Council to consider audit of Police Department's hiring practices | March 11, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 11, 2022

Council to consider audit of Police Department's hiring practices

Proposed review comes as city looks to recruit new chief, add patrol officers

by Gennady Sheyner

With Palo Alto looking to add police officers and replace its police chief, the city's independent police auditor is preparing to scrutinize the department's hiring and recruiting practices.

This story contains 980 words.

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Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]


Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 10, 2022 at 10:42 am

Robert Cronin is a registered user.

It is clear from the news that the wrong people are being hired by police departments. Applicants need to be screened to eliminate people who would be bad policemen. We need to make sure that those who are hired are ones who want to serve and protect, not beat up on people. They also need to be trained to de-escalate tense situations and to call in mental-health experts when appropriate.

Posted by Me
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 10, 2022 at 12:15 pm

Me is a registered user.

There are bad hires in every company; there is incompetence everywhere. I bet everyone could name at least one in their company who should be fired. Police work just has more visibility. Those who criticize law enforcement are too cowardly to choose the career. I support law and order and our police forces; I want to feel safe and I appreciate them. People have to realize that they are humans making split second decisions, not robocops. When people support the rights of criminals over law enforcement officials, that is lunacy.

Posted by PAPD - Brutality
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2022 at 1:24 pm

PAPD - Brutality is a registered user.

To the person commenting that:
"There are bad hires in every company, as well as incompetence"

While the statement (above) is generally true; well run companies weed out incompetence and bad hires on a continuous basis, and constantly review and modify hiring practices in accord with their findings.

Posted by White Senior fears Palo Alto Police
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 10, 2022 at 2:07 pm

White Senior fears Palo Alto Police is a registered user.

Congrats to the City Council. In addition Robert Johnsen should not be allowed to hire anyone as he cannot be trusted.
The new police chief should do all the hiring.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 11, 2022 at 8:16 am

Annette is a registered user.

This is a good move and a practice that should be undertaken even when there aren't questionable incidents and reasons for concern, in order to assure that high standards are maintained. As for incompetence, while it may exist in every company, there are only a handful of industries in which incompetence has the potential to kill.

I also think the suggestion that Jonsen not be involved in the hiring process is a good one. This is unfortunate, but since the problems have risen to the point that CC has acknowledged the need for an audit of hiring practices it makes sense that there be a barrier between the outgoing and the incoming. There's a good, ethical officer in Menlo Park who has Palo Alto roots and who will have the best interests of Palo Alto in mind since his parents live here. Perhaps he could be invited to either consult or to interview the finalists seeking to lead PAPD.

Posted by Jon Harris
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 11, 2022 at 8:46 am

Jon Harris is a registered user.

(1) In the interest of gun safety & to prevent contested shootings, all police officers should be required to enter a security code prior to discharging their firearms.

(2) A civilian review board consisting of Palo Alto residents and police reform advocates should also be a part of the screening process.

(3) And any alleged affiliation with white nationalist/supremacist groups should be grounds for immediate disqualification.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 11, 2022 at 9:42 am

Online Name is a registered user.

I agree with all the above calls to keep Johnsen out of future hiring decisions, especially since the high cost of settling police misconduct cases are due to the repeated misconduct of the same problem cops. The Washing Post just concluded an in-depth study on the high costs of police misconduct that's well worth the read. Web Link

I'm particularly appalled that PAPD continues to stonewall media inquiries when WE get stuck paying for their misconduct AND under-reporting of crimes.

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