Photo feature: 12 hours with the Berkeley Police

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Just before 3 p.m., a resident spotted a man jumping over a fence, and police responded. Police also received a report about a robbery nearby in the 2600 block of Etna Street. Police took the man pictured here into custody; witnesses came by this intersection to see if they could identify him.

What does a 12-hour shift with the Berkeley Police Department look like? If you ask officers, they’ll likely tell you there’s no such thing as normal. Berkeleyside took a close-up look over the weekend, via a ride-along from 2 p.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday. Officer Jennifer Coats, police spokeswoman, was our guide. Throughout the shift, calls ranged from domestic violence reports and mental health calls to robberies, with much of the activity late in the night focusing on alcohol-related incidents around Telegraph Avenue. (Photos by Emilie Raguso)

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

A call came in at 3:55 p.m. about a man sleeping under a dumpster across from Jimmy Bean’s in the 1200 block of Sixth Street in West Berkeley. Officer Jennifer Coats woke him up to determine whether he was able to take care of himself. Officers often wear gloves for protection when they come into close contact with members of the public during calls.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Coats looks down at a man (out of frame) reported to be drunk in public on Sixth Street. She tried to encourage him to move along on his own, but he was unable to do so.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Police ultimately took the man into custody for a warrant out of San Francisco.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Coats puts the man on Sixth Street into the back of her police cruiser to take him down to the station for booking.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

A traffic stop on University and Bonita avenues at 7:40 p.m. The driver ran a red light, but Coats ended up writing him a “fix-it ticket” for a broken tail light instead.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

At 8:45 p.m., police responded to a report of possible alcohol poisoning at Ridge House in the 2400 block of Ridge Road. The Berkeley Fire Department also responded, and determined that the girl would be all right.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

A man with a gun robbed Dollar Tree, in the 1200 block of San Pablo Avenue, just before 9:40 p.m. No one was injured, but employees were shaken up and emotional. The man fled before police arrived. From upper left: (1) An officer takes a witness statement. Officers split up witnesses to ensure accuracy in statement collection. (2) An officer walks out of the Dollar Tree during the investigation. (3) Several officers talk during the call. (4) Coats takes a witness statement.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Police finish up the robbery call at Dollar Tree.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

By about 1 a.m., much of the activity in the city was happening around Telegraph Avenue. Police responded to a man screaming at security staff outside Pappy’s, in the 2300 block of Telegraph Avenue.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Pappy’s employees threw this man out after he was reported to have caused a disturbance. Police detained him briefly but ultimately sent him on his way after he calmed down.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

An officer keeps an eye on the crowds and traffic as students head home after the Cal women’s basketball game.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

The Telegraph Avenue scene. Clockwise from upper left: (1) The crowd outside Pappy’s just before 2 a.m. (2) A police cruiser parked southbound on Telegraph to respond to a call quickly. (3) Fat Slice is a popular late-night destination. (4) A student mugs for the camera.

Berkeley Police ride-along, April 5-6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

As we headed back to the station to sign off for the night, the somewhat rare sight of a huge stuffed duck in the back of a mint-condition yellow Pacer seemed like a fitting end to the shift.

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out our All the News grid.

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  • bonne_sante

    The 2nd photo makes me uncomfortable, since it shows a person who is obviously unable to shield his face from the photographer. It just seems intrusive.

  • EarlyMorningCoffee

    Not shocked to see mention of Dollar Tree.

  • EarlyMorningCoffee

    but he is asleep on public property, and that is intrusive too.

  • probable cause

    He passed out next to a dumpster near a lot businesses, that would make me uncomfortable.

  • berkeleykev

    That’s a weird group across from JB’s. They don’t seem to get violent or break stuff, but they drink heavy and early. I never know quite how to explain them to my 5 year-old when they’re passing the bottle at 9 a.m. on a Sunday. I wouldn’t personally call the cops on them just for drinking, but… I don’t know,

  • guest

    Why would someone put up a photo of themselves and then shield their face?

  • Andrew

    Yeah, I don’t get what goes on there. Does someone live right there? I either saw the guy in the picture or another guy passed out one day. He was passed out on top of a bunch of cardboard in the middle of the day in plain sight. Bizarre.

  • Beat 2 Group by Pat Mapps

    Well done Emilie. Thank you for ‘putting a face’ on the BPD.

  • Doc

    It is the police that make life in Berkeley possible. Thanks

  • guest

    The police and fire departments do a good job. Mainly because they’re actually run by their unions, not COB admin. The rest of city ‘services’ should be put out to contract.

  • bgal4

    >with much of the activity late in the night focusing on alcohol-related incidents around Telegraph Avenue.

    Good observation. Least we forget the planning commission and city council approved the 24 hr Telegraph zone w/o any real assessment of police resources to manage the environment.

    Too bad Mayor Bates ignored and shelved the studies and policy recommendations completed by Students for a Safer Southside and the multi-agency Berkeley Alcohol Policy Advocacy Coalition in 2004.

  • tarsy

    then don’t look at it

  • westa

    Not impressed with Berkeleyside’s decision to post pictures of people without their permission — even if they were “lying next to a dumpster.” And what happened to “innocent until proven guilty” for the other ones? Jeez.

  • Without getting on too high a horse about it, it is legal to photograph anything in a public place. Photography is an expression of free speech.

    The photographs of people handcuffed don’t speak to innocence or guilt, just as an arrest does not determine innocence or guilt.

    Where ethics are important is we try — in our photographs and in our writing — not to intrude on a situation.

  • guest

    Nobody said they are guilty – just arrested.

  • Bill N

    A well done article.

  • foo

    Imagine robbing a Dollar Tree…you’d be lucky to leave with $50. Just sad.

  • OaktownUptown

    An inebriate passed out in public view deserves ZERO expectation of privacy. Everyone who was being detained was given a measure of privacy.

    Note to the cop holding the guy outside Pappy’s. GET YOUR HANDS OFF THAT CUFF CHAIN. If that contact goes sideways you run the risk of serious injury. You were taught how to control detainees at your academy. Use that training–it’s designed to ensure you retire healthy.

    That Pacer with the stuffed animal is a story in and of itself.


  • FiatSlug

    As you have shielded your face in your avatar photo?

    I sense great paranoia from you. Let us know when you’re ready to join society.

  • FiatSlug

    Not impressed with your line of thinking, either. Let us know when you want to be taken seriously.

  • Russell Bates

    so how did kayla moore die in police custody and how come bpd has a press hold on the coronor’s report?who were the cops involved?what are they covering up?and why?

  • Russell Bates

    as i was saying before being censored,what made kayla moore die in police custody?why is the coronor’s report on a press hold?and why was my comment mentioning this before deleted seconds after posting?

  • B2B

    Let’s not forget the new “Drink’s district” being discussed/reported on. A lot of new brew pubs, beer bars etcetera.

  • Truth Sayer

    He’s lying down in a public way, and apparentely buttered. I don’t think he cares about a photograph.

  • guest

    Interesting take on censorship. The ‘censored’ comment is below this one.

  • kate kline may

    such fine coverage. very reassuring and impressive. thanks for this series, and please follow with more on the long days and nights of Berkeley’s finest.

  • Shutter

    Being led around by a police spokesperson is hardly a fair way to get an accurate impression of a typical shift. But its a real good way to get the ‘official’ viewpoint across to a compliant press.

  • bonne_sante

    I will make sure not to ever share my concern about articles on Berkeleyside again! Go back to your troll friends at So much ado about nothing.

  • berkeleyborn

    Great article-police and police work has been dehumanized for so long, it is easy to buy into grand conspriracy theories about what they do. A little insight makes you realize they basically have a job doing things that nobody else would want to do unless they were well paid and supported or simply cannot do because they lack professional training…police are necessary and make our communities safer, though the work they do is often done late at night in places or with people most folks will never see during daylight hours….

  • guest

    What do you mean? Are you saying that the officer was dispatched only to certain calls because Emilie was riding with her? If so, that sounds highly unlikely.

  • FiatSlug

    So if you don’t get the validation you want from an anonymous community you stomp off in a snit and demean others at the same time? If it were so much ado about nothing you wouldn’t have taken the time to respond.

    Thanks for playing…

  • guest

    Come on, bside: where’s the follow-up on this one?

  • guest

    It’s miraculous, how over two or three days our community’s great minds eventually converge: We need cops. Our cops are good.

  • A

    Thank you BPD!

  • Shutter

    The officer — known to the dispatcher as the Info Officer with press riding along that night — was no doubt given special softball calls. The officer also can additionally cherry pick calls she hears on the radio and go there herself. She’s not working a beat, she’s working the press.

    Been there, done that.

    Expecting anything less from the BPD Info Officer is naive. Had Emilie wanted to get a real feel for the shift, she would have applied anonymously to the ride-along program and seen for herself what goes on. Or, even better, just get a police radio and go to the calls herself.

    What Emilie got was a dog-and-pony show for the press.

  • guest

    “A man with a gun robbed Dollar Tree…”

    It’s interesting that you apply the term “softball calls” to the scene this officer and Emilie went that involved the report of a man with a gun committing a robbery. What is your definition of a “hardball call?”

  • emraguso

    The idea that I could have “applied anonymously” is not realistic and would have been impossible — people in the department know who I am. We were not really “given calls” during the shift. For about two hours of the 12 hours we had a certain beat, but otherwise we were in more of a roving mode to go to what seemed to be most interesting incidents. I was watching the calls come in on the computer in the car, and we were both listening to the radio throughout the shift. I would like, next time, to be able to go with a regular beat officer, but my impression was that I got an authentic experience of a regular night out. Any officer you go with may have a different approach, and I look forward to riding out again in the future.
    And we (at Berkeleyside) do also have police scanners, and we do go out to calls on our own.

  • emraguso

    The report hasn’t come out yet. When it does we’ll certainly report on the findings.