Tag Archives: Andrew Greenwood
Berkeley Police Department to focus on staffing, will ‘take a collective deep breath’ under new chief
In the wake of the abrupt departure Tuesday of Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, Acting Chief Andrew Greenwood says his short-term goals are to hire more officers and keep the department focused on the future.
“Calm, steady, forward movement is the way to go,” Greenwood told the city’s Police Review Commission on Wednesday night. “That’s kind of where I’m at.”
Greenwood was at the PRC meeting to give the regularly scheduled chief’s report and discuss the mid-year crime report, but the first topic that came up when the meeting began was Meehan’s sudden departure, announced Wednesday, and what will happen next.
Commission Chair George Perezvelez called Meehan’s resignation the elephant in the room, and noted that the leadership change — which put Berkeley native Greenwood at the helm — is “effective immediately.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley police are responding to reports of gunfire in South Berkeley, with a teenage boy injured as a result.
Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, said calls began coming in at 5:40 p.m. about gunfire at Russell and Sacramento streets.
White said two people may have been crossing Sacramento at Russell when an occupant or occupants in a truck began to shoot at them.
No victims were on the scene, but police got a call from a local hospital reporting a possible gunshot victim. White said the victim is a teenage boy who is being treated for what is believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.
Casings were also recovered at the scene. … Continue reading »
Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan has resigned following reports surfaced by Berkeleyside last month of turmoil within the department and extensive criticism by officers of the chief.
Meehan resigned after nearly seven years, and Capt. Andrew Greenwood will now take the helm of the department as acting chief, according to a memo from the city manager to the Berkeley City Council dated Wednesday, Sept. 21. Greenwood, a Berkeley native, has been at BPD for 31 years. (Scroll down to see the memo.)
No explanation has been provided as to the reason for Meehan’s departure. He lives in Berkeley with his family and has a son in Berkeley schools. Many thought he would continue in his role as chief until retirement, despite the recent criticism.
Greenwood said Wednesday the resignation “came as a complete surprise” to him, and that it had been a “whirlwind five hours of figuring out” all of the logistics of the transfer of command.
“I’m sure it was a really difficult decision for him and his family,” he said. “I was asked yesterday afternoon if I would be acting chief and I agreed to.”
It is unclear exactly when Meehan put in his resignation, but he was not present for the six-month crime report to the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday evening, and no city officials asked where he was. It’s a significant meeting that he has rarely, if ever, missed in the past.
Just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Meehan posted his resignation letter on Twitter.
“While there is no good time to leave an organization you have such respect and admiration for, there is a right time and I believe, after discussing with my family, the time is now,” he wrote. See the full letter below.
On Twitter, Meehan wrote, “Thank you Berkeley! It has been an honor. My family and I are grateful.” … Continue reading »
Crime is down in Berkeley this year, after it spiked in 2015 with the highest serious felony statistics since 2009.
In the six-month crime report, set to go before the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday, Berkeley police authorities say overall Uniform Crime Report numbers were down 8.3% from January through June as compared to the same period in 2015. The federal designation tracks reports of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson.
The department does not analyze the crime rate or look at how crime statistics relate to changes in the city’s population.
Despite promises to council in March to launch a robust social media program this year, the effort has yet to take off. According to the Sept. 20 report, “The department is … working with the City PIO to develop and implement a social media strategy using Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor and GovDelivery.”
The city as a whole has been slow to embrace social media, and follows a policy created by city spokesman Matthai Chakko that requires departments interested in social media to create a six-month content plan in advance and commit to a rigid posting schedule.
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.
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 »
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 »
Six months after protesters took to the streets to demand more just policing practices, the Berkeley Police Department will tonight present its report on how it handled the protests, and what it might do better in the future.
The report is scheduled to come Wednesday, June 10, before the city’s Police Review Commission in a 6 p.m. meeting at the South Berkeley Senior Center at 2939 Ellis St.
In recent months, the citizen oversight panel has been working on its own investigation into the protests, which were prompted by killings by officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York. Many community members were outraged after police in Berkeley used tear gas and batons to clear crowds on Telegraph Avenue on Dec. 6, 2014, the first night of frequent, lengthy demonstrations throughout the month. The next night, police kept their distance much of the night, allowing extensive vandalism by some members of the crowd to ravage the city.
Read past Berkeleyside coverage of the Berkeley protests.
The PRC plans to submit the findings of its own report to the Berkeley City Council in August after reviewing police documents related to the protests, and interviewing witnesses about what took place. Wednesday night will be the first chance for the commission to question Berkeley police in detail about their December decisions and actions.
In preparation for Wednesday night’s meeting, Berkeley Copwatch, a watchdog organization, has called for the resignation of Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, citing “leadership failure” during the protests. According to Copwatch, the police investigation into the protests “identifies a series of bad decisions, system failures, skewed priorities and lack of mission clarity that Berkeley Copwatch feels are numerous enough to justify a call for Chief Michael Meehan to resign.”
A Copwatch statement released Wednesday morning continues, “this report identifies failures of leadership that include an inability to manage mutual aid forces, an inability to effectively distinguish between the need for crowd management and crowd control, an inability to identify a clear mission for local and mutual aid forces and an inability to gather and usefully employ information about what was actually happening in the streets on those nights.”
Berkeleyside reviewed the same protest-related documents the PRC requested from the city, and has posted them below along with brief summaries of what they contain. On Tuesday, the Police Department released the findings of its internal investigation, which included more than 30 recommendations for how the department might improve its practices in the future. … Continue reading »
After launching an internal investigation earlier this year into the circumstances surrounding anti-police protests that tore through Berkeley in December, to examine how the department responded, the Berkeley Police Department has released its report on what took place and what might be improved in the future.
In a letter announcing the report, Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan described the Dec. 6-7, 2014, demonstrations — which resulted in the tear gassing of a crowd on Telegraph Avenue and ongoing public criticism in response — as “significant civil unrest and violent protest.”
“It was immediately clear to the Department that the events of December 2014, which had not been experienced in Berkeley for decades, represented opportunities for our organization to learn and grow,” he wrote.
Read past Berkeleyside coverage of the Berkeley protests.
Four Berkeley officers, Lt. Dave Frankel, Sgt. Dan Montgomery, Officer Ryan Andersen and Officer Darrin Rafferty, have been working full time on the project since it was assigned earlier this year. A report on the project is expected to come Wednesday night before the city’s Police Review Commission. … Continue reading »
Berkeley school officials, police and the city are gearing up to work more closely on juvenile crime issues, both to improve information sharing and try to get services to youth who need them.
A small group of residents — part of the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee (BSNC), an umbrella organization for neighborhood watch-type activities — got an update on the fledgling effort Monday night, though it had been announced for the first time in November.
Since then, Berkeley Police Capt. Andrew Greenwood said he has met with the city attorney to figure out what type of information can legally be shared. Greenwood also met a couple times with Susan Craig, director of Student Services for the Berkeley Unified School District — briefly, and in the context of other discussions — to figure out some of the logistics of the endeavor. But there have not yet been any official meetings of what had been pitched as a “working group,” and Greenwood left it an open question Monday as to whether those meetings will actually take place.
Former Mayor Shirley Dean, who runs the neighborhood group, told Greenwood that BSNC believes monthly meetings will be a critical component of the working group’s success, and said BSNC will continue to include the item on its agenda, and watch closely as the effort unfolds. … Continue reading »
In response to criticism about how they treated residents on McKinley Avenue in December, the Berkeley Police Department is working to establish a new set of rules for commandeering a neighborhood during large-scale protests or events.
Berkeley Police Captain Andrew Greenwood presented a proposed set of guidelines to the Police Review Commission on Wednesday night. He also apologized again for the manner in which police treated residents on McKinley Avenue, which is located right behind the Berkeley police department’s HQ, during the December “Black Lives Matter” protests.
“By failing to communicate with the neighbors ahead of time we caused a very bad situation for them,” said Greenwood. … Continue reading »
Several readers asked Berkeleyside to find out why it took seven officers to detain one man in downtown Berkeley earlier this week.
Wondered Stefanie Kalem: “Anybody know what just happened with seven cops and one very agitated man on the corner of Shattuck and Addison?”
The incident drew some attention because it took place in a highly trafficked area at a busy time of day, and involved quite a few officers and police vehicles. Video of the incident appears below.
The scuffle ultimately drew at least 10 officers to Shattuck Avenue and Addison Street on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at about 4:15 p.m. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said police were initially called for a report of a man who was “ranting, and appeared extremely agitated.”
Officers tried to speak with the man, Coats said, but he “became agitated and took a fighting posture towards the officers.” Officers tried to detain him and he became “physically combative … and resisted their attempts to take him safely into custody.”
Kevin Kunze, who was at the scene, posted the following video on YouTube, asking “How many Berkeley cops does it take to arrest one homeless person?” He wrote to Berkeleyside on Twitter and wanted to know more. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Police Department has released two operational plans about protests in the city Dec. 6-7, but most of the wording was blacked out and redacted, so minimal information was revealed.
Andrea Prichett, co-founder of Berkeley Copwatch, requested the documents as part of two Public Records Act requests in December and January. The police department initially said the plans were exempt from release. In response to a second request from Prichett, the department provided the plans, but removed information it said related to security procedures and intelligence information.
According to a police department letter to Prichett on Jan. 26, “The disclosure of such documents could endanger public and officer safety and impede the success of future operations. Additionally, the operational plans and related documents are exempt under the ‘deliberative process privilege’ of Government Code 6255 because disclosure could have a chilling effect on the ability of the department and its command staff to candidly discuss, plan for, and respond to events requiring crowd control that are often fluid in nature.”
Read complete Berkeley protests coverage on Berkeleyside.
Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan has said the department is working on its own comprehensive report about the protests. Meehan told the city’s Police Review Commission in January that the report would be released later this year, “in an un-redacted fashion so everybody will have a chance to read what we knew when we knew it, and what we believe can be done differently in the future to hopefully end up with a different result.”
The two documents released to Prichett — who shared them with Berkeleyside — came in a very different form, however. In a 13-page “Incident Briefing” about a march planned for Dec. 6, 2014, about eight of the pages were blacked out. The department left visible the names of officers who had leadership roles, including Capt. Erik Upson, who was the incident commander that night, a summary regarding known plans that had been posted on social media about the Dec. 6 demonstration, and a general two-paragraph mission statement about how it would handle crowd control. … Continue reading »
Members of the Police Review Commission expressed concern Wednesday night over policy complaints filed by two residents of the 2100 block of McKinley Avenue describing how their street was blocked off, taken over, and used as a police staging area for five days in early December during demonstrations in Berkeley.
The controversial take-over prompted Police Chief Michael Meehan to attend the PRC meeting and pledge that his department would develop a policy to ensure that a similar situation doesn’t happen again.
Read complete Berkeley protests coverage on Berkeleyside.
“We’ve been looking at a lot of different strategies on how we can make sure this does not happen again in the future,” said Meehan. … Continue reading »