The Questions Grow More Pressing by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] Wednesday Jun 17th, 2020 1:14 PM

I’ve been persistently raising issues of police abuse with the SCPD. Most recently, I sent a letter to Chief Andy Mills with a variety of questions, following up on issues raised months (and often years) ago. He replied. I responded to his reply a few days ago. So far no reply. Mills’ letter reiterates my questions and gives his answers (AM). I respond with further questions (RN).

From: Andrew Mills
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2020 11:06 AM
To: Robert Norse
Cc: City Council
Subject: RE: Specific Proposals to Reforms the SCPD

Robert, you being critical of SCPD? Say it’s not so!

It’s your right and I expect you and others to hold the police accountable.

Please see my answers below.

From: Robert Norse [mailto:rnorse3 [at]]
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2020 9:58 AM
To: Andrew Mills
Cc: City Council
Subject: Re: Specific Proposals to Reforms the SCPD

3 1/2 years ago we corresponded regarding a flyer I had written and was distributing critical of the SCPD’s policies and practices.

I intend to update that flyer in anticipation of upcoming protests regarding largely the same issues, plus some new ones arising from police behavior during the COVID-19″shelter-in-place” situation and your recent proposals increasing public restrictions in parks and elsewhere generally.

To be fair and accurate, I’m writing you to determine if there’s been any improvement you can make me aware of regarding the following issues:

Is the SCPD willing to “open the books” on “non-lethal force” use, specifically opening for public view police reports detailing the use of these devices with specifics to time, date, location, victim, officer, subsequent injury (if any),rationale, and any subsequent investigation?
AM: [We comply with all state law on this and the courts are the final judge as to the appropriateness of the use of this force. So the books are open. Some of what you ask for is a violation of law and policy in terms of the person has a right to privacy.]
RN:{The “right to privacy” has been improperly cited by arresting officers at a scene where many cops are confronting one person even when that person repeatedly asks what they’re being arrested or detained for. If the victim of the “non-lethal force [or arrest, citation, or detention]” agrees, why have you continued to allow officers to refuse to say why people are being arrested? Will you release documentation previously withheld regarding the specific circumstances around the use of force including time, place, identity of person and officer, extent of injuries, amount of hospitalization, etc.? Will you agree to immediately make such records available and require your officers to respond accurately and promptly to community questions in real time where there is no issue of “officer safety” present? Do you acknowledge this is not being done currently and is a cause for mistrust and distrust of the SCPD?}

Is the SCPD prepared to make public the police budgets of the last few years and itemize how the funds were spent? If this has already been done, please provide links to where the public can find this information.
AM: [The links are on the city budget and you are welcomed to search and find them just like any other citizen.]
RN:{Are you prepared to advocate for a reduction of all police appropriation for Fiscal Year 2021 regarding mental health stops and homeless stops, transferring that funding to social service agencies who can more properly and more professionally do a job they, not the police, were trained for? Will you provide an accounting of the amount of money spent on all stops under the infraction concerns raised by Councilmember Drew Glover in the spring of 2019, which finally reached City Council in the fall, but are still concealed from the public?}

Will you make available records of the last six months, detailing incidents of where more than 4 police officers converged on a “crime scene”? HUFF has received reports of half a dozen or more police officers arriving at a peaceful encampment, Pacific Ave., or Ross parking lot scene involving one or two “suspects”.
AM: [No. We don’t readily capture that information.]
RN:{Nonetheless are you willing to review the records to determine when such “shock and awe” “massive presence” policing has taken place? Or are you saying find out such information summaries are unavailable. If the latter, please make available all police reports not involving current investigations where more than two officers came to the scene for community scrutiny and we will do the work for you.}

How much “drug enforcement” money is the police receiving, say for the last three years?
AM: [Very Little, we don’t have a drug enforcement team.]
RN: {How little is “Very Little”? How much time and money is put into “cooperative efforts” with county, state, and federal prohibition agents on this issue?}

What percentage of the SCPD budget goes to drug enforcement?
AM:[Very little there is no specialized part of the budget for this.
RN:{Please provide costs of how much time and money has been spent going after suspects for drug use, sales, possession. Or are you again claiming such records “do not exist”?}If you have any records regarding the number of police incidents involving drug enforcement, please provide them. Do you keep such records?
RN:{However you have the ability to determine the cost and time involved surely.}

Incidentally, HUFF has heard positive reports recently of police helping a few recovering addicts access services. Good work.
AM:[Thanks that is our preferred method to reduce drug use is by dealing with addiction.]
RN: {Have you kept records of times police have provided such aid, or helped those outside to services, or fed them? I am not referring to giving out paper or verbal lists of allegedly accessible services which frequently have long or closed waiting lists, but to actual police physical assistance to disabled, hungry, sick, or otherwise vulnerable people such as recent police behavior giving out sandwiches.}

Please specify any military equipment, drone, face & license surveillance technology requested or received in the last three years by the SCPD.
AM:[None. We have used the Sheriff’s drones on two occasions.]
RN:{And the use of the “Bearcat”?}
How many police officers actually live within Santa Cruz City?
AM:[Numerous officers live in and close to SC. I am not sure of the actual numbers.The last we checked there were about 60% within 20 minutes of SC.]
RN:{Since officers living in the area they have power over is an important issue for many folks, please specify how many officers actually live within the city limits and how many in the County?}
How many within Santa Cruz County?
RN:{Surely you have these figures–make them public.}
Are you still asking City Council to pass your 7 point program, presented to various groups earlier this year?
RN: {Please estimate the number of officer hours and taxpayer dollars already spent on the victimless crimes whose categories you are asking to expand and how the predicted increase in both with your 7 points.}

Please provide specific records beginning in June 2019 through the present of all arrests made and citations given regarding violations of “closed area”, being in a park after dark, violations of the COVID-19 orders of any kind, blocking the sidewalk, public nuisance, or unlawful encampment?
AM:[You have asked for this numerous times and we have given it to you each time.This takes an incredible amount of time each time you ask. If you want this information again, please submit a CPRA through the formal process.]
RN:{I’m not aware you or any other police official has honestly assessed and provided to the community and Council a careful and accurate assessment of the amount of time and money spent in “homeless policing” of non-violent victimless psuedo-crime. Am I wrong?}

In order to dampen the “intimidation factor” and assure the public that selective enforcement is not happening, will the SCPD begin to require its officers to document all stops where police officers direct (i.e. warn) members of the public (and most relevantly homeless people) to “move along”?
AM:[We will comply with the new state law requiring us to capture the perceived sex,race and reasons for the stops per the law.]
RN:{Please answer the question: will the department as stated, not the minimum that the law currently requires.}

How many “calls for service” are police responding to regarding complaints about vehicular residents since June 2019?
AM:[Scores!]I believe the Northern California ACLU has already requested this information from you. Is the SCPD regularly advising those complaining about vehicular residents that false complaints are misdemeanors punishable by fine and jail?
AM:[They are valid complaints for the most part. Perception of what is and is not a crime is not always straight forward to most.]
RN:{On the basis of what statistics and reports are you stating that the “we don’t want that van parked in our neighborhood” calls are “valid complaints”?

}Is the SCPD (and in particular retired police vigilante Joe Haebe) been direct to stop chalking tires as part of the 72-hour enforcement policy, which violates the 4th amendment according to the Michigan courts?
AM:[I don’t respond to comments like that Robert. If you want serious answers be a serious person. Joe is not a vigilante but doing a difficult job. He has been kind, patient and long suffering. Calling him a vigilante]
RN:{Sorry, Andy, Haebe is regarded by numerous vehicular dwellers I’ve spoken to as a vigilante who has made it his mission to harass poor people in cars out of the neighborhoods. I repeat the question: have you directed your officers to (a) advise all callers wanting to use the 72-hour law to “move long” vehicle dwellers that false complaints are misdemeanors? Have you advised your officers to stop using chalking or painting–a vandalistic device–as a basis for claiming violations of the 72-hour law?Just answer the questions directly, please.}

Will the police department resume reporting race and class stats (i.e. when a person has a 115 Coral St., transient, or homeless designation) on its citation/arrest summaries, as it has refused to do for the last three years? Will it allow access to these records to the general public as required by the Public Records Act?
AM:[How does one report class?]
RN:{By providing the addresses of those cited when requested to do so without elaborate delay and obstructive requirements.}
AM:[We have provided more information to you than any department in this region.]
RN:{Again, please answer the question directly and stop ducking: will you transfer the racial data indicated on citations into summaries released to the Council and public? At a time of angry concerns about racial profiling, this seems to me to be a very important step}

Please provide a record of all detentions from 1-1-19 to the present including grace and class stats, since your 2017 response below indicates you keep such records.
AM:[We collect and report out race data.]
RN:Please provide a summary of citations indicating race for January 1 through December 31 of last year: THIS IS A PUBLIC RECORDS ACT REQUEST.
AM:[What class do you want?]
RN: {It’s difficult to believe you aren’t clear on this, the class of unhoused people is indicated by the words “transient”, “115 Coral St.” or (less certainly) a general P.O. Box.}
AM:[How do you define class.]
RN:{That’s how.}
AM:[What class are you in?]
RN:{Just provide the data, please.}

My thanks for any police help (including sandwich distribution) helping homeless people in existing encampments and assistance to those in San Lorenzo Park. The great majority, of course, are in the Pogonip and elsewhere, much of the area within SCPD jurisdiction. Help there including trash pick-up’s, portapotty access, wash station availability, electrical charging, and drinkable water is badly needed. Will the SCPD be helping to facilitate this aid?
AM:[Ask the County to. It is their job! Your efforts are misplaced. As intelligent and educated you are I am shocked it has taken you this long to understand it is the county’s responsibility to provide for the homeless.]
RN:{Will you publicly support a transfer of funding from what is admittedly a huge police budget for a city our size to social services that actually serve these appropriate functions and run by the City?}

Please provide a listing of all white-collar crime citations and/or arrests made in2019, since you assure us this is a concern of yours.
AM:[File the proper request.]
RN:{How about an informal accounting to assure the Community that the department is actually engaged in such behavior?}

What particular mutual aid style arrangements has the SCPD made with other agencies, state, federal, county, and private regarding mutual assistance in the event of protest activity or broad citizen resistance (say, to COVID-19enforcement)? Your prior answer to this was vague.
AM:[There are no agreements.]
RN:{So the Oakland Expeditionary Force was just a fluke, a one-off, a random event? Please clarify under what authority you sent armed officers north, what controls they operated under, whether the SCPD is ready to do something similar when another department asks for assistance in “controlling protests”.}

Regarding police access to surveillance devices that regularly record lawful community activity, you still have not clarified where these devices are located.Will you make this information publicly available (for instance, around City Hall,or at the SCPD HQ itself)?
AM:[We have only deployed LPR’s to combat gang shootings. They have stopped for now.]
RN:{By surveillance devices, I’m speaking of any fixed devices placed or maintained with public funding surveying public property which video or audio the public engaged in lawful activities. Again, please don’t duck the question, but specify where such devices are currently operational.}

Thanks for making some of the Sean Arlt documentation available on your Transparency Portal at . Does this include all the Arlt video, audio, and witness report documentation?
AM:[Read it and let me know.]
RN:{How would I know what documentation the SCPD has but has not released?This is another example of an unresponsive answer. If you want to restore trust with the community , you must show transparency and accountability. To get respect, you must be respectworthy.}

Please clarify what prevents you from revealing the extent of ICE/SCPD disclosure as requested three years ago.
AM:[I have told you and others numerous times. We do NOT have a relationship with ICE. Period! It’s really frustrating to answer the same questions repeatedly. Because in your mind there has to be a relationship via conspiracy theory does not make it true.]
RN:{You have not provided the documentation of prior intimate involvement with ICE under Chief Vogel as requested, nor have you disclosed correspondence between ICE and the SCPD regarding the abusive conduct of the department and ICE in the spring of 2017. Please do so.}

Accurate and timely information on these issues is most helpful in assuring that
truthful matter is distributed when concerns are raised about SCPD behavior and

RN:{If your practices have changed since you made your responses, please indicate that so we can proceed forward. “Bending a knee” and leading a MLK parade means very little if you aren’t being transparent and accountable in day-to-day police practices.}

RN New Question:{In the wake of current protests, demands on other cities, and responses from some police departments, will you commit yourself to a local response to demands being made nationally to fundamentally alter institutional brutality that has become business-as-usual for many departments?}

RN:{This would include a significant shifting of SCPD jurisdiction from dealing with emotional behavioral crises, poverty “crimes”, and other areas to community agencies better trained and equipped as well as less prone to violence.}

RN New Question:{Will you publicly support and lobby for full disclosure of SCPD disciplinary records of police officers both current, applying, and past—so that “bad apple” cops won’t simply be shifted around from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (as happened for instance in the case of Officer David LaFaver some years back.}

RN New Question:{In the wake of the current protests, demands on other cities, and responses from some police departments, I would ask whether you will commit yourself to full disclosure of SCPD disciplinary records for excessive force complaints both for police applicants.} I’m sure you appreciate that.Hope to hear from you soon.
AM:[I am not going to play 1,000 questions and responses with you Robert. If you want a limited amount of time to discuss that is fine, but there are more people than you in this city of 66K who want and need help and information. We average 54 CPRAs per month. It is an enormous amount of work with very limited staff. COVID has not helped and potential furloughs will hurt us further.]

RN:{It would be easier for me and perhaps others to be more sympathetic to the needs and limitations of your department if you actually provided candid and full answers to the questions raised. That might be the first step towards a new beginning.}

HUFF, bloodied but unbowed, convenes 11 AM 3-11 at Sub Rosa

In spite of being censored from the SCRAM (Santa Cruz Resistance Against Militarism) coalition and our name removed from their endorsers in a closed meeting to which HUFF was not invited, we showed up yesterday to support the BearCat Rejection.   Coming UP on the agenda tomorrow will be Reviewing Stay Away Orders by Parks and Recreation at City Hall; Pursuing the Public Safety Committee after it cancelled its Monday meeting; Updates on the Sleeping Ban Slog towards Small Claims Court; Right2Rest lobbying…and more!  Plus coffee, cookies, and gosh knows what else!



Public Safety Committee Stonewalls Stay-Away Exclusion of Homeless in Santa Cruz


Santa Cruz City Council’s Public Safety Committee Meeting Postponed
Monday March 09
6:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location Details:
City Council Chambers or City Council Conference Room next door
Event Type: Meeting
The City Council’s Public Safety Committee [PSC] is charged with overseeing police and fire departments. However, in the last few years, it’s been the means (along with Parks and Rec boss Dannettee Shoemaker) for funneling anti-homeless legislation to the City Council.

Such laws have masqueraded as “public safety” measures in the latest smear of the poor who sleep outside as a pretext to give police more ‘tools” to frighten them out of sight and out of town.

These laws include the “panhandlers–and political activists–stay off the medians in the city” and a series of other concerns prepared by the anti-homeless Public Safety Task Force of 2013.

In January 2013, City Council vastly expanded its law unconstitutionally delegating sweeping “stay-away” order powers to police and rangers with no guidelines, no court oversight, and no independent access to appeal.

The ordinance is MC 10.08.100 at

I critically analyze the law at [“Stay-Away Stupidity Not on Tuesday’s 11-25 Council Agenda”]

The PSC has so far declined to examine the lessons learned from a year and a half from Council’s earlier 1-day Stay-Away law passed in June of 2013. A thorough examination of tickets issued under this law reveal some striking and shocking concerns.

Far from having anything to do with Public Safety, the “Stay-Away” law was used in its earlier weaker form to harass homeless people for non-criminal survival behavior (or behavior that posed no threat to anyone) such as sleeping, being in a park after dark, and smoking.

(See “Stay-Away From Human Rights ! An Activist Examines the Escalating Stay-Away Orders Law” at

Councilmember Terrazas, PSC Chair, has so far declined to put the Stay-Away on the agenda, even though his committee is charged with examining the impact of the law–but not until September 2015!

Since the law has already been used over 1000 times in its earlier form, refusing to look at clear facts is unacceptable. Pursuing and terrorizing homeless people to make the parks “friendlier” is the likely prospect for many of the City’s 1500-2000 homeless, 90% of whom have no shelter at night.

HUFF has urged Terrazas to review the real and substantial record. Instead, for unclear reasons the meeting has been postponed.

We encourage people to contact HUFF to help those given Stay-Away’s to challenge them before the City Manager, join protests around the issue, and help track the dimensions of this new attack on the homeless community.

We also urge those concerned to e-mail the PSC members:
dterrazas [at] pcomstock [at]
cchase [at]

Or call them at 831-420-5020 to urge them to hold public hearings immediately and call for suspension of the law. Until it’s clear that the law addresses real criminal behavior and does not target poor people outside.

HUFF can be reached at 831-423-HUFF (4833).
Or e-mail rnorse3 [at] .

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BearCat Buffoonery Bumbles On: Santa Cruz Police Policies & Planned Protests

Latest Update to the SCPD Policy Manual including Use Policy on the Bearcat
by Robert Norse (and the SCPD) ( rnorse3 [at] )
Friday Feb 27th, 2015 10:38 PM

After several requests and considerable delay, assistant City Attorney Reed Gallogly finally coughed up the recent additions to the SCPD Policy Manual. I previously posted the full manual as of 2011 at and the new one as of November 2014 is posted below as well as a January 2015 addition, included the day after the City Council meeting where Mayor Lane gave special time to Police Chief Vogel to read his policy.

An updated list of SCPD Officer names and numbers as of November 2013 can be found at .

Chief Vogel insisted at the January 13th Council meeting that he would not make this policy statement public It was, of course, available on video and audio–especially for those who (“illegally”) recorded it as I and John Malkin did.

Vogel read off his description of the policy at the end of the Oral Communications period pmn 1-13 in the special time allowed by Mayor Lane apparently designed to deflect and calm the concerns of the largely anti-BearCat crowd that tried to speak. Vogel’s apparently created this “policy” without any input from critics or the community generally. It’s been included in the SCPD Policy Manual by Vogel’s fiat. With no dissent so far from anyone on the Council.

Lane, however, did not allow the public to conclude its input nor invite any critics to express their concerns at that meeting.

Nor did he direct Vogel to respond to questions about the supposed “deadline” date which he and Deputy Chief Clark falsely claimed required accepting the Bearcat before the end of 2014. Members of the audience who shouted out these questions were hushed into silence. Decorum, after all, must be preserved.

Instead of marching to the police station, sitting in at the City Manager’s office, or taking other forceful direct action, SCRAM (Santa Cruz Resistance Against Militarization) deferred any protests, originally scheduled for the February 24th meeting. Food Not Bombs did not provide food at the event–which had previously been scheduled. The purpose of ducking the meeting seemed to be to avoid offending middle class police patrons who were attending a round of SCPD glorification with yet another memorial to former cops Baker and Butler. These two are well-known in the homeless community for their abusive behavior towards the poor.

Meanwhile the struggle for the cash being collecting using the Butler and Baker deaths as fund-raisers is chronicled in the rapidly-shrinking Sentinel at .

There is however, I’m told, a march against police brutality being scheduled by UCSC students on Wednesday afternoon from the Quarry to the SCPD station against police violence as oart ofthe 96 Hours of Action around tuition hikes and such.

HUFF continues to urge a broader attack on local police abuse, as described at …and … . Sending back the BearCat and refusing License Recognition software as well as establishing an NDAA-free zone in Santa Cruz seem to sell more tickets than stopping the SCPD attacks on poor and minority people, demanding transparency from the SCPD, and dislodging the SCPD from its privileged position in the political process.

For a reminder that I’m not the only one concerned about these issues, see “Police Injury of Homeless Man Still Unresolved” at and “City Bicycle Program Dysfunction Continues” at –stories suppressed by the Good Times but posted by writer Steve Schnaar. Schnaar has also written “Santa Cruz Police Department: Political Smears, Unfair Profiling, and Harassment” at .

For some reason I was unable to download the individual page describing the BearCat Policy in the updates I received, so I’ve copied it below:

706.2.7 BearCat Rescue Vehicle

The BearCat rescue vehicle is specialized equipment designed for specific purposes. The vehicle is not intended to be used for routine patrol or day-to-day operations. Only properly trained and certified personnel may operate the BearCat rescue vehicle.

The Santa Cruz Police Department is obligated to make the BearCat rescue vehicle available to other law enforcement agencies upon request. Any request ofr use of the BearCat rescue vehicle requires review and approval from a police manager. In the event the request is approved, the Santa Cruz Police Department will provide our own personnel to safely operate and deploy the vehicle.

Use of the BearCat rescue vehicle is restricted to those situations where the utility and capability of the vehicle are necessary and when the capabilities of other department vehicles are insufficient for those situations as determined by the chief of police or department designee. This includes, but is not limited to public safety emergencies, where life threatening conditions exist, the extraction of persons at risk, the need to insert police, fire, and emergency medical services into a dangerous environment, ballistic or projectile protection, high-risk vehicle stops, high-risk warrant service, active shooters, unsecured crime scenes.

This policy recognizes that it is not possible to catalog or anticipate all situations where the BearCat rescue vehicles capabilities are necessary and/or appropriate. This policy acknowledges that it is not the intent that the BearCat rescue vehicle be used in an offense manner where no threat to the public or first responder personnel exists. such situations would include, but are not limited to parades and peaceful demonstrations where violence is not threatened towards the public, property, or law enforcement personnel.

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