March 20, 2011

San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli at Homeowner Meeting

On March 16, 2011, San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli addressed the general meeting of the Broadmoor Neigborhood Association. Spagnoli has been on the job for about two and a half months after replacing Ian Willis, who retired.

Spagnoli told the audience, "Last year crime dropped across the whole city by 8% which was a very good thing. In fact, last year in 2010 our crime stats were at an all-time low." In contrast, Spagnoli noted, "Burglaries last year for 2010 were up by about 15%, so we are seeing an increase not only in our city but statewide in thefts, larcenies, burglaries, residential and auto burglaries as well."

In her remarks, she noted that "You have a full service police department. We will respond to any call." This is in contrast to the City of Oakland where residents are asked to complete a report online for certain crimes.

Spagnoli was proud that San Leandro still had a crime prevention unit with two officers assigned to it, since that is typically one area that gets cut when there are budget cuts.

On a typical day, San Leandro Police receive about 211 calls and arrest 10 to 12 people.

According to Spagnoli, the San Leandro Police implement two things last year that should help in responding to crime. First, e911 was implemented, which means that 911 calls from your cell phone will automatically be routed directly to the local communication center. However, calls made while on the freeway will be routed to the California Highway Patrol, so Spagnoli recommended getting off the freeway before calling 911 because "we'll probably answer the phone a little bit quicker." Spagnoli said, "We were one of the last police departments to go online in the state with this."

The second thing that was implemented last year was a "new system for monitoring reports and report writing" - "customized reports to help us predict crime and where crime is going to occur in the future." This new component isn't fully functional right now but she plans to roll out more information to the community in the future. Spagnoli also recommended crimereports.com for finding information on crime in your local area.

On LicenseLook, a tool from local resident Wayne Gregori, Spagnoli said that it is a good way to document which license plates are in your area, but call us if something doesn't look right or feel right, because it probably isn't right.

Spagnoli went on to answer questions from the audience.

The first question was "What percent of the crime rate is drug-related and what is being done to combat the sales of drugs in the community?"

Spagnoli responded that at least 60% of crime was drug-related and went on to criticize the current parole system in which some offenders are released into communities with no supervision or conditions. According to Spagnoli, the rate of recidivism for people that have been released back into the community is more than 90%.

The second question was, "Welcome to San Leandro. Will you stay more than two years?"

Spagoli said, "My commitment to the community is to stay here, make a commitment and make a difference in the community and also been involved and engaged in the community." Spagnoli said that she wouldn't be eligible for retirement for "many, many years." She said that she wanted to make an impact on the community and that it would be hard to make an impact when you're here for only a few years. She acknowledged that she didn't really answer the question, but said she would have an attachment to this community for many years "as long as they still want me."

When asked, "Why did you want to be a police chief in San Leandro?" Spagnoli responded that San Leandro is a "gem in the Bay Area" that offers many challenges that she can make a difference in, San Leandro has a full-service police department, and San Leandro is larger than her former city [Benicia]. Her experience in community engagement, using technology and reducing crime were the reasons why she thinks she was selected.

Spagnoli is San Leandro's 10th police chief and its first female police chief. She previously served as the police chief for Benicia and took over from former police chief Ian Willis in January 2011.

Press releases from the San Leandro Police Department can be found on Facebook and you can subscribe to the RSS feed without a Facebook account. Maps showing the general location of recent crimes can be found at Crime Reports. You can sign up to receive free notifications about emergencies, including crimes, at Nixle and CodeRed.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at March 20, 2011 12:09 PM | TrackBack
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