City of Pleasanton

In a meeting that saw over 100 public speakers, the Pleasanton City Council held a listening session to gather community input on policing.

The July 21 special meeting lasted about three hours. Due to the volume of public speakers, each was limited to two minutes (instead of the standard three) of speaking time. Both those critical and supportive of the Pleasanton Police Department (PPD) expressed opinions.

One of the first to speak was John Bauer, whose son, Jacob, was killed by PPD officers in 2018.

“During those numerous meetings with PPD, in which we desperately pleaded for help, we were laughed at by one officer. Another officer came to our home and said Jacob had it too easy — he needs to hit rock bottom, and we should start his descent by evicting him from our home. Another officer minimized Jacob’s problems …” Bauer said, further adding his firsthand accounts of witnessing improper use of force by PPD officers. “My advice to the PPD is that next time they kill someone ... do not immediately assassinate the character of the deceased.”

Joshua Rodriguez came out in favor of the PPD, noting that as an Hispanic man, he’s never been profiled or harassed. Through volunteer work, he’s also worked directly with officers.

“I am so grateful that you dedicate your time,” Rodriguez said. “Please do not cut back on the budget. I want to be a voice of advocacy for you as you have been nothing but superior.”

Mark Shauver was another voice of support for the department.

“I’ve always had a great respect for police officers …” Shauver began. “What we are witnessing today — where even though it is a small, radical, misguided group of pseudo American citizens that are criticizing our police to the point of wanting to abolish them altogether — is unthinkable and, more accurately, infuriating to me.”

But another young man, Aryan Ohri, who was one of the organizers of recent Pleasanton protests insisted that while he understands the PPD is a great department, that isn’t the point of the conversation.

“It’s the fact that they could become a bad department, and there’s nothing stopping them from doing that,” he said. “We don't have enough legal barriers.”

The next council meeting is set for Aug. 20, during which time, city leadership will share a comprehensive review of existing police department policies and procedures.