San Lorenzo Express News

Changes in Police Services for Eden Area

SEPTEMBER 18, 2004

The California Highway Patrol and Alameda County Sheriff have significantly reorganized their services in the unincorporated Eden Area. The Eden Area includes San Lorenzo, Cherryland, Ashland, Castro Valley, and other neighborhoods.

The CHP enforces the state Vehicle Code in the Eden Area, as it does in all unincorporated areas in the state. Until recently, this task was carried out by officers assigned to the Hayward Area Command, which has extensive freeway patrol duty. In August a new Castro Valley Area Command was established, dedicated almost exclusively to traffic problems in the Eden Area.

The creation of the unit is a recognition that policing of the densely populated Eden Area requires focused management. In addition to patroling local streets, the new command patrols a small segment of I-580 but only one of its 29 officers is assigned to freeway patrol.

Complaints on parking, abandoned vehicles, or traffic problems that can be corrected through enforcement should be directed to the CHP. The Castro Valley Community Policing unit can be reached at 581-9028, and is located at 21020 Redwood Road, Castro Valley. It is led by Capt. Mitch Mueller.

In July Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer announced the layoff of 32 technicians because of reduced county revenues. All of the technicians at the Eden Area Community Policing Unit were let go. The Community Policing Unit works proactively on problems that can lead to criminal activity as well as neighbor disputes. Each deputy in the unit works exclusively in one local community and, through ongoing communication with residents, monitors emerging problems with the goal of preventing criminal conduct.

Technicians in the Community Policing Unit provided clerical support and were directly involved in removal of abandoned and inoperative vehicles from the streets. Although removing abandoned vehicles is primarily the job of the CHP, the sheriff had assigned several technicians to help out because the problem of abandoned vehicles is particularly severe in some parts of the Eden Area.

According to Sgt. Gary Berge, head of the Community Policing Unit, with the loss of the technicians deputies will have to absorb an additional workload into their duties. Sgt. Berge said there will be no reduction in community services from his unit. Residents experiencing or observing ongoing or potential problems should call the Community Policing Unit (667-7770), not the sheriff's dispatcher.