News

Former Pleasanton police chief Spiller named interim in Menlo Park

Spiller starts Friday, succeeding Chief Bertini who resigned mid-public meeting

Retired Pleasanton police chief David Spiller will take over as Menlo Park interim police chief on Friday, July 31. He replaces police Chief Dave Bertini, who announced his departure during a June City Council discussion on police reform.

David Spiller, recently retired Pleasanton police chief, takes over as Menlo Park's interim police chief July 31. Courtesy Pleasanton Police Department.

City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson announced the hire Thursday morning, July 30, which is Bertini's last day on the job.

"Chief Spiller has led a distinguished law enforcement career and is known for cultivating a spirit of cooperation and community building between his officers and residents," Jerome-Robinson said in a press release. "I’m fully confident in Chief Spiller’s ability to lead the department professionally and with the utmost integrity, transparency and commitment through this time of transition.”

Spiller began his law enforcement career with the city of San Diego's police department, then worked for 11 years with the Mountain View Police Department, according to Jerome-Robinson. In 2002, he joined the Pleasanton Police Department and became police chief in 2011, retiring in November.

After retiring from Pleasanton, he worked with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Office of Internal Affairs as a member of the organization’s Deadly Force Review Board.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support PleasantonWeekly.com for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

"I have spent my entire adult life in public service and I look forward to continuing to serve," Spiller said in a press release.

Spiller's educational background includes an associate degree in administration of justice from De Anza College, a bachelor's degree in organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco and a master's degree in public sector leadership from Saint Mary's College, according to the city's press release. He is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police through the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and of California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Command College.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Former Pleasanton police chief Spiller named interim in Menlo Park

Spiller starts Friday, succeeding Chief Bertini who resigned mid-public meeting

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Jul 30, 2020, 12:02 pm

Retired Pleasanton police chief David Spiller will take over as Menlo Park interim police chief on Friday, July 31. He replaces police Chief Dave Bertini, who announced his departure during a June City Council discussion on police reform.

City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson announced the hire Thursday morning, July 30, which is Bertini's last day on the job.

"Chief Spiller has led a distinguished law enforcement career and is known for cultivating a spirit of cooperation and community building between his officers and residents," Jerome-Robinson said in a press release. "I’m fully confident in Chief Spiller’s ability to lead the department professionally and with the utmost integrity, transparency and commitment through this time of transition.”

Spiller began his law enforcement career with the city of San Diego's police department, then worked for 11 years with the Mountain View Police Department, according to Jerome-Robinson. In 2002, he joined the Pleasanton Police Department and became police chief in 2011, retiring in November.

After retiring from Pleasanton, he worked with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Office of Internal Affairs as a member of the organization’s Deadly Force Review Board.

"I have spent my entire adult life in public service and I look forward to continuing to serve," Spiller said in a press release.

Spiller's educational background includes an associate degree in administration of justice from De Anza College, a bachelor's degree in organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco and a master's degree in public sector leadership from Saint Mary's College, according to the city's press release. He is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police through the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and of California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Command College.

Comments

Jennifer
another community
on Jul 30, 2020 at 3:12 pm
Jennifer, another community
on Jul 30, 2020 at 3:12 pm
15 people like this

Quit putting so many restrictions on the police. I don't blame him for retiring. The more restrictions on the police, the more the criminal wins.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on Jul 30, 2020 at 4:42 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on Jul 30, 2020 at 4:42 pm
5 people like this

I don’t think this is about restricting police, Jennifer. The reform is about 8 can’t wait, time and distance training, and other issues such as possible oversight. It is a powerful group and we, as citizens, need to be mindful and certain that sanctity of lives are ensured.


Jennifer
another community
on Jul 30, 2020 at 5:02 pm
Jennifer, another community
on Jul 30, 2020 at 5:02 pm
26 people like this

Eight can't wait IS restricting the police. Quit committing crimes, and quit resisting arrest. Problem solved. I couldn't care less about the lives of low life criminals. I do care about police officers, and law abiding citizens. Criminals don't care about the lives of their victims, or their own lives. If they did, they wouldn't commit crimes. Why should we care about them?

# BLUE LIVES MATTER!


Juan Hidalgo
Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:56 am
Juan Hidalgo, Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:56 am
18 people like this

8 can wait. It sounds great on paper, but when you apply some critical thinking and realize criminals do not have a rule book to follow, it completely falls apart in the real world.

Pleasanton already has time and distance training and a policy in place that encourages it, when appropriate. There is also a somewhat recently passed state law that encourages it, when appropriate. There are very often times in the real world where it is not appropriate and the police are forced to act in the interest of public safety. This can be ugly, but it is necessary for a functioning society. Time and distance training is a crusade for something that already exists.

There is no evidence anywhere to support the idea that pleasanton does not "respect the sanctity of life." To make such a claim with no facts to support it is slanderous and is intended to manipulate public opinion through the spread of misinformation (hint pleasanton weekly staff).

As Jennifer said, maybe we should reform our culture so people start following the law and stop resisting arrest. The vast vast vast majority of police encounters (%99.9+) go well. The exceptions almost universally have one thing in common - people breaking the law and resisting arrest.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 8:32 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 8:32 am
5 people like this

Death should not be a possible outcome. When a person says they can’t breathe, you make doubly certain they don’t die. So even with time and distance training, it didn’t work. Officers need to retrain and to understand the mentally ill.


Juan Hidalgo
Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:04 am
Juan Hidalgo, Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:04 am
16 people like this

Kathleen, you seem to be making vague overtures to some incident that occurred in pleasanton, but your characterization does not appear consistent with any facts i am aware of. Perhaps you could be more specific so we can discuss the facts, rather than vague overtures of police misconduct?

I would hate to have the conversation stifled by PW's new policy prohibiting the attempt to influence public opinion through the spread of misinformation.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:26 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:26 am
6 people like this

Juan, most people here know I’m talking about Jacob Bauer in this case.


Juan Hidalgo
Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:47 am
Juan Hidalgo, Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:47 am
22 people like this

The guy who died of a methamphetamine overdose? I'm struggling to grasp how any of the reforms you are calling for would have prevented him from overdosing on methamphetamine. Or what his mental health status has to do with his meth psychosis.

The quick intervention by the police allowed the paramedics to attempt to treat his methamphetamine overdose in a timely manner. I personally find that preferable to dilly dallying around watching a man die from a methamphetamine overdose.


Linda Kelly
Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:08 am
Linda Kelly, Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:08 am
2 people like this

Unless my reading skills have failed me, this story is not about 8 can't wait, time and distance training, or Jacob Bauer's untimely death. It is about a well-respected former Chief of Police for the Pleasanton, California Police Department. So let's stick to that, please.

Congratulations to Menlo Park for recognizing the community policing skills of our former chief and his ability to help them turn attitudes around. Congratulations to Chief Spiller for being that kind of police chief and instilling in our own officers the values necessary for residents and civic leaders alike to have confidence in the department. As the story states, he will serve as interim Chief until a permanent one can be located, just as was done here with Captain Eicher.

I wish them well and feel just a little smug that another community recognizes our community did policing right and has asked for assistance from our retired chief in order to help them become better in their own right.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:33 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:33 am
4 people like this

Juan, watch the tapes, all three that are available on this paper. With apologies to Linda.


Juan Hidalgo
Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:59 am
Juan Hidalgo, Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:59 am
22 people like this

Oh I have Kathleen. I have also read all of the available documents, including the DA investigation, autopsy excerpts, pleasanton police policies, news reports, press releases, and statements from the family.

From reviewing all of the information, a clear picture comes into focus. The officers acted professionally, followed the law, followed policy, and took the appropriate action for the situation. Despite claims to the contrary, Jacob Bauer died of a methamphetamine overdose. Meanwhile, the family and their agents made claims that Jacob was kicked and beaten by the police. Those allegations were quite soundly demonstrated to be outright lies by the videos you referenced.

Again, what facts support your contention that the reforms you are proposing would have prevented Jacob Bauer from dying from an overdose? Whatever facts you have are apparently not a matter of public record.

It is important for the truth to be discussed and for unsubstantiated allegations, misinformation, and dubious conclusions to be rebuked.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 11:52 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2020 at 11:52 am
4 people like this

PERF’s 30 Guiding Principles on Use of Force
#1 The sanctity of human life should be at the heart of everything an agency does.

Web Link
TRAINING AND TACTICS #16
Use Distance, Cover, and Time to replace outdated concepts such as the “21-foot rule” and “drawing a line in the sand.” Agencies should train their officers on the principles of using distance, cover, and time when approaching and managing certain critical incidents. In many situations, a better outcome can result if officers can buy more time to assess the situation and their options, bring additional resources to the scene, and develop a plan for resolving the incident without the use of force or only with force that is necessary to mitigate the threat. Agencies should eliminate from their policies and training all references to the so-called “21-foot rule” regarding officers who are confronted with a subject armed with an edged weapon. Instead, officers should be trained to use distance and cover to create a “reaction gap,” or “safe zone,” between themselves and the individual, and to consider all options for responding.

We will see what happens with this case.


Juan Hidalgo
Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 12:38 pm
Juan Hidalgo, Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 12:38 pm
15 people like this

Standing by and watching a person die of a methamphetamine overdose would surely be a callous disregard for the sanctity of life. Had the police stood by and watched Jacob Bauer die of a methamphetamine overdose, there would surely be a community outcry against the police for doing nothing. Instead, they intervened and quickly got him medical attention, providing him with the best hope of surviving his overdose.

Your assertion that the police should buy time and bring in additional resources sounds great for a mental health situation where nobody is in immediate danger. The Jacob Bauer incident was not a mental health incident. It was an incident of an individual under the influence of methamphetamine, who was committing crimes, and died of an overdose. The single most important factor in saving someone from an overdose is quick medical intervention. Buying time and waiting for mental health resources would have done nothing but further guarantee Jacob Bauer died from his overdose.

Again, what facts do you have to support your claim that the reforms you are suggesting would have prevented Jacob Bauer from dying of a methamphetamine overdose?


Charlie
Amador Estates
on Jul 31, 2020 at 1:16 pm
Charlie, Amador Estates
on Jul 31, 2020 at 1:16 pm
8 people like this

Juan -

You have opened a big, ugly can of worms.

Kathleen will respond ad nauseum......

I suggest stopping while you are ahead...….


Bryant Annenberg
Downtown
on Jul 31, 2020 at 6:26 pm
Bryant Annenberg , Downtown
on Jul 31, 2020 at 6:26 pm
2 people like this

@Juan

You state that you’ve reviewed everything in coming to your conclusion of died from Meth overdose.

But, by your own admission, your research is incomplete.

You state that you’ve come to your conclusion by reading autopsy excerpts.

Before making such absolute conclusions, don’t you think it is important to read the full autopsy report?

Oh...the Neither the Sheriff or PPD has made that report public.

The only publicly available autopsy report has been provided by the Bauer family to the PW.

The PW has provided a link to that report which clearly states 2 important items:

1) Jacob Bauer died of asphyxia, and
2) If not for his encounter with the PPD, Jacob Bauer would still be alive.

B


Bryant Annenberg
Downtown
on Jul 31, 2020 at 6:33 pm
Bryant Annenberg , Downtown
on Jul 31, 2020 at 6:33 pm
2 people like this

@Juan

Also, before you “bet the farm” on your conclusions

You may want to read this about any information coming out of DA O’Malley’s office.

Web Link


Juan Hidalgo
Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 8:12 pm
Juan Hidalgo, Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 8:12 pm
16 people like this

Bryant, that is quite an accusation you are leveling. Are you really claiming that the District Attorney falsified autopsy records to cover up for the police officers? And then somehow manipulated an independent medical examiner to confirm the high level of methamphetamine in Jacob Bauer’s system directly contributed to his death?

I’m sorry, but that is conspiracy level 9000 stuff. As the old saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If you’re going to make these wild accusations, I sure hope you have the evidence to back it up.

I do not believe there is any place on these forums for individuals to slander public servants and elected officials for the purpose of manipulating public opinion by spreading misinformation and baseless conspiracy theories.


Juan Hidalgo
Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 8:25 pm
Juan Hidalgo, Village High School
on Jul 31, 2020 at 8:25 pm
5 people like this

And to address your reference to the autopsy conducted by the 89 year old celebrity doctor who traffics in JFK assassination conspiracy theories, has a history of corruption, and is being paid to reach a certain conclusion, I do not credit his opinion much.


Bryant Annenberg
Downtown
on Aug 1, 2020 at 7:40 am
Bryant Annenberg, Downtown
on Aug 1, 2020 at 7:40 am
2 people like this

@ Juan

So why hasn't the City released the full autopsy report?

Also, you obviously didn't read the SJ Mercury article about DA O'Malley's Office.

Cliff notes version.....DA Office reports differ significantly from Police reports.


Juan Hidalgo
Village High School
on Aug 1, 2020 at 8:35 am
Juan Hidalgo, Village High School
on Aug 1, 2020 at 8:35 am
3 people like this

I would imagine the city hasn’t released the autopsy for several reasons. First, it’s not their document to release, it is the Coroner’s. Second, it is a document discussing the mutilation of a human body. For the sake of a person’s privacy, they are generally not released publicly to preserve a person’s dignity in death. Your curiosity about what it says does not outweigh basic human compassion.

The autopsy report was, however, provided to the family and it was quoted extensively by the second quack examiner. The quotes confirm everything the DA stated about the autopsy, making your conspiracy claims about the DA report clearly misinformation intended to manipulate public opinion (hint pleasanton weekly staff).

Maybe you should ask why his family hasn’t released it if it contains what you’re alleging?

As for the article, I read it. I’m not sure why you’re surprised that a DA report would differ from a police report. I would be more concerned if they were identical, as the DA is brought in to conduct and independent review.


Bryant Annenberg
Downtown
on Aug 1, 2020 at 8:58 am
Bryant Annenberg , Downtown
on Aug 1, 2020 at 8:58 am
2 people like this

@Juan

Based on your posts, it seems that you support the “Defund the Police “ movement.


VAB
Registered user
Downtown
on Aug 4, 2020 at 11:30 am
VAB , Downtown
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2020 at 11:30 am
2 people like this

Chief of police Bill Eastman was a good Cop. Might he consider coming back?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.