Here is another installment from our hugely popular Master Officer series. This week’s article reminds our community that your police officers are here for you everyday and honor that commitment to do so in many ways.
The San Mateo Police Department Master Officer Program identifies an elite group of officers within our department who have earned the title “Master Officer” based not only on their yearly performance evaluations, but also on their years of experience and various expertise. SMPD is lucky to recognize our largest number of Master Officers ever in 2016, each of whom will be submitting a personal article on a topic of their choice, allowing our community the rare chance of getting to know the people behind the SMPD badge…
San Mateo P.D. – Your Full Service Police Department
By SMPD Master Officer Craig Collom
Do you know how many services your police department provides?
The San Mateo Police Department consists of 110+ sworn officers and 40+ support staff that work together every day to ensure the service to the community is second to none. Our officers and support staff work hard every day to make San Mateo a safe and enjoyable place to live and work. We provide service through a wide variety of divisions within the police department which include Patrol Services, Criminal Investigations Bureau, Traffic Bureau, Support Services and the Youth Services Bureau.
Patrol Services- Our Patrol Services Division are who you call when you need a uniformed police officer to respond to reports of crime, crimes in progress, and neighborhood or quality of life issues. Patrol officers work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to protect our San Mateo community. Patrol Services is lead by the Patrol Captain and consists of three Patrol Lieutenants, ten Patrol Sergeants, 52 police officers and three Community Service Officers (CSOs). Our CSOs handle calls for service involving reported crimes where there is no suspect information.
Crime Reduction Unit- CRU officers are part of Patrol Services and handle all quality of life issues within the city including gang and narcotic investigation, burglary suppression and any and all other quality of life issues. There is no issue too small that CRU will not address. CRU is led by two sergeants and six officers that provide 7 day a week coverage.
Traffic Division- Traffic Division handles all calls related to traffic and parking issues. Traffic Officers are the ones who ride the police motorcycles and handle traffic enforcement, traffic education and environmental issues related to the roadways. If you’re involved in a traffic collision where someone is injured a traffic officer will respond to the scene and conduct the investigation. Parking Enforcement Officers (PER’s) handle parking enforcement throughout the city and specifically the metered parking stalls. Abandoned Vehicle Officers (AVO’s) respond to complaints of abandoned vehicles and oversize vehicles. The Traffic Division consists of one lieutenant, one sergeant, 4 motor officers, one CSO, ten PER’s, and two AVO’s.
Criminal Investigations Bureau – Investigations is home to our specialized investigators more commonly known as detectives. The detectives investigate cases that are more complex, time sensitive and significant than what can be handled by patrol officers. Detectives specialize in crimes that include homicide, robbery, crimes against children, sex crimes, fraud crimes, property crimes that include burglary. Investigations is led by the Support Services Captain, one lieutenant, two sergeants, eight detectives, and two CSO’s.
Youth Services Division- Our award winning Youth Services Division is supervised as part of the Investigations Bureau. This division is extremely important to the long term positive outcomes of our youth and their families because it acts as a safety net catching the most vulnerable at a time when they need it the most, steering these kids back on track. The Youth Services Division is comprised of three main parts, 1) the School Resource Officers, 2) Youth Diversion Program and 3) The Police Activities League.
School Resource Officers- SRO’s have recently been expanded from one officer San Mateo High School to three who cover all the three public high schools and four public middle schools. Officer Nguyen handles all school related issues and students at San Mateo High and Bayside STEM Academy, Ofc. Bennett is at Aragon High School and Borel Middle School, and Ofc. Mejia is at Hillsdale High School and Abbott Middle School. They are a vital part of the administrative team that identified kids and families that may need assistance and direct them to Diversion or PAL.
Youth Diversion Program- San Mateo PAL’s Youth Diversion Program preventing youth from entering the Juvenile Justice System through a comprehensive program aimed at keeping kids in school, out of jail and on track for success. This program has been recognized nationally as setting the standard for successful youth diversion.
The Police Activities League– PAL was started in 1997 as a program as a partnership with the police department and San Mateo Park and Rec. PAL has provided recreational and educational opportunities to thousands of youth over the years and continues to this day. PAL also administers our Youth Diversion Program. PAL is a vital part of our community and has changed the lives of countless kids in our neighborhoods. For more information on PAL go to http://www.sanmateopal.org
Downtown Unit- If you’re in the downtown area and see officers on bicycles then you have seen a DTU officer! The DTU officers focus on quality of life issues for the merchants and citizens in the downtown corridor. DTU officers also enforce alcohol related laws within the bars and pubs of San Mateo. DTU consists of three officers who work Monday-Saturday but are flexible to work any important date or event and proudly work in cooperation with our DSMA.
Our daytime DTU officer is also part of the San Mateo County Homeless Outreach Team (HOT). HOT works with homeless individuals, families and children to get them the services needed to get them off the street and into safe housing.
K9- The K-9’s have been a big part of police work for years. SMPD has had K-9’s in service for 40 years. We use K-9’s to assist with suspect apprehension and tracking, narcotic searches, and evidence search. K-9’s are involved with the community when they visit the schools and at public demonstrations. We currently have three K-9’s (Scout, Ajax, Hero) in patrol with their police officer partners.
Cadets- The Cadet program is a program for young men and women 14-20 years old who have an interest in law enforcement. The cadets go through a 9 week academy on Sundays that is on a smaller scale to the police academy. Cadets wear a light blue uniform and get to go on patrol with officers. They also are involved in the community by fingerprinting kids at special events. The cadet program consists of three officers (cadet advisers) and 10 cadet and is an incredible way for a teenager to not only serve your community, but satisfy the community service requirement for high school graduation.
At the end of the day, this is our community too. We love it, we remained committed to it everyday, and we strive to make it the best and safest place to live and thrive in the Bay Area.
Officer Craig Collom is 12-year veteran of the San Mateo Police Department with a level of experience and expertise that far exceeds his years on the job. He was born and raised here on the Peninsula and is yet another proud Serra High School grad among our ranks. In his life away from the police department he enjoys motorcycles, cars, and just being a dad.