Category Archives: Police

Automated license plate readers will help parking availability but some express concern about privacy issues

A picture of the ALPR from Genetec, which is providing the devices for Berkeley
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Berkeley has launched a program to use a controversial technology that automatically reads license plates on cars to optimize and enforce parking, part of a larger effort to encourage more Berkeley residents not to drive.

The program, which began in May, aims to make the tedious and time-consuming process of conducting manual surveys of downtown parking — which takes more than two months from start to finish — more efficient, Matthai Chakko, city spokesman, told Berkeleyside. The city uses data from the surveys — how often and at what times parking spaces are occupied, for example — to adjust parking pricing and time limits based on people’s behavior.

“It’s extremely labor intensive to input every single license plate and license plate readers automate the manual data collection,” Chakko said, adding that it improved the accuracy of the assessments and allows them to be conducted more frequently. The readers also eliminate the need to manually chalk tires to enforce time limits, he said.

But some civil libertarians have expressed concern that the data collected by police can be used to track the movements of individuals and have called for tighter control of the data collected. The Police Review Commission is set to discuss the technology and its implications at a future meeting. It was going to discuss the issue Wednesday but the meeting was canceled due to lack of a quorum, according to Katherine J. Lee, who staffs the commission.

Berkeley has equipped five parking enforcement vehicles with the automated license plate readers (ALPR), which will also be used to conduct parking enforcement — such as booting or towing vehicles with more than five citations that are more than 30 days old — and search for stolen cars. … Continue reading »

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Police

Man taken to Highland after fall into moving vehicle

Police responded to a traffic incident Monday at San Pablo and Cedar after a man in the median fell into a city-owned vehicle as it passed him. Image: Google Maps
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A man standing on a West Berkeley median fell into a city-owned vehicle in the roadway and was taken to the hospital with serious injuries Monday, authorities said.

The man was standing on the center divider on San Pablo Avenue near Cedar Street when he fell, said Sgt. Andrew Frankel of the Berkeley Police Department, “striking a city vehicle that was passing.” (Update: A witness at the scene said the man appeared to be a panhandler.)

The man’s injuries appeared serious and he was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland with an apparent head injury at about 1:30 p.m.

A local business owner said he saw lots of police in the area in front of pet supply store Animal Farm, as well as a crime scene investigation van, around 2:30 p.m.

Not sure if it was serious, but certainly looked it,” he said. “I came back around 4:45 and it was back to normal.”Continue reading »

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Large truck overturns in Berkeley Hills; driver extricated

A truck overturned Thursday on Glendale in Berkeley. Photo: Courtesy of Battalion Chief Paul Cavagnaro
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A large truck hauling sand in the North Berkeley Hills overturned Thursday afternoon, and bystanders had to extricate the driver, who was taken to the hospital, authorities said.

Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken said the truck had been hauling sand while driving down Glendale Avenue when it “lost its brakes” around 1:30 p.m.

In an emergency maneuver, the driver steered up onto a private driveway at La Loma Avenue to stop the vehicle.

McCracken said the truck struck a parked car and retaining wall, causing damage, before it rolled onto its side.  … Continue reading »

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Police: Missing 84-year-old Dorothy Ewing has been found

missing
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Update, 8:40 p.m.: Good news: Dorothy Ewing has been located. According to a Nixle alert issued by BPD at around 7:45 p.m., Ewing was found at about 6 p.m. Monday evening in downtown Oakland. The Berkeley Police Department said it would like to thank the public for its assistance in locating her.

Original story: Berkeley Police are asking for the community’s help in locating a missing “at-risk” woman. BPD issued a Nixle alert about the case at 4 p.m. Monday.

Dorothy … Continue reading »

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WWII hand grenade found in planter at Berkeley home

The grenade that was found. Photo: BPD
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On Tuesday, a World War II-era hand grenade was unearthed in the planter box of a home in the 1200 block of Spruce Street.

At 4 p.m., Berkeley Police dispatch received a report of a possible explosive device, according to a Nixle alert put out by BPD Wednesday morning. The department’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal team responded and recovered a World War II-era, French military, training hand grenade. The grenade had been dug up when some work was being done on the property, BPD said. The device was safely disposed of by the EOD Team.

The grenade was wrapped in plastic which protected it from the elements, according to Sergeant Andrew Frankel, a spokesman for BPD. This helped authorities identify it: “There were visible stamps made on the metal which can be traced back to where it originated from,” he said. … Continue reading »

Young man shot multiple times in San Pablo Park

Authorities are standing by in San Pablo Park for the arrival of a patient from Alta Bates Hospital. Photo: hfidek
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There was a shooting in San Pablo Park in Berkeley on Tuesday morning, according to authorities.

Officer Byron White of the Berkeley Police Department said that the shooting took place at around 11 a.m and it resulted in one victim. The victim, a young man estimated to be in his 20s, was shot multiple times and was transported to a local hospital. His condition is unknown, Officer White said.

The victim was found outside the restrooms in the park, adjacent to the basketball courts.

The suspect is described as a young man estimated to be in his 20s, light-skinned, with short hair and about 6 ft tall. He was wearing a cream-colored shirt and baggy jeans. He was last seen heading east on Ward Street from Park Street, according to Officer White. … Continue reading »

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Human skull, bones found on Berkeley Lab property

A human skull and three bones were unearthed on Berkeley Lab property on Monday. Photo: LBL Photo: Berkeley Lab
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A human skull and three human bones were discovered on Berkeley Lab property Monday during some routine digging to clear a ditch.

According to a release put out by the Lab on Wednesday, a Lab facilities crew working to clear a drainage ditch in “very steep and brushy terrain” on Berkeley Lab’s southern perimeter discovered a skull and one bone around 1:30 p.m. Monday.

The Alameda County coroner’s office was called in and completed its search of the site on Tuesday after finding two more bones. The remains were found outside of Berkeley Lab’s fence line but on Berkeley Lab’s property. 

It is not known how long the remains were in the ditch, nor how old they are. Foul play is not suspected, according to the Lab’s statement, pending new information from the coroner’s office.

Jon Weiner, a spokesman for the Lab, said they were waiting to hear back from the coroner’s office as to any possible identification of the remains. … Continue reading »

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Neighbors, police vow new push on crime prevention

Community members and police met Monday night to discuss crime prevention efforts. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A Berkeley community group focused on crime prevention pledged to up its game Monday night, and representatives from the Police Department said they plan to ramp up their own collaboration with neighbors.

Those efforts may be particularly important given the double-digit increase in crime Berkeley saw in 2015. Berkeley police officials reported in March that overall Part 1 crime — a federal designation for the most serious incidents — was up 16% in 2015 compared to the prior year. Violent crime increased 20%, especially in the area of robberies, while property crime was up 16%. There was a 28% increase in vehicle thefts as compared to the prior year.

And, already this year, there has been an unsolved series of high-profile sexual assaults and at least half a dozen shootings.

The group that met Monday, the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee (BSNC), has worked for some time to provide a city-wide scope to, and coordination about, block-level crime concerns. It meets monthly with police and sometimes takes positions on public safety problems, primarily through letters to council and other city leaders. But active participation in the organization has languished, and its board is working to re-energize the group, which has more than 100 people on its email list.

What’s your neighborhood group? Please let Berkeleyside know.*

One way the BSNC hopes to revive itself is through Facebook: The group has launched a new Facebook page to help neighbors connect. Former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean, who helps oversee the BSNC, announced the Facebook page Monday night. Dean said the board is committed to a “coordinated approach” that involves all the city’s Neighborhood Watch and disaster preparedness groups that want to join forces. … Continue reading »

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Person goes under AC Transit bus in downtown Berkeley

Person trapped under AC Transit bus on April 1. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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UPDATE, 12:20 p.m. AC Transit spokesman Robert Lyles confirmed that a man collapsed while standing next to a stationary bus just before 10 a.m. Friday, apparently due to a medical condition. “He fell against the side of the bus, and slid between the curb and the bus,” Lyles said. There was no collision between the individual and the bus, Lyle said. The man was transported to Highland Hospital. His condition is unknown.

ORIGINAL STORY: Berkeley Fire and Berkeley Police responded Friday morning to an incident in which a man went under an AC Transit bus in downtown Berkeley.

The incident happened some time before 10 a.m. at the bus stop at Shattuck Avenue and Kittredge Street.

BFD paramedics worked to release the man who was near the rear right wheel of the no. 18 bus. He was released at around 10:15 a.m. and placed in an ambulance and transported.

His condition was unknown at press time. … Continue reading »

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BPD, city investigate possible pellet shooting of 5 animals

BPD patch
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According to BPD, who issued a Nixle alert about the incident at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, on Saturday, at approximately 12:48 p.m., BPD responded to the 100 block of Seawall Drive for a report of cruelty to animals. Once there, they made contact with the city groundskeeper who reported having discovered five animals, a feral cat, an opossum and three raccoons, three of which were deceased and two which were suffering from unknown injury or illness.

The groundskeeper had taken the animals to the Berkeley Animal Shelter before the police officers arrived. One of the two remaining animals died shortly after it arrived at the shelter, and the second animal was later euthanized to keep it from suffering further. … Continue reading »

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Sports

Photos: Police take the win in Berkeley Twilite battle

Twilite baskeball game, Friday, March 25. Photo; Berkeley Police Capt. Andrew Greenwood
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Scoring two 3-pointers in the final minute, a team of Berkeley Police officers narrowly bested teen players from the Young Adult Project’s Twilite Basketball program in the “Battle of Berkeley” Friday night. The officers will now get to display a large trophy commemorating the win, at least until the teams face off again this summer.

The youth team was down by 12 points at half time, then fought its way to a 1-point lead with less than 2 minutes to go. Officer Kelvin Gibbs, who played professional basketball in Europe for nine years, scored two baskets from behind the arc in the final minute to claim the victory. … Continue reading »

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Twilite Basketball helps Berkeley youth, police connect

YAP's twilight basketball program winds up this weekend. Photo: BPD
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After a long hiatus, Twilite Basketball returned this year to the Young Adult Project in South Berkeley. Friday night, local youth and Berkeley Police officers who have been coaching them are set to face each other on the court as the program winds down for the season.

The winning team will get bragging rights, as well as a large trophy to display until the next match up, slated for the summer.

Though the “Battle of Berkeley” — where officers and youth compete on the court — has happened in the past, this year will be the first time Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan plans to play.

Officers credit Ginsi Bryant, recreation coordinator at the Young Adult Project, or YAP, for bringing back the Twilite Basketball program in January. Though it began in Berkeley in the early 90s, participation dwindled in recent years and it was no longer active.

YAP itself was founded in 1972 in South Berkeley to help keep local youth off the streets and give them a safe, positive outlet for their energy. The organization, at 1730 Oregon St., offers a variety of programs including sports, arts and crafts, and leadership skills building.

Don’t miss our feature from January on YAP’s popular boxing program.

The 10-week Twilite Basketball program is aimed at pre-teens and teens. There are three practices a week, with games on Friday and Saturday nights. Bryant runs the program, which has about five coaches of its own. But Berkeley Police officers are also a key part of the equation.

That’s because one goal of the program has been to help police and youth build relationships that can help them off the court. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley first responders join parade in Dublin, Ireland

Berkeley first responders march in the St. Patrick Day's Parade in Dublin, Ireland, on March 17, 2016. Photo: courtesy Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken
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Members of the Berkeley Police and Berkeley Fire departments traveled to Ireland last week at the invitation of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who wished to thank the first responders for the way they handled the tragic balcony collapse at 2020 Kittredge St. on June 16, that killed six and injured seven students, most of them Irish.

The first responders traveled to Ireland with the San Francisco Police Emerald Society on their scheduled trip. According to Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken, the Berkeley ranks were made up of three personnel who responded to the balcony collapse, and three who assisted the families and Consulate in the days following the incident. Those who went were: Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken, Fire Captain Rick Guzman, Fire Captain Dave McPartland, firefighter/paramedic Ashley Bacher, and police officers Jennifer Coats, Stephanie Polizziani and Jitendra Singh.

Read more about the June 16, 2015 Berkeley balcony collapse.

McCracken said the Berkeley delegation was “treated like dignitaries.” “We had a police escort to our hotel and to the start of the parade on St. Patrick’s Day,” she wrote by email. “On Tuesday night, the day we arrived, we attended a reception at the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We were hosted by David Cooney, Secretary General of Foreign Affairs, and Jimmy Deenihan, Minister of Diaspora Affairs. We also met the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Criona Ni Dhalaigh.” … Continue reading »

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