May 23, 2012

Some Animals...

... are far more equal than others.

Berkeley chief used police to look for son's phone (SFGate)

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, already under fire for sending an officer to a reporter's house after midnight, ordered police - some on overtime - to look for his teenage son's stolen cell phone in Oakland, authorities said Monday.
[A]t its height [the search] involved as many as 10 officers. Kusmiss said four detectives were paid overtime for two hours each.

Got that? Eight hours of overtime pay for Berkeley detectives to look for a stolen iPhone.

I went and looked at the Berkeley PD site, which lists "lateral officers" (that'd be officers who are already certified LEOs) at a pay rate of $7300 to $9100 per month. If we assume that a detective makes 20% more, that'd be $10,900/mo, or $68/hr (four 40-hour weeks). Time and a half nudges that just over a hundred bucks an hour.

Of taxpayer money.

To look for a $400 phone.

Yes, I get the "phone can be tracked", and that stomping on one relatively minor property crime can prevent/resolve many more issues. But that's the kind of thing that should be handled as routine by ONE patrol officer, not, "[The] property crimes sergeant, who deployed his team and drug task force officers to look for the missing phone."

Tar. Feather. Rail. Assemble.


Old Windways said...

I'll caveat this by saying I have zero LEO experience, but those salaries seem high to me. Is that rate par for the course, or is Berkeley just that much wealthier than everywhere else?

ZerCool said...

Berkeley has the money to spend. Silicon Valley, etc. Numbers pulled from here:

Ruth said...

Its the same Chief who sent an office to a reporter's house a while back, in teh middle of the night, to complain about the accuracy of the reporting.

Old NFO said...

And even worse, they DIDN'T recover it!!!

Peter B said...

FWIW, they're claiming it wasn't preferential treatment:On Tuesday, the BPD supplied Berkeleyside with examples of seven cases where anywhere between four and 11 police officers were assigned to track and locate iPhones or iPads. The cases were from the past three years. One took the police to San Francisco, and two resulted in arrests.

And salarywise, that may be what they're spending but it ain't what they have:

The Berkeley City Council special session on the $310 million — or higher — unfunded liability on promised employee benefits revealed the difficult choices faced by the city.

A presentation by budget manager Teresa Berkeley-Simmons made the root of the problem clear. The California Public Employee Retirement System (Calpers) assumed annual investment returns of 7.75%. The crash of the Great Recession in 2008 meant that returns in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009 were negative 24%, producing an annual loss against assumptions of 31.75%. For Berkeley’s city employees, that has produced investment losses of $200 million.

“We can’t grow our way out of this,” Berkeley-Simmons said.

“Even if Calpers gets 7.75% forever now, they have lost $200 million on which we’ll never get 7.75%,” explained City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan.

Berkeley's police medical benefits liabilities are over 80% unfunded.