I’m not a fan of cop and detective shows. The stories are often ridiculous, the characters are predictable and flat, and they exacerbate people’s fears about being the victim of crimes.
But here’s one episode I would watch: Police chief’s son loses his iPhone, goes to the station for help, and gets half a department to launch a rescue mission.
Don’t bother setting your DVR, though, because that storyline actually unfolded in Berkeley recently when the son of Police Chief Michael Meehan came into the station, visibly upset, to report his stolen iPhone.
According to the department’s public information officer, Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, about $740 worth overtime was paid to a team of detectives sent out to scour for the missing smartphone, even though no police report was filed.
As many as 10 officers — some pulled from the city’s Drug Task Force — spent an hour and a half going door-to-door in North Oakland chasing the iPhone’s electronic ping.
Kusmiss told SFGate:
“It is common for BPD officers to actively investigate an in-progress tracking signal from a stolen electronic device.”
“These investigations can involve a supervisor and multiple officers depending on the circumstances of the case and the locations(s) of the signal(s).”
While that may be true, sending 10 officers to do the job on overtime pay probably wasn’t the smartest choice.
Don’t forget, Meehan is the same police chief who sent an officer to the home of an Oakland reporter late at night this March to correct a story he didn’t like. The city is already spending thousands to investigate that debacle.
Meehan’s judgment worries city council members like Susan Wengraf. She told Berkeleyside:
“I told the city manager that in my book you can make a mistake once, but twice, then I get very concerned.”
And with good reason. Who knows what Meehan would do if confronted with a puppy trying to lick his hand. Given his record, he’d probably try to have it put down as a public safety threat.