has questions about mishandled 911 call

Comments

The Reason Why...
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:01 am
The Reason Why..., Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:01 am
11 people like this

All 12 are legitimate questions.

The reason the city won't answer any of the question > incriminating evidence confirming dereliction of duty on the part of the PAPD & emergency dispatch + blatant incompetency.

Why provide support for a convincing law suit? The 'silent' ones have been briefed by the City Attorney NOT to provide any INCRIMINATING evidence.


Cover up culture
Community Center
on Sep 21, 2019 at 5:26 pm
Cover up culture, Community Center
on Sep 21, 2019 at 5:26 pm
17 people like this

Public agencies don't get to decide if they can hide information; they must disclose it.


another women
Community Center
on Oct 3, 2019 at 12:09 am
another women , Community Center
on Oct 3, 2019 at 12:09 am
2 people like this

Why would the city need to apologize?
Why don't you start asking Mark Chase the dispatch Manager these questions? He informed me when I called that he has not been reached out to?

It seems like a lot of attention on this matter is being seeked yet no one wants to actually go after the info and just complain.

thanks
Another women :)


another man
Community Center
on Oct 3, 2019 at 12:36 am
another man, Community Center
on Oct 3, 2019 at 12:36 am
Like this comment

@another women - well, it could that no one reached out to him because City Manager Shikada had directed all city staff not to answer questions on this issue.

Of course, given the way the PD and dispatch groups fail to follow policy, why should that make any difference? They may well go ahead and answer the questions anyway!


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2019 at 10:07 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2019 at 10:07 am
Like this comment

Posted by another women, a resident of Community Center

>> Why would the city need to apologize?

"City Manager Ed Shikada, [...] ordered all city employees not to talk to the press [...] including the police chief and the fire chief."

Web Link

Apparently the only way we can find out what the police/fire/EMT people were talking about and thinking is for a civil lawsuit to force public testimony in open court. It is extremely counterproductive for the City Manager to force a lawsuit-- I hope he gets what wants.


Joe
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2019 at 5:44 pm
Joe, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2019 at 5:44 pm
Like this comment

> Apparently the only way we can find out what the police/fire/EMT people were talking about and thinking is for a civil lawsuit to force public testimony in open court.

[Portion removed.]

Mistakes happen. Before this story was even published, policies and procedures were updated by Chief Jonsen. Training was carried out for the public safety dispatchers reflecting the new protocols months ago. Time to move on.


Resident
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 3, 2019 at 7:46 pm
Resident, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 3, 2019 at 7:46 pm
6 people like this

Joe, if that message came from the chief or the city manager, we'd have been done weeks ago. Instead we're being told to rely on an anonymous blog post. See the problem?


Joe
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2019 at 1:16 pm
Joe, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2019 at 1:16 pm
2 people like this

Resident, thanks for your reply.

You can read City Manager Ed Shikada's personal blog post on Medium: Web Link

[Portion removed.]


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2019 at 1:26 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2019 at 1:26 pm
2 people like this

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> You can read City Manager Ed Shikada's personal blog post on Medium: Web Link

I never heard of "Medium" before. Why wasn't this a plain old public announcement instead of a Medium Blog Post?

>> Once you read it, you'll have a better understanding why the Weekly is censoring posts.

I read the post. I don't understand what you are talking about.

Regardless, the post was dated yesterday. Where was the "transparency" all along? Why only now, when public pressure became acute? The bottom line is that in medical cases, the city is required to protect individual's medical privacy, not hide behind it if the person involved has made the medical issues public.


Joe
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2019 at 11:04 am
Joe, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2019 at 11:04 am
Like this comment

> Why wasn't this a plain old public announcement instead of a Medium Blog Post?

There was an announcement of the City's web site when the article got published:

Web Link

'resident' asked for a message from the City Manager. The link above provides it.

> The bottom line is that in medical cases …

In fact, the woman needed medical transport. The original article says: "The crews of a fire engine and a paramedic unit were on hand and ready to treat her, having arrived within just five minutes of the 911 call."

[Portion removed due to inaccurate information.]

The articles in the Weekly are full of sensational misrepresentations and inaccuracies. Sorry, medical privacy has little to do with the Weekly's poor reporting. What kind of news organization provides the name of the 911 dispatcher? That's unprofessional and unethical.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2019 at 11:58 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2019 at 11:58 am
Like this comment

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> > Why wasn't this a plain old public announcement instead of a Medium Blog Post?
>> There was an announcement of the City's web site when the article got published:

Seriously?! Suggestion: next time, make a -timely- announcement -in public- and don't obscure it.

>> The articles in the Weekly are full of sensational misrepresentations and inaccuracies.

I don't know if this is true or not. The waters are very muddy now. Whose fault is that? The Weekly, or, the City? Next time-- protect the patient's private medical information, and, be transparent about the -actions- of City employees. Simple. If the dispatcher screwed up, who knows?, a simple apology might have sufficed. It sure appears to me, based on what I have read in the Weekly, that the procedures were very flawed.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.