PIEDMONT -- The community is invited to a Tuesday town hall to meet new police Chief Rikki Goede and hear her plan for combating the rise of crime in Piedmont.
She will discuss crime statistics, steps the department is taking and ways for residents to further protect themselves and their property. The meeting is hosted by the Public Safety Committee and will be attended by City Council members and city officials.
The city has already rolled out several positive measures to allay residents' apprehension over two home-invasion robberies on Jan. 21, and two other home-invasion robberies since December.
The City Council on Monday approved hiring two more police officers to augment the department. Two other new hires are on board and will begin their field training for four to six months accompanied by a veteran officer.
The Police Department is authorized to have 28 employees, 20 of them sworn officers. There are presently 15 sworn officers on staff, due to a retirement, a frozen captain's position, disability and a resignation. There are also five officers eligible for retirement should they so choose.
Overtime has been authorized to backfill vacancies. Paid reservists (usually retired officers) have been beefed up to five from two.
Goede is working with Oakland to investigate crimes in Piedmont with a similar "MO" as those in Oakland. She has enlisted Hayward police to help the one detective in Piedmont with investigations. She is working with the Public Safety Committee to boost Neighborhood Watch programs in every area of town. A reward program is being considered to help solve the crimes.
"Residents have a sense of fear and urgency," Goede said. "We have very experienced and dedicated officers who care deeply and do all they can."
The city is purchasing license plate readers to identify possible stolen vehicles, sexual predators or other criminals entering or leaving the city.
The council on Monday also approved spending $6,320 per year for the Code Red emergency notification system, an improvement over the current limited system the city employs.
"We are sharing resources with other agencies," City Administrator Geoff Grote said, "and overhiring to get people on board."
Mayor John Chiang suggested utilizing resident's private surveillance cameras as a further tool to tracking crime as it happens.
What: Town hall meeting on public safety
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Veterans Hall, 401 Highland Ave., Piedmont