Police

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The Palo Alto Police Department is committed to providing exceptional public safety services and taking a leadership role in building community partnerships.  We subscribe to core values that include integrity, accountability, trust, teamwork, a positive attitude, and the professional, impartial treatment of all.  Our key responsibilities include:

  • To provide police response to emergency and non-emergency requests for service in a coordinated and timely manner.
  • To apprehend and prosecute offenders and/or resolve investigations in a timely and thorough manner.
  • To minimize injury and property damage by promoting a safe and orderly flow of pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic.
  • To provide coordinated, responsive and reliable 9-1-1 dispatch services.

 

 

I’d like to welcome you to the Palo Alto Police Department's website, and I encourage you to learn more about our programs and services!  If you are here to learn more about nationwide police reform initiatives and where we fit into those conversations, we invite you to explore our detailed Accountability page.

The Palo Alto Police Department is committed to providing exceptional public safety services and taking a leadership role in building community partnerships. We subscribe to core values that include integrity, accountability, trust, teamwork, a positive attitude, and the professional, impartial treatment of all.

It is important for us to stay connected to our community. It is also important for us to inform you about what's going on in town, the work that we're doing, and how you can best work with us to make Palo Alto as safe as we possibly can.

For the most up-to-date Department news, alerts, and advisories, please follow us on one of our many social media platforms by visiting our Social Media Connections page.

We provide service to a resident population of approximately 66,955 (according to a 2014 U.S. Census Bureau estimate).  Our daytime population increases to over 125,000, as the Stanford University campus and our thriving business community bring many more people to town.

For more information about the Palo Alto Police Department and our various units, please expand the accordions below.

Robert A. Jonsen
Chief of Police

Mission Statement

To proudly serve and protect the public with respect and integrity.

Vision Statement

Through the leadership and commitment of our employees, the Palo Alto Police Department will build trust and respect with the public and the law enforcement profession.

Core Values

We value and expect teamwork, trust, integrity, accountability, a positive attitude and the professional, impartial treatment of all.

The Police Department has 150 employees organized into the following divisions and units:

Administrative Services Division

This division includes the Police Chief, the Assistant Police Chief, an Administrative Assistant and the Personnel and Training unit.

Personnel and Training

To provide professional public safety services through comprehensive hiring, training and development of employees. To attract, hire and retain qualified applicants who reflect the diversity of the community and provide the highest level of professional public safety services. This unit consists of a Lieutenant, a Training Supervisor, a Program Assistant and an Administrative Associate. 

Field Services Division

Patrol

To provide the public with initial police response to emergency and non-emergency requests for service in a coordinated and timely manner.

Investigative Services Division

Detectives

To apprehend and prosecute offenders and/or resolve investigations in a timely and thorough manner.

Property and Evidence

To collect, process and store evidence to aid in the identification and prosecution of offenders and to appropriately return/dispose of property upon completion of an investigation.

Traffic Team

To minimize injury and property damage by promoting a safe and orderly flow of pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic.

Parking Enforcement

To manage, enforce and resolve vehicle parking regulations and issues in an effort to facilitate the timely movement of vehicles and provide for public safety within the City of Palo Alto.

Police Reserves

To bring men and women of the community together to assist and supplement Department personnel in law enforcement efforts.

Special Operations

To provide police services to assure a safe environment for community special events while minimizing disruption to the public through appropriate planning and staffing.

Animal Control

To ensure the protection and well-being of animals and people by providing responsive and proactive animal services. 

Technical Services Division

This division is responsible for all support services in the Police Department.

Communications

To provide coordinated, responsive and reliable 9-1-1 dispatch services.

Records

To process and provide useful, accurate and timely police information to support all levels of public service.

Technology/Crime Analysis

To manage all public safety automated systems, as well as production of all statistical and management reports, for both the Police Department and the Fire Department.

Police badge with black mourning band draped over it

Tragically, we have lost three officers in the line of duty here at the Palo Alto Police Department.  Read more about each of them below.


Portrait of Reserve Officer Lester Cole

Reserve Officer Lester Cole
End of Watch: Friday, January 31, 1969

Reserve Officer Lester Cole was laying flares at an accident scene when he was struck and killed by the driver of an automobile. The driver reported he never saw the officer.  Officer Cole had been a reserve officer for the city of Palo Alto since 1955. He was survived by his wife and several children. 

Read more about Reserve Officer Lester Cole.

 

Portrait of Officer Gene Clifton

Officer Gene Clifton
End of Watch: Friday, November 19, 1971 

Officer Gene Clifton died as a result of a gunshot wound received on October 1, 1971. Officer Clifton was fatally wounded during a joint operation with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Palo Alto Police Department. A team of officers were attempting to execute a search warrant at a residence. The officers were already inside the residence when a suspect fired shots at the officers and ran into a bedroom. Officer Clifton was standing outside the bedroom when the suspect continued shooting, and a bullet went through the wall and struck him in the abdomen.

Officer Clifton had served with the Palo Alto Police Department for four years. He was survived by his wife, parents, and two sisters. 

Read more about Officer Gene Clifton.

 

 

Portrait of Reserve Officer Brassinga

Reserve Officer Theodore Brassinga
End of Watch: May 15, 1994 

Reserve Officer Theodore Brassinga was accidentally shot and killed during a multi-agency training exercise aboard an Amtrak train for the 1994 World Cup Soccer tournament. The officers in the exercise were supposed to have unloaded weapons.

Officer Brassinga had served with the agency for one year. He was survived by his wife and son. 

Read more about Reserve Officer Theodore Brassinga.