Pleasanton Weekly

Column - February 28, 2014

'See something, say something,' police chief urges

by Jeb Bing

Citing a recent community survey showing that 99% of those of us who live in Pleasanton feel safe, Police Chief Dave Spiller said his objective going forward will to make that 100%.

Speaking at meetings this month of the Valley Real Estate Network and later to the Rotary Club of Pleasanton, Spiller said that while he appreciates the comfort the city's population has in public safety, there's no reason to be smug about it or let down our guard. If we "see something, say something," Spiller urged everyone. Some of the best police work and results come because an alert homeowner spots something or someone unusual out the kitchen window or a parent sees someone hovering around a school building who probably shouldn't be there.

"You can't take the success of this community for granted," Spiller said. "We all have to be engaged."

Asked about school safety, Spiller said his department works with the school district and school site councils to make sure students, staff and their schools are safe. Patrols have been increased since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

Four full-time police officers are assigned to the schools, including one at each high school. Periodic "intruder" drills are held with schools locked down while perimeter searches are made. Still, Spiller added, "We want our students to feel comfortable in school, not to think that they're in some kind of a prison. That's part of our job, too."

Spiller likes to ask, "What's next?" His goals for his organization and strategic planning initiatives include strengthening communication, both within his department and with the public, and leveraging technology. Improved wireless communications now keep Pleasanton police in "listening" touch with other emergency responders. A seventh 911 emergency response line will soon be added here, based on the formula of one 911 line for every 10,000 residents. He urges those calling the police department on routine matters to use its regular business line: 931-5100.

Spiller's "Vision for the Pleasanton Police Department" is spelled out in a new brochure that outlines how he and his fellow officers work together for a legacy of integrity and professionalism. Their mission, Spiller says, is to work in collaboration with our community to protect life and property. This will be accomplished through the creative use of resources, community education and involvement, and interactive problem-solving. It's a mouthful, he acknowledges, but in terms of prevention, it all comes down to the relationship that the police department has with the community.

Spiller began his public service in the late 1980s with the San Diego Police Department, where he worked as a patrol officer for a short time before joining the Mountain View Police Department. With well over a decade of service in various police department operations there, he earned a strong reputation as an effective problem solver and collaborator. Spiller later joined the Pleasanton Police Department as the administrative lieutenant.

He holds an associate's degree in administrative justice from De Anza College in Cupertino, a bachelor's degree in organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco and a master's degree from St. Mary's College in public sector leadership. He is also a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police through the Police Executive Research Forum and a graduate of the California POST Command College.

He also serves as an advisory board member on the Administration of Justice Board at Las Positas College, where he's an adjunct faculty member. He is a member of the International Criminal Justice Board at the University of San Francisco and is a staff trainer and board member for the nonprofit Continuing Education for Public Officials organization. In addition, Spiller is an executive board member for the San Francisco Boy Scouts Council and is a volunteer for Frontline Services at Crosswinds Church in Dublin. Spiller lives in Livermore with his wife Kathleen and their daughter Nicole.

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