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Palo Alto cop identified in 2009 DUI arrest

Original post made on Oct 1, 2010

A Palo Alto police officer has been identified in a 2009 arrest for driving under the influence after he rolled his SUV on U.S. Highway 101, according to court documents.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 1, 2010, 9:56 AM

Comments (76)

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Posted by drunk drivers are terrorists
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:36 am

He was lucky he didn't kill anyone this time. We need stricter laws against drunk driving. Mandatory forfeiture of his vehicle for the first conviction (or an equivalent cash fine if the vehicle is totalled). Mandatory jail time for the second conviction. At least a year in jail for the 3rd conviction. How many innocent people are we going to let these criminals kill?

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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:04 am

What the Weekly fails to say and the Daily Post does say is that the drunken officer was allowed to ride in the front seat of the CHP cruiser on the way to jail and he was given a ride home afterward by another officer. The above mentioned Lt Sandra Brown is quoted as saying, in the Post story, that "we take care of our own"!!!
Note also that the officer refused to cooperate with police and refused a breathalyzer test.
What would have happened to us if we had acted this way? Would we have ridden in the front seat and been given a ride home by the police?
Anyone surprised that people feel that police have a double standard when it comes to criminal activity by their own?

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

Gee-zus ... what kind of an idiot do you have to be to roll a car while driiving on the freeway? Was he firing his gun in the air too with his feet up on the dash or something? What an idiot.

The kind of people we seem to be producing in this country seem more suited to a place like Iraq. This guy should be in prison for a long time. It is such a major abuse of the trust the public placed in him.

Folks, we need to start getting serious about demanding responsible behavior from our private and public employees. This is no joke. It make me sick ... and how many others do we have?

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:22 am

>> "The days when law enforcement agencies could take a relatively tolerant view of off duty alcohol related arrests are over and appropriately so," Gennaco wrote

My my ... how amazingly Orwellian is that .... what the heck do you call ignoring such dysfunctional drunk driving such as this?

I call it way overly tolerant.

So .... honestly, are we afraid that if this guy is fired that he will go from being a cop to being a criminal (which I think he already is) and be more cost and problems to society than he is now? Is that the caliber of people we have in our police department?

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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:31 am

The guy should be placed on suspension... and I'd like to see him fired. Plain and simple.... he is not good police material.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:35 am

Another point made in the very detailed Daily Post article is that the Santa Clara Court would only give the Post access to five arrest records a day, taking months for them to chase down the name. This behavior on the part of the Court is another of the many snubs at the public made by the Palo Alto Police (and Fire Department) to "take care of our own". However, in this case, this "taking care of .." moved up the government tree to the County Courts. Whoever made that decision should be investigated, and if appropriate, brought up on "obstruction of justice" charges ("obstruction of the public's right to know").

The police want our respect, and then they treat us with no respect whatever. There doesn't seem to be the least amount of embarrassment on the part of anyone in the PD over this matter.

> Gennaco concluded in a March 2010 report that the
> department's response was "appropriate and within the
> standards of progressive police agencies."

"What the H.." is a "progressive police department"? One that has decided that the laws (and common sense) don't apply to it, and just "makes up its own rules"?

Gennaco has not been much use to the taxpayers and residents of Palo Alto.. time for Palo Alto to find someone who actually represents the people who live here, not someone who lives in a high crime area and doesn't seem to be incensed when the cops turn out to be the bad guys ..

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Posted by KT
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:39 am

People make mistakes and bad judgments all of the time even police officers. He's human. So he got a ride home from the police station, turns out he has friends in the department. Yes, drinking and driving is wrong. But at least the Palo Alto police department is doing something about it by setting up DUI checkpoints all across town! We should also be very concerned about those careless drivers who are running down and killing our cyclists. I think that careless driving is just as irresponsible as drunk driving and sometimes I think those drivers are more dangerous as some drunk trying to get home from the bar!!

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Posted by Mark
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:44 am

I am a long time resident here.

I am glad he is okay.

I really hope he get his life on track.

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Posted by What "DUI" checkpoints are really about
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:45 am

KT: DUI checkpoints are singularly ineffective at catching drunk drivers. The primary purpose of them is to seize cars from people with dubious immigration status so that the police can then sell those cars at auction. See Web Link

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Posted by Treat Cops Like Civvies
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:54 am

Fitness for duty requirements ought to include a breathalyzer test when officers identified as having a "drinking problem as evidenced by the DUI" report for work for a long period of time after such an incident as this rollover. We cannot afford to have compromised officers out "on patrol" which I assume means that he is driving a patrol car again. Nothing was said about a sentence which would also require mandatory aa meetings or some similar program for alcoholism education. Most people who drink to that level are alcoholics and were not just accidentally "unlucky" the first time they ever stepped into a car drunk. I was told that police applicants can be hired with DUI showing on their records at the time of hire. This is appalling if it is true. Also, cops taking care of their own also often extends to the offender never being tested or not being tested soon enough to an incident to test legally impaired. I am tired of cops getting a free ride......treat them the same as anyone else!

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Posted by KT
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I was unaware of the dilemma that our illegal immigrants are facing. No one should have to show their license or immigration status at a sobriety checkpoint unless they are drunk!! We'll have to take this up with our local representatives!!!

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Posted by Teetoller
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Let's get real. Lots of people occasionally drive drunk and do not get caught. Lots of people who are working at jobs where they would not get hired if they first had one prior DUI do drive drunk after being hired. DUI penalties are not going to stop an habitual drunk driver from driving. Those who distrust cops or rant on about people who drive drunk, chances are they themselves have driven drunk at some point or have family who have. The legal limit is only .08 in California. Alcohol is very widespread.

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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Teetoller--Police should be held to a higher standard and if they are caught, they should be treated just like anyone else---this officer should have been handcuffed, put in the back seat, taken to the station, strip searched and booked for drunk driving

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Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

There, but for the grace of God...

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Posted by Police... LOL
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by re: svatoid
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

With the exception of riding shotgun with the CHP officer and his name not being released for a year, he appears to have been treated like everyone else. Usually, people aren't booked for DUI unless they've done it before. Those who are booked don't get strip searched.

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Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Interesting that this police officer was paid $106,360 in 2009 (see Web Link). That would have paid for a lot of beers!

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Clearly, this officer has demonstrated that he can't hold his liquor well enough to be a cop, so he should be fired for that. A "real" cop wouldn't have rolled his car.

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Posted by Ed
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Chp puts arrested people in the front seat. I also learned that it is normal to release first time DUI offenders to a friend or family member..

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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Ed--I think the issue is the appearance of favorable treatment for this perp because he is a cop--the sitting up front, ride home, the quote from the PA police Lt Brown. I was also under the impression that if you refused a Breathalyzer test your license was suspended.
Bottom line--it looks to me and many others that he was treated way differently than if you or I would have done the same thing.

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Posted by Denese
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I am so tired of hearing that DUI check points are out to catch undocumented immigrants without license. You should not drive without a license at all. You want people who don't even speak the language and some cases don't understand the sinage to drive. I think not. DUI check points are there to keep intoxicated people off the road wheither they have papers or not.
Have you ever lost a love one especially a child to a drunk driver?

Until you have stop with the immigration mess and look at the lives it save.

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Posted by CHP info
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm

-CHP standard practice is to have arestees in the passenger seat.
- All police agencies, release DUI's to a sober family member or friend once they have compledted the testing on them.

He was treated like everybody else, except how many of us would have our BOSS (a sergeant) called to come pick us up from jail? I work in the tech. field and can't imagine what it would feel like to have my senior manager called to come pick me up from jail. In actuallity, my employer would never find out about it. I think the cop was treated fairly and actually even more harshly than a civillian.

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Posted by your mother
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm

You people are so quick to judge. I bet most of you people who have posted negative comments about this officer has someone in the family, or has a close friend that has been arrested for the same offense. And I bet none of you have cut ties with that family member or friend due to their lapse in judgement. The officer made a mistake and he paid for it. Plain and simple. As the article mentioned, he was taken off street duty, paid a fine like anyone else would, did weekend work, and got put on probation. What special treatment did he receive? A ride in the front seat to JAIL? WOW??? Really?!??!? The officer REALLY got one over on the system....

I believe the officer should be held to a higher standard. I also believe the officer is paying a higher price than any Joe Citizen would pay. How would you feel if you or your loved one got arrested for DUI, and they plastered your or your family's members name all over the newspaper? I can't imagine it being a good feeling. Can you imagine how embarrassed you would be?

If you people knew the law, you would know that a first time DUI offense where no one was hurt is classified as a misdemeanor. Therefore, prison time, as some of you people think he deserves, is out of the question. Prison time is reserved for felons, not first time MISDEMEANOR DUI offenders. I agree that driving under the influence is a potentially dangerous offense, but in the officer's case, no one was hurt.

And SVATOID, how did the officer refuse a breathalyzer test if his blood / alcohol level is listed in the article?

Let's not overlook the fact that he was pivotal in catching a child rapist. I think it's sad that we as humans always highlight and focus on the negative, not positive accomplishments of someone's life / career.

Give the guy break. I don't understand why this is such a big deal in our town. He paid for his mistake and now let's move onto to bigger and more important Palo Alto issues.

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Those who we entrust to uphold our laws should be liable for 10 times the penalty of the common man.

Anything less just invites corruption and hypocrisy.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Yeah, we get to be judgemental because he mightily screwed up.He wasn't just a little bit tipsy. He was drunk as a skunk, uncooperative and driving a large vehicle on the highway, which because he was so drunk, he flipped. So it's not like he was pulled over for a DUI, he caused major damage to his own vehicle. It was pure luck that he didn't hit anyone else.

Who cares if he helped catch Todd Burpee? That was doing his job.

He was trying to be evasive so that he didn't get into trouble, but he did. Baaaaad example, Officer DUI.

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Posted by kyle w.
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 1, 2010 at 7:58 pm

you know what all you people slamming this officer need a reality check! how bout every who posted here and the scum bag who wrote this article have there basic info, and any police related incedents posted on the front page and have their good names smeared! any body ever herd " he who has not sinned throw the first stone?" now im not saying he shouldnt have been punished( wich he was) but it was a mistake and nobody is perfect, NOBODY! People want to say mean things and call for his job? why? This officer is upstanding member of the comunity, he served honorably as member of the U.S.M.C. , during the war, He came home and never asked for sympathy, he got back on his feet and choose to just serve his country but his comunity as well, he has arrested DRUG DEALERS MURDERS GANG MEMBERS RAPIST ( and if we get specific a CHILD RAPIST)! he wasnt cut a break, he was punished bye the law, and by the department, HE SHOULD NOT LOOSE HIS JOB, we need officers like this , me personly i recived a DUI when i was younger, and i am a better person for it! it sucked but was a invaluable learning lesson, so in closing lighten up mind your own buisness, and as far as this officer goes, i have a 3 year old son, and he grew up too be half the man this officer is , i would be a very proud father!
let he has not sinned throw the first stone
god bless america
god bless the U.S.M.C.
god bless ALL police officers
and god bless this officer as well
thank you

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Posted by tvalu
a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:13 pm

he must be held to military standards, meaning ,he put ciotizens in danger. mutiny, attempted treason at least. thank you.

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Posted by JT
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Two key points the Post made in its story is that:

1. This guy got to ride in the passenger seat of the CHP unit.

2. That an on-duty (on the clock, being paid with our taxes) officer picked up this guy at the jail, presumably so he wouldn't have to actually spend time behind bars.

We need an outside investigation of the Palo Alto police department's handling of this case. Thank goodness we have a paper like the Daily Post to dig things like this out!

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Posted by Read, people
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:30 pm


1. It's been established that standard procedure for CHP is for arrestees to ride in front.

2. The on duty officer who picked him up did not do so to keep him out of jail, considering it's an offense that 99% of first time offenders are not booked for. They are released to a responsible, sober adult. As pointed out before, I'm sure the sergeant didn't make it a fun ride home. If I were a police officer I would rather my friend pick me up than a sergeant.

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Posted by me
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:36 pm

I heard this officers fine! He can pull me over any day.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Eric Anthony Bulatao was twice the legal alcohol limit by the time they actually tested him---how long after he crashed did they test him 1 hour-4 hours- 10 hours. He refused a test at the time of the crash-- does that not mean an automatic end of driving for one year and enhanced penalties combined with being twice the limit whenever he was in fact tested--possibly hours after he crashed--luck he did not kill a lot of innocent people.
Was this officer carrying or in possession of a loaded fire arm at the the time he was 2 times the limit and crashed his truck? that is a serious felony isn't it--we do not want drunks with guns in Palo Alto do we?
If Eric Anthony Bulatao had been an officer in our armed forces then a twice the legal limit DUI with a crash would have ended his career in the military at once --- why the double standard and why did it take a year for us to find out about this egregious act?

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Posted by x2 standard
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:03 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by homegirl
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm

He is an excellent Officer. He made a mistake. He was 26 years old at the time.
You all are really lacking in compassion and common sense here. A U.S. Marine, a Police Officer, and a brave young man is what we have here. Most people would have cut and run, but this is an honorable, brave man who faced his consequences... The Marine's wanted him back in a big way. He chose to stay to protect us here. Had he gone, it is very likely this incident would not have happened, but it is also very likely that Burpee (and numerous other perps) would not have been caught so quickly, if at all. Palo Alto was fortunate to have such an opportunity to hire him and keep him.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:43 pm

The fact is that if a A U.S. Marine Officer or any other Military Officer did what Eric Anthony Bulatao they would see the end of their career ASAP.
That is a fact, I am sure he can serve in some other capacity as a public servant but not armed and given the authority to kill.
To be twice the legal limit--- by the time he was actually tested--means that he drank an enormous amount of alcohol-- we are surprised the bar served him--
he could have called a taxi or gone to a hotel to sleep it off, or called a friend to drive him home---
there is no excuse for his behavior--
the military rules should apply.
Even if he were just a commercial pilot he would loose his license and face years of monitoring before he could get it back.

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Posted by silly
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Police should be held to the higher standard, I agree. Point is, he was... and dealt with it. But to think that they are not human is silly. To think that he should be punished greater than the average person is just dumb, not to mention unconstitutional. I do not know why anyone would want to be a cop with all the comments you yahoos make against this person, who has made your community safer. Way to say "thanks." According to the article, he took his punishment, criminally and from his job (more than any normal person would endure). Shame on all of you and your negative comments.

Sharon, you are always exposing your ignorance. Don't forget it is people like him that give you the freedom to blast him on a website. Show some respect

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Posted by Jan
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Wow, I agree with..."Posted by your mother, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood," re: the actions and ... It was handled well I'd say.

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Posted by Jenna Kareski
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm

In no way shape or form is it okay to drink and drive I think everyone can agree to that. Having said that I think he has paid his dues, learned his lesson, and we need to get over it. Ya a police officer made a bad choice on his own time, and was repremanded for it. The Palo Alto police Dept has stated he is doing an excellent job, and there are not further issues concerning this incident. How long does this guy need to be punished? We can go back and forth about what if he hurt or killed someone all night but he didnt, so its pointless. You guys talking about him being fired are crazy, Do any of you remember the Burpee case, and how this very same officer helped capture that guy who kidnapped and rapped that 17 yr old girl??? Hes probably a good officer who made a bad choice, and has paid for it. Can we just get over it and let him concentrate on becoming a better police officer. WHy dont you guys trip about something that actually needs a voice!

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Ultimately are Constitutional freedoms are protected by the US Military

The US Military rules are very clear-- any Officer in any Service who crashed their vehicle on a public road endangering innocent civilians while drunk to the extent of twice the legal limit would be fired with a possible dishonorable discharge after serving time in the brig-- that is the reality.
To achieve twice the legal limit you have to drink a huge amount of alcohol, Eric Anthony Bulatao did that and then he chose to drive--
crashed his car and endangered innocent peoples lives.
The US Military does not tolerate such behavior nor should we.
There is a huge difference between .08 and .16---
.08 is impaired-- .16 is lethal-- this is not a trivial matter

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Posted by Anon
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm

To say the least, I am willing to bet that the involved officer has learned a lesson. Just a reminder though, his JOB is being a police officer. He wasn't at work when he committed the offense. Why demand his career? I'm sure there are doctors, lawyers, reporters, politicians, etc who have been arrested for DUI (or other things). Everybody makes mistakes, so to hold him to a higher standard is unreasonable. And for those that feel he should be fired, fined, and essentially fried, you should probably look in the mirror and ask yourself why you are so angry.
People get mad at cops because they write tickets and arrest them. Fact is, if you don't want to be arrested / ticketed then you probably shouldn't break the law. You demand that the Police do their job, as long as their job doesn't prevent you from rolling through a stop sign, or making that yellow light, talking on your cell phone while driving.
I am sure he's a good guy. He served his country and now he's serving his community (although all too often communities detest police presence unless someone is using a leaf blower on a Sunday afternoon) Leave him alone. The biggest problem with the Military / Police is that the media feels the need to broadcast things that most people don't want to know about. "The people have a right to know" They do if it affects them. If it in no way directly impacts their immediate lives, then no they don't. They call that Operational Security. One more thing, his "not cooperating" with the CHP seems to me like he was exercising his 5th Amendment right. (a person shall not be compelled in any criminal case to be called to be a witness against himself) That's what they are there for.
It truly is sad that the citizens of the greatest nation on Earth are demanding a public servant's head for a mistake and rallying behind a Senator who was upset that she was called "ma'am".
-God Bless

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Posted by sandy
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Sharon, of all the people that have made comments are by far the most ignorant. I respect your freedom of speech, but when you choose to past judgement against someone you have never met, specifically a person who chooses a carrer in public service, you should probably do your homework in knowing the law and an ounce about the military. Now I've never met this officer and won't get into details about my opinions on him, but I do feel the neccesity to point out some errors in your statements.

First off, the "Breathalyzer" that the officer refused to submit to at the crash scene, is OPTIONAL! You are not required, unless on DUI probation to submit to one. It has absolutely no affect on your license or your arrest.

Second off, a blood same must be taken at least 3 hours from the intial contact, or the case will be thrown out, and obviously it was not.

Third off, if the officer had a gun that would obviously be in the report, and it wasn't, so why ask that question.

Fourth off, if you don't want drunks with guns in Palo Alto, then how about you walk over to East Palo Alto and tell them to stop coming over.

Fifth off, you obviously have never served in the Marines let alone the military. Then you would know that Marine Officers, Staff Non-Commisioned officers, Non-Commisioned officers get DUI's all over the world pretty much daily. Is it the end of their carrer? No. There may be a reduction in pay grade, restricted duty, a bad fit/rep but life goes on and sooner or later they can recover from it. Marines are taught to never give, and keep fighting. A mistake on the battlefield may pause the momentum, but will not end the fight.

Sixth off, if military rules applied, then this would never make news, because people who demand information about people may work in the civilan world, but in the military world..They will tell you to please leave the area, in not so nice words.

I respect your free speech, but please show some respect and if you choose to slander, know what the hell your saying!!

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Posted by silly
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I agree with Sharon, let's make this town a military state, with all rules and reg's applicable to everyone.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm


The point is that by the rules of the US Armed Forces an officer who did what Eric Anthony Bulatao did would be fired.
He knew the rules and he should face the consequences---
.16 is a huge amount of alcohol.
It is twice the limit.
He would not be allowed to serve as an officer in the US Military after such behavior and he should not be allowed to serve in the PAPD.
He may need help-- and he may be a nice guy --but that is a different matter.
He needs to leave the PAPD as a patrol officer-- he could have an unarmed desk job---- look at the liability we face as a City?
it could be in the S10s of Millions at least.
We need to have high standards and enforce them--at least as high as the US Military

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Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Officer Eric Anthony Bulatao should have been fired. The year long cover-up is a disgrace to the PAPD.

If I ever encounter Bulatao, I will NOT recognize him as a police officer, but rather a deadbeat drunk.

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Posted by homegirl
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Thanks to all above who support this former anonomous Officer.
Sharon, no claim was made that he was an Officer in the Military. Clearly, you have no idea what the structure is in any organization having to do with U.S. Military or Law Enforcement, so your Monday morning quarterbacking really has no foundation. Please just be grateful of the women and men who choose to dedicate their lives to the pursuit of Life, Libety, and the pursuit of Happiness. These are fellow humans who work for you, whether or not you are legal, law abiding, pay taxes or are of the masses theat are chronically critical of the system that works to protect the society we choose to be a part of. Sleep well knowing that you have an excellent Police Department looking out for everyone's well being.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:38 pm

@Posted by homegirl

The claim was made that Officer Eric Anthony Bulatao was a US Marine---
In that case he knows the rules for Marine Officers-- a DUI with .16 on a civilian road when you crash your truck and endanger the lives of US civilians it is the end of your career as a Marine Officer.
To get .16 Eric Anthony Bulatao would have to have drunk 9+ drinks---that is a very lot of alcohol.
He had many options beside driving--- was he drinking alone?
If the claim that he was a US Marine is false-- that is a much more serious matter.

As Palo Alto tax payers we expect very high standards from our public servants- and we pay them very, very well-- so we expect them to live up to and exceed those standards.
Eric Anthony Bulatao failed those standards and his superiors did not notify the Palo Alto tax payers of the matter in a timely manner--- we take these issues very seriously.

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:40 pm

>> Yes, drinking and driving is wrong. But at least the Palo Alto police department is doing something about it by setting up DUI checkpoints all across town!

Ah ... that is just plain weird. A person we hire as a police officer needs to be better than your average drunk.

Also ... he did not just drive drunk, he crashed his car while he was driving drunk.

I hate to say it, but there were times in my life when I was kid that I drove when I had been drinking. I tried hard and I think I drove safe, and I never got caught, I never got in an accident, I never got a ticket got a ticket, but had I gotten in an accident I think that puts things in a completely different universe. It is not just an everyone makes mistakes kind of thing.

At the very least take him off active duty and put him at a desk and reduce his pay and power. There is just no excuse for rolling your car except being completely out of control ... and I do not want that giving me a speeding ticket, or following me down the street.

I mean I cannot believe the decisions made in this city by the police. Is it really so hard to find police officers that do not do things like this ... is this the real takeway from this story?

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Posted by Sara
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2010 at 12:13 am

Officer Guilteri......BLUE FALCON..........

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Posted by Mike
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2010 at 12:22 am

Like previous people have stated, everyone makes mistakes including cops. Drinking and driving is a bad thing, but a much common occurrence in this society, luckily no one was injured or killed including himself.

This officer was held to a much higher standard than most people in his punishment. He was arrested, went to court, paid his fines, subjected to another investigation in his department and was disciplined accordingly. It happened awhile ago and is over with now!

At the end of the article it stated that this officer caught a child rapist who received 43 to life in prison. He caught a man who could still be roaming the streets of PA and raping and harming innocent victims. Its seems like this guy is an excellent cop and an extremely valuable asset to PAPD and PA.

He was already punished and I'm sure he learned his lesson and will never drink and drive again. He made a mistake and paid for it. Let him get on with his life and continue protecting the people of PA. If this officer is punished further or fired because of this ridiculous article, the people of Palo Alto will lose a great police officer and valuable asset to this community.

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Posted by Why?
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 2, 2010 at 12:41 am

I don't understand why this article? It doesn't make any sense at all to post because all has been dealt with and taken care of. I also believe that the thread should be restricted to registered users to eliminate garbage that's being posted on here. This is ridiculous.

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Posted by well
a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 2, 2010 at 3:30 am

at my last place i lived i was thown in jail while throwing away my trash..some of these cops do not know what they are doing...they need to be taken off completely...they never offerd me to go hom withn feet away to get my wallet and so on...this smells...

i have filed police reports and so on and never recieved a response till almost a year later. the Mr. Perron thought these cops were not well within their norm to arrest while they were searching for suspects..i was at home for crying out loud..there is more to this but i am done...

Gennaco is not the answer i went to him for help he avoided me..

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Posted by Antoine Dodson
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2010 at 7:28 am

So everyone who gets a DUI is now an alcoholic in need of treatment? Please.

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Posted by Scott
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 2, 2010 at 8:57 am

Thanks for the good work by the Daily Post to uncover this story. Sounds like it was made unreasonably difficult by the police and the courts. I, for one, would like to know who is responsible for making it impossible to uncover this incident for a year. Can the Weekly report on who is in charge of the department that made the "5 arrest reports a day" rule? Thanks to both the Weekly and the Post for bringing this to the public's attention.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2010 at 9:13 am

Public employee - so arrest is of interest to the public.
It's concerning since driving is part of this job and you want responsible people driving.

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Posted by homegirl
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2010 at 9:33 am

Just to clarify, A Military Officer is someone of a certain rank, like Major, or Captain.
Your average person in the military is NOT an Officer. And most people in the Military at this point have fought on the streets of Iraq or Afghanastan, for us here at home that enjoy the freedoms you take for granted.

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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 2, 2010 at 10:56 am

The fact that he has made a mistake is irrelevant. The issue was that, unlike any other citizen, he was shielded and treated preferentially because he was a cop.
The Daily Post reports today that many experts say he got special treatment.

Your mother:
"How would you feel if you or your loved one got arrested for DUI, and they plastered your or your family's members name all over the newspaper?"
I believe that is the case--don;t many newspapers release names of people arrested for DUI? His name was kept secret and the PAPD impeded the release of his name to the newspapers.

"And SVATOID, how did the officer refuse a breathalyzer test if his blood / alcohol level is listed in the article?"
He was uncooperative when arrested at the scene. His test was done hours later--who knows what his real B/A level was at the time he was zooming down 101 in a large vehicle, endangering those he is sworn to protect.

"Let's not overlook the fact that he was pivotal in catching a child rapist."
What he has done as a cop is irrelevant. He knew the law. He chose to drive in an extremely intoxicated state and he got preferential treatment. He deserves all the humiliation he is getting now.

Read People:
"It's been established that standard procedure for CHP is for arrestees to ride in front."
No, it is established that if there is no cage in the back seat then the perp rides in the front. According to today's Daily Post, it is not clear as of yet what kind of cruiser took him to jail. Also the question is was he cuffed? Or was he given more preferential treatment

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2010 at 11:25 am

"so he should be fired" Not so, it costs the City over $100,000 to put a recruit through the Police Academy, have him ride along with an FTO for several months, and pay him for a year of training.

As a tax payer in Palo Alto I say we have invested too much of our tax dollars to get this individual out on the street. Discipline yes, confine him to do desk duty for several months but I want my tax dollars spent getting him safely back on the street.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2010 at 12:19 pm

To get .16 Eric Anthony Bulatao would have to have drunk 9+ drinks in a relativity short period of time. 5 drinks is considered binge drinking.
.16 counts as Extreme DUI in many jurisdictions leading severe penalties.
If Eric Anthony Bulatao had a pilots license he would have to notify the FAA and his permission to fly could be suspended or revoked.
If he were a commercial pilot he would be fired and would have a very serious problem ever being hired again as a commercial pilot.
An MD would also risk their license and would be closely monitored with random testing if they were lucky.
It is fortunate that Bulatao did not make it to the freeway where he could have killed more than one person-- in which he would have been charged with DUI Homicide and spend 20 + years in State Prison.

At the very least Bulatao should be assigned to a desk job with an ankle monitor for 12 months and his firearm privileges closely monitored.
After this probationary 12 months his case could be reviewed publicly.

9+ drinks in a public bar followed by driving is completely irresponsible behavior and we will not tolerate it in the PAPD--- the policy should be Zero tolerance.

The question of whether he was in possession of a firearm after 9+ drinks has still not been answered.

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Posted by puhleasee
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

he rolls his truck on the freeway and didnt know what city he was in. you call that ''a valuable asset to his community''!! schwartzenegger just signed bill that only allows fine for cannabis ,no criminal record. thats is the only rational thing. not drunken cops!

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Posted by Aram James
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

The first and foremost duty of the PAPD is to serve and protect the people of Palo Alto, not to provide special/favored treatment to an arrested off-duty officer. Lt. Brown's and Chief Burns’ explanation to the Daily Post-- on this subject, raise troubling questions re their credibility.

October 1, 2010

Hi Tony,

Thanks for taking time to review my piece. Yes, Sandra Brown's comments to the Daily Post, back in February of this year, were outrageously reckless, untruthful and irresponsible. Similarly, the comments attributed to her in today's Daily Post are equally troubling.

(1) When Lt. Brown was asked about PAPD Sgt. Zack Perron, while on duty, driving to San Jose-- to pick up officer Bulatao from the county jail, to then drive Bulatao home-- she is quoted as follows: “We take care of our people."

(1a) I have no problem with a friend or colleague picking up a fellow officer from the jail while off duty, but here, Sgt. Perron (while on duty), apparently abandoned his duties to the citizens of Palo Alto, drove to San Jose, picked up the off duty citizen Bulatao-- and then transported him home.

***** The first and foremost duty of the PAPD is to serve and protect the people of Palo Alto, not to provide special/favored treatment to an arrested off-duty officer. Chief Burns’ explanation to the Daily Post, on this subject, is equally troubling:

****Burns comments on the subject were" was appropriate for Perron to drive Bulatao home because of concerns for Bulatao's safety...

****Bulatao was not injured or arrested due to conduct on the job, but rather for conduct off the job. And Burns suggestion that it was appropriate for on-duty Sgt. Perron to leave his post-- to travel to San Jose, to transport private citizen Bulatao home--- is badly misguided policy and smacks of attempting to cover-up the cover-up.

(1b) Need I say, no other citizen is treated this way. Anyone arrested for DUI in Palo Alto and then transported to the county jail, in San Jose, is on their own when released. I doubt that the Palo Alto Police Department is there to pick up the released arrestee and transport him/her home when released, due to safety concerns. Oh Please!!!!! Burns' comments are hogwash.

Need I say, that given the limited number of Palo Alto officers that are on duty during any given shift ( and given current budget concerns) , it is very problematic that and on-duty sergeant-- would leave his post to give a friend, or off duty colleague, a ride home.

(1c) Left unanswered is who paid for the time Perron was off handling a private matter while on city time? Was Peron docked pay for his conduct? Is officer Bulatao being asked to pay back the taxpayers for the time Sgt. Perron took--- to pick him up and transport Bulatao from the county jail to his home, and for Peron's trip and time back to Palo Alto? Any guesses?

(1d) How far does such a policy extend? If the accident and arrest had happened in Gilroy, would Peron have been allowed to do the same thing? What if the accident had happened out of county and the CHP had contacted the on-duty Sgt. Perron, would it have still been permissible for Sgt. Perron to leave his post to retrieve officer Bulatao?

(2) Lt. Brown also commented to the Post that news of Bulatao's arrest would damage Bulatao young career. One might ask how would that damage be any different had the disclosure of his arrest---been made in a timely fashion.?

(2a) Isn't one of the standard consequences of a DUI arrest potential damage to one's reputation and career? Is Lt. Brown suggesting that an officer who is arrested for a DUI should avoid the stigma attached to such an arrest? -wouldn't any other citizen expect to suffer such damage to career and reputation when arrested for a DUI?? Anyone smell a double standard here?

(3) In fact, I suggest that had the disclosure of Bulatao's arrest been made public, at the time of his arrest-- that Mr. Bulatao's career would be subject to potentially less damage. Why you might ask?

(3a) Here by the management of the PAPD covering up the arrest the public is now much less trusting of this department (and the officer by implication). By forcing the press to spend much time and money to track down this information--- once it was actually disclosed--- it now becomes front page news--- arguably putting much more attention and mistrust on both the officer and the department.

In any event, I am much angrier with the Dennis Burns, Lt. Brown, James Keene and the management of the PAPD ,then I am with officer Bulatao.

I agree that one arrest and conviction for a misdemeanor DUI should not automatically be cause for firing. What is troubling here is that the management of the PAPD --with the complicity of the city manager and the city council--- allowed the PAPD to cover-up, for a 12-14 month period---a very series potential public safety risk to the people of Palo Alto.

When any public employee --but certainly a police officer with a duty to enforce the law, engages in criminal conduct, the people of the community should be entitled to know of such criminal conduct in a timely manner, and to then be able to monitor that employee's conduct to minimize the chances that the officer yet again puts the public safety at risk.

If, as the Daily Post article suggests, officer Bulatao had a positive career path before his arrest-- and subsequently has not violated the terms of his three year long probation, and is otherwise carrying himself in a professional manner --he should be allowed to do his job without undue attention or harassment.

On the other hand --the people who pay his salary, the citizens of this community, should be able to monitor his conduct--- to ensure that officer Bulatao does not in the future injury or kill someone due to his unchecked drinking--- and or failure to comply with his probation.

Aram James

P.S. I know of at least two current public defender who have misd. DUI convictions( both excelent attorneys) and they were not fired from their jobs. ( Mark Dames is one of them--represented Victor Frost at trial). I believe in rehablitation--both for cops and public defenders).

Hey Aram,

Nice job. I think another point to make is Sandra Brown's remark that the department did not want to tarnish the officer's promising career by being identified as a drunk driver. How come she is not concerned about the hundreds of citizens who are arrested for the same offense and have their careers tarnished by the PAPD posting their names not after they have been convicted but only after they had been arrested? This guy was drunk off his rocker crashing his vehicle and the PAPD picks him up from jail and conceals the incident. Do you think if he crashed his vehicle and killed someone in the process while in Palo Alto, that his fellow Palo Alto cops would have covered it up?



(Originally sent to Mark Petersen Perez on February 22, 2010—includes new language.)

It’s time the city council order city manager James Keene--to direct Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns, to draft a policy that requires immediate disclosure to the press and the public anytime a member of the Palo Alto Police Department is arrested. To require anything less is to turn a blind eye to the public safe concerns that failure to release such information implicates.


Dear City Council:

Why would any department be proud of a DUI convicted officer (and why would that same department allow someone like Lt. Sandra Brown---apparently acting in the capacity as the department's spokesperson-spinmister --try to get over on the public--- by stretching credibility to the breaking point and by attempting to turn truth on its head)?

Lt Brown’s suggestion that when an officer of the PAPD is arrested or convicted of a DUI that they should be held to a different standard then the rest of us, is simply untenable on its face.

The truth is once arrested (any of us, cop, or non-cop) the information re the arrest, becomes public under the California Public Records Act--see California Government Code & 6254 (f) (1).

Law enforcement agencies must make available to the public the following information about individuals the agency has arrested. In addition to other information mandated to be released, pursuant to the public records act, the following must be released:

The full name and occupation of every individual arrested by the agency.
As such --this officer's name has no doubt already been published (made public) in the local police blotter and or newspaper --in the town and county where he/she was arrested.

By failing to provide this information the PAPD is simply engaged in a delay tactic--hoping that the press, and or some other entity--- is simply unwilling or unable to track down the information that has already been made public.

In other words, the PAPD is playing cat and mouse with the public trust--hoping that the controversy will simple go away without anyone tracking down the information that has already been made public.

In the Daily Post of February 16, 2010, in an article tiled: When a cop gets a DUI: Lt. Sandra Brown made the false and misleading claim that for the PAPD to release the name of the officer would be an unwarranted invasion of his privacy. In fact she is quoted in the piece as follows:

"We all have our right to privacy, we are all human and we all make mistakes, no matter who writes our paycheck," said Brown.

Lt. Sandra Brown knows this is not true. Every day when a member of her department makes an arrest such information becomes public by way of the department’s police blotter and in the press who reports such arrests.

Lt. Brown comments, suggest, misleadingly, that somehow police officers are above the law and are entitled to more privacy then other individuals arrested. The truth is just the opposite --police are entitled to the same level of privacy as any other individual arrested, no more and no less.

In fact, a case can be made that once a person takes on a high profile public position --their privacy interest must be balanced against the public's right to know. Thus when one decides to work in the public sector, in a public safety position, one in effect understands their actions will be subject to a higher level of public scrutiny then someone employed in the private sector. And in fact, that is what is contemplated by the California Public Records Act:

Note... "Cases interpreting the CPRA also have emphasized that its primary purpose is to give the public an opportunity to monitor the functioning of their government. The greater and more unfettered the public official's power, the greater the public's interest in monitoring the governmental action" (Cited from California Attorney General’s Office Summary of the California Public Records Act 2004, at page 3).

Clearly the job of police officer carries the very kind of unfettered discretion the CPRA concerns itself with.

“Law enforcement officers carry upon their shoulders the cloak of authority to enforce the laws of the state. In order to maintain trust in its police department, the public must be kept fully informed of the activities of its peace officers.” Bradbury v. Superior Court 49 Cal.App. 4th 1108, 1116, (1996)

Lt. Sandra Brown –yet again attempts to turn both common sense and the truth on its head with the following comments attributed to her in the same post article:

Police Palo Alto would not have to attend mandatory alcohol counseling for a drunken driving conviction, and an officer who had been convicted of drunken driving would still be allowed to make drunken driving arrests, as a matter of public safety, said Brown. (Note: also in the same article--- comments attributed to Lt. Sandra Brown suggest the DUI officer would not be subject to random checks for alcohol.)

So think about the implications of the above comments: we are led to believe by Lt Brown that it is a matter of public safety that a convicted DUI officer should be allowed to make drunk driving arrests, while at the same time not being subject to random drinking tests himself--or mandatory DUI classes for his DUI conviction. Does this absurd suggestion by Lt. Brown make you feel safer?

Common sense suggests that absent disclosure of the officer’s name, absent a clean bill of health re this officer having completed mandatory DUI classes, and absent random tests to ensure that the officer is not drinking on the job—it is the officer and the department--- that allows him to continue on the job-- that is the public safety threat—not the other way around.

Lt. Sandra Brown’s further suggestion that not allowing this officer to conduct DUI arrests, until he has been subject to all of the above programs and testing, would somehow implicate public safety is disingenuous and reckless at best—and at worse a blatant attempt to put over a big-time-lie on the public her department is sworn to serve and protect.

One final bit of irony—this is the same Lt. Sandra Brown who apparently now supervises internal affairs, and oversees citizen complaints filed against fellow members of the PAPD. Given Lt. Brown’s obvious contempt for both the public trust and the truth–it does not inspire one’s confidence that citizen complaints will be taken seriously by this department.

It’s time that the PAPD release the name of the convicted DUI officer now! Justice, fair play and public safety demand such a result.


Aram James

P.S. It’s time the city council order city manager James Keene--to direct Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns, to draft a policy that requires immediate disclosure to the press and the public any time a member of the Palo Alto Police Department is arrested. To require anything less is to turn a blind eye to the public safe concerns that failure to release such information implicates.

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Posted by Susie
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Wow, there sure are alot of perfect people out there living in glass houses...yeah, all of you posting these ridiculous posts demanding firing, prison, etc. So none of you ever did something really stupid that you wish you could take back? This man took his punishment from the courts, which was very much the same as any other first time DUI offender-AND also took his punishment from his employer, which most of you would never have to experience. He fell on his sword and took responsibility for his actions, also which most of you would probably never do. If every doctor who made a mistake in a diagnosis or prescription (which is also life threatening) was fired and jailed, would that be reasonable? You want our police to be human, but they can't make a mistake...get over yourselves and get real. If you hate them that much, then don't call them. See how that goes for ya...

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Any MD, Pilot,Military Officer, person with High Security Clearance in Government who was convicted of Extreme DUI, that is above .15, would face severe consequences to their respective careers and if they were still in probationary period of employment---- as in Eric Anthony Bulataos case they would be fired immediately.

Carrying a firearm with at BAC of .16 is a very serious offense indeed-- a Felony I believe.

Was Eric Anthony Bulatao in possession of a firearm when he was drunk, crashed his car and refused a breath test-- did not even know which town he was in

He has no place in PAPD

Did he have a gun in his possession or in his truck when he was blind drunk?
We need an answer to that question-- we do not want armed blind- drunk cops-- in Palo Alto

The cover up in this case is an outrage and thanks to the press for starting to break the cover up--we need more aggressive reporting on this case

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm

And there he goes...always out to sling mud at the PD and see what sticks. He managed to hit one out of the park on the Chief a few years ago. Going for another one? If he is so perfect why doesn't HE go out every day and risk his life to protect and serve a largely ungrateful public? Not to say what the Officer did was right, it was stupid and wrong. Really, REALLY stupid. DEAD wrong. But at least most of us, when we make a mistake, don't have to have people like Aram James watching us. People who want to take us down, to publicly ridicule us. To use our mistakes as a reason to go after not only us, but the people with whom we work.

If you want public accountability for this transgression, then let us post the name and occupation of EVERY Palo Altan ever arrested for DUI, no matter what their job. Apparently Mr. James won't be on that list, he's perfect.

Some fault should go to the Old Pro too. It's not like they cut people off who are drinking too much. I have personally watched them serve people too drunk to stand up. Profit is the bottom line there. You want to scream about responsibility to the public? Then hold the drinking establishment at fault too.

And there goes fireman again, the disgruntled fired City employee getting back any way he can. In slanderous posts naming people without really knowing the facts. Wait until someone posts HIS name on here, see how HE likes it. His profanity at the end of his sentence must be when he ran out of intelligible words.

I'm with many perfect people living in such perfect glass houses. Palo Alto, beautiful City. Pity about the prevailing supercilious holier-than-thou attitude. Really stinks the place up.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm

As Palo Alto home owners, parents, tax payers and voters we feel that Eric Anthony Bulatao should leave the PAPD.

1/ He was convicted of Extreme DUI twice the limit.

2/ He was not pulled over he crashed his truck, luckily he did not kill many people

3/ Any case he was or would be involved in is now in jeopardy, a PAPD officer who would drink 10+ drinks and score .16 on BAC hours later has no credibility-- defense attorneys can question his credibility in all cases he has been involved in--- this could cost us many, many millions of dollars.
It would take 36+ hours to metabolize 10 drinks-- even a truck driver, school bus driver, pilot etc would not pass the test 36 hours after such a massive alcohol consumption--- 10 drinks? that is a very serious issue indeed. BAC of .08 is impairment-- .16 is lethal--he needs to go.

4/ He has destroyed the reputation of PAPD, most of them are great but there are bad apples-- the cover up in this matter involves bad apples-- they need to go also

5/We as tax payers pay the PAPD a lot of money and we have a right to to demand accountability.

We need to think in terms of out sourcing-- we could hire security guards for 1/4 the price to cover most of the needs-- go to any coffee shop-- or apparently the Old Pro and you will see the PAPD wasting tax payer money.

Enough is enough---

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Clearly we need the State Attorney General to investigate this matter.
It is very serious, the press and media should shine a clear spotlight on this matter and keep reporting until we get to the truth-- that is their job--keep it up!

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2010 at 8:45 pm

We need to think in terms of out sourcing-- we could hire security guards for 1/4 the price to cover most of the needs-- go to any coffee shop-- or apparently the Old Pro and you will see the PAPD wasting tax payer money.

Really Sharon? You would deny a police officer the same right you enjoy to have an adult beverage (when off duty) or to take a break for a cup of coffee? I have lived in this City almost 40 years, and I must say that I haven't seen many cops hanging around coffee shops since the 70's.

In many large corporations, such as IBM, and in many professions there is help for people going through a tough time and leaning toward alcohol or mind altering substances. There is help within their professions for Doctors, Lawyers and others in a position of responsibilty for others. I am sure this officer has had to get a lot of help before being considered fit for duty on the street. Do you personally know his situation? Do you have the right to judge? Would you like someone commenting on every mistake you have ever made, without true and correct knowledge of the facts?

Before you call for a person to lose their job in this awful economy, especially a person who would have to stand between YOU and a lawbreaker, perhaps you should be in full possessions of the FACTS.

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2010 at 9:20 pm

The officer was held accountable, he was suspended and completed the mandated requirements before coming back to patrol. He was not let off with a simple slap on the wrist. Guess reading comprehension is not a strong suit on this thread.

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Posted by Aram James
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Palo Alto’s Independent Auditor’s role in the DUI cover-up- letter originally sent to Mike Gennaco on February 10, 2010


(Aram’s response to IPA Michael Gennaco’s comments (see in blue below) to Aram—dated 2/10/2010)

Mike (Michael Gennaco Palo Alto Independent Police Auditor):
We disagree on both points. If you or I as ordinary citizens are ever arrested for a DUI it would be reported in the local police blotter ASAP--- regardless of whether ultimately we are acquitted or convicted of the offense. I have to believe you are aware of this Mike!

You should immediately disclose the name of the PAPD officer convicted of the DUI--your continued obstruction and obfuscation on this matter is unacceptable and you know it.

Your failure to disclose the name of the officer makes you part of the cover-up. If God forbid this officer injures or kills someone on the job, due to an unresolved alcohol problem –you become responsible, Mike!

You're not here as the IPA to run interference for the Police Department, but rather to act as an objective “Independent” oversight body. Once again (like when you were on the Taser Task Force-- and did whatever you could to guide the task force in the direction of selecting Tasers), you have apparently put your own job security and close relationship with the PAPD-- above your job title.
As for you attending last night’s secret meeting of the Police Citizen Advisory Board (and apparently speaking to this group re your function as an IPA, and reviewing past IPA reports with the group) you have it backwards again:
Your job --contractually/legally (shame on you for trying to hide behind the contract for justifying what I believe is your misconduct in this situation) is to act as an independent oversight body.
And—again---you have failed miserably in that function by attending this secret meeting, rather than advising Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns, the city council, HRC members who have participated in these secret meetings, the local press, and the people of Palo Alto that it is intolerable to hold such meeting behind closed doors.
Secret meeting involving public policy flies directly in the face of the First Amendment to the Constitution (which includes—the right of the citizens to be fully informed and to debate the merits of both sides of any police policy matters related to their police department).

Here, as a reminder, I will quote the relevant language from the seminal U.S. Supreme Court Case--- New York Times v Sullivan 376 U.S 254 (1964), the case on the right of individuals and the press to openly criticize government officials-- and to openly debate the pros and cons of government policy impacting the lives of all individuals in this country:

“Thus we consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principal that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”
By failing to demand that Dennis Burns open the meetings of the PAPD Advisory Board to public scrutiny and debate (and by your attendance at this secret meeting after I asked you not to), --- you (Michael Gennaco) are complicit in the violation of the principals of law re these critical first amendment issues/rights, as set out above, in New York Times v. Sullivan. Your claim/defense that your contract made you do it –is no excuse for violating the law and the public trust.

Justice Louis Brandeis’s famous dissent in Whitney v. California (1927) (some claim it is one of the most important statements every on the case for freedom of speech), is also relevant to your conduct and the continued closing of the police advisory board to public and press scrutiny: In relevant part here are some of Brandeis’s comments:

“Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties; and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. [Note 2] They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law--the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed.”

By failing to demand that the Secret Police Advisory Board meet in public-- consistent with all the other boards and commissions in the city of Palo Alto, you have abdicated your responsibility as our IPA.

Your conduct, in attending this secret meeting, despite public opposition and ongoing questions re whether the meetings should be open-- put the IPA rubber stamp of approval on Dennis Burns’ unconscionable position that such a board --dealing as it does with sensitive and critical police practices issues --should be allowed to remain secret away from the oversight and debate that the First Amendment demands. You should make a public apology to the city council and all the citizens, and others-- who have been excluded from these meetings—and acknowledge that you had no business attending this meeting

Mike I am hereby requesting that you immediately do the following:
(1) That consistent with the mandate of your office and as a stand in support of public safety that you immediately disclose the name of the PAPD officer convicted of a DUI
(2) I call upon you to take back the integrity of IPA and immediately make public what took place at last night's secret meeting of the Palo Alto Police Advisory Board.
(3) Immediately advise the city council that to maintain the trust of the citizens of Palo Alto, and to uphold the First Amendment Rights of the both public and Press to be fully informed re the working of its government-- (In addition in order to be in compliance with the mandate of both the Brown Act and the Public Act) that all future meetings of Palo Alto Police Advisory Board be held in public and subject to the rules of both the CPRA and the Brown Act,.

Aram James


Regarding the DUI case, I think there is one important point that has been forgotten. It was the IPA that brought this incident to the attention of the public. If it were not for our report, you would have never learned about the incident. Consistent with our mandate, we will report the way in which the Department responded to the act administratively, which again, were it not for the IPA, you would never know about.

As reported in the media, your views that my attending the Committee meeting last night showed bias on behalf of the police is absurd. I have a contractual responsibility to learn what the Department has been doing in response to addressing the controversial comments made by the former Chief. The Department touts the Committee as part of its response to that controversy. It would be remiss for me to not learn to what degree the Committee is addressing the issues coming out of that controversy.

Michael Gennaco

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm

The police blotter does not reveal the names of the people arrested on DUI. Why the exception for a police officer but for the fact that you have personally appointed yourself not as a watchdog, but as a crusader against the police department? I guess you are our own little Palo Alto version of DeBug.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm

This matter has been referred to the State Attorney Generals Office and will go further--- heads will roll--fast

10 alcoholic drinks is a very, very serious issue.
Our US Military has a limit of 2 drinks on base in the US and Zero in the Navy on ships.

Getting pulled over for weaving with a BAC of .08 is serious.
Crashing your truck with a .16 is lethal--- did he have a fire arm/ gun?

Any way, it is in the the State Attorney hands right now -- but the local press need to keep us informed and dig deeper--there is a Pulitzer in this--maybe -- good work so far- if a little late-- we need more background and interviews-- the exposure for Palo Alto tax payers could be in the tens of millions of dollars in this case.

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Posted by Aram James
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Hey Disgusted:
Check out the Daily Post report of arrests contained in the daily police blotter, and tell me those arrested for DUI don't have their names reported.

See also: California Goverment Code & 6254 (f) (1): Law enforcment agencies must make available to the public the following information about individuals the agency has arrested:

(1) The full name and occupation of every individual arrested by the agency;
(2) The indiviual's physical description, including date of birth, color of eyes and hair,height and weight;
(3) The time and date of arrest and booking;
(4) The location of the arrest and the factual circumstances surounding it;
(5) The amount of bail;
(6) the time and manner of release or the place where the individual is currently being held;
(7) All charges on which the individual is being held, including any outstanding warrants from other jurisdictions and or parole and probation holds.

Aram James

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Sharon? Where is is stated, anywhere, that this officer ingested ten drinks? Post your source, and confirm it's validity before you continue throwing out your so-called 'facts.'

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Posted by Carlito waysm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2010 at 10:15 pm

My fellow Palo Altans just in case you care:

Double standards when applying the law, been around for quite some time. Of course it is outrageous when the ones enforcing the laws are the ones that get the benefit of it by trying to cover and protect their own from the prying eyes of the media and the citinzenry that pays their salaries, and still they boast it while doing that: "we take care of our own" . In this case the PAPD and the County dragged their feet for over a year just to release the name of the drunk cop, ignoring "the right to know " of the press and the public.

Quite a few posters whom I find suspiciously biased(most likely cops relatives) mention that the drunk cop got the right punishment.
Really? a right punishment for a cop for sure, but not for the rest of the population .
And then they want us to cut him some slack, and give him a free pass because of all his past career in the military, and how he fought for us to have this freedom and all the good things, blah, blah, blah, and how he caught a rapist and blah, blah, blah.
To those out there who may not know, a Police Officer is one of those very few proffessions that require a stellar clean norm of conduct in the job and outside the job,and they abide to follow the law as any citizen without expecting to have a preferential treatment because of their position, unless they are following the same path as the military in their recruiting process that now allows an inmate to sign up for service, due to the hardship the military was having in meeting their recruitment quotas they lowered their stantards and started accepting people with criminal records .

What about the Police Auditor: may as well be none, the Police Auditor is good for nothing just gives lip service to the police, and frankly the only way it could benefit Palo Alto is by getting rid of it, at least we will save some money .

So spare me of telling me how great this wayno cop is and that "liberty fighting" thing he has done previously in his military career, and how he should be handled with affection; just a bunch of crap. A police officer is to be held to a higher standard of conduct,and if they break the law, the law is to be applied with all its mighty weight, and those who tried to cover it up should be prosecuted as well, only then the citizenry will see that we are no second class citizens when applying the law is inferred.

Lets make the PAPD slogan: To protect and serve the citizenry.

Instead of : To protect and serve all cops who break the law.

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2010 at 10:17 pm

@WHY? It's called 'Freedom of Speech', whether or not you agree with the content. It's one of the last freedoms we have left. If you can't handle the opinions of others, then don't read them. It's people like you, who call for the monitoring of comments as well as the identity of the poster who make me far more nervous than the more outrageous posters on this forum.

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Yo police officers in my family. In fact, I've probably had more negative run in's with cops than the average person. Was married to one too. Can't say I feel any allegiance based on that unfortunate misalliance. I just know a witch-hunt when I see one. BTW, did you know that a person can have a misdemeanor on their record and still be hired on as a cop? And I'm wondering, are you saying that the punishment for committing a misdemeanor for him should be different than the punishment for anyone else? Wow, must be tough to live within your perfect sphere.

In truth, if this cop was actually being sheltered in the way so many are alleging by his fellow officers, HE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ARRESTED IN THE FIRST PLACE. He would have been classified as a single car MVA, and a friend or co-worker would have been called on the down low to take him home.

Just wondering if this had happened to any of you, how YOU would feel having your name splashed all over the newspapers? People are arrested for DUI EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR, yet most, unless they have caused harm to another, are never outed to the public.

This is a witch-hunt, as I said above, and it's disgusting.

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Posted by SL
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2010 at 9:48 am

SL is a registered user.

I find it absolutely RIDICULOUS that this Police Officer is being slandered online. Each and every person that is sitting on their behinds typing nonsensical comments about a two time war veteran and creditable police officer should get up and apply to be a cop or sign up for the military and see if you can hit the front lines in Iraq or face and arrest a convicted rapist. I highly doubt that any of you have the gall to even attempt to do either one.

We are all human and we all make mistakes and to ask for a person to be fired from his job for a mistake, is ludicrous. In our professions, several of us can make life altering mistakes, but we aren't crucified. And since several of you don't seem to be researching correctly, this officer did not receive special treatment, he was suspended and he paid every due owed and then some. In Palo Alto we seem to crucify our officers instead of commend them. We are a safe wealthy community because of these heroes. Teach your children to respect authority instead of disrespect; otherwise we will be headed down the wrong path to a dead end.

Let those without sin cast the first stone...

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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2010 at 12:12 am

bru is a registered user.

SL ... slander is saying something that is not true, so your whole lame misinformed rant is baloney, in fact, you are slandering the people who commented on this article.

Second, yes, we are all human, but I seem to feel confident that I will never get drunk and roll my car on a major highway. I don't really see that as a mistake, I see your wrongheaded support of this police office and twisting the facts to try to make him look like a military hero a mistake.

No one is crucifying anyone. We can never know or predict what people will do, and everyone is human and everyone makes mistakes, but being a police officer and making a mistake does not change that in this care the mistake is critical offence. This man would never have been hired to be a police officer if he had done this before he was hired, and I don't see the difference at this point in getting rid of him.

I don't teach my children to respect criminals, where is the benefit in that?

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