Atherton Police Department Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need an alarm system?
Yes, we recommend that all residents that have an alarm when possible. When a burglar alarm is received at the police department, 2 police officers are automatically sent to your house. When a fire alarm is received, a fire engine and a police officer are sent to your house.
Do I really need to have my alarm monitored at the Police Department? My alarm company said it is not necessary or possible.
Yes, it is very important to have your alarm monitored directly at the police department. During a recent burglary, our officers responded to an alarm call and narrowly missed apprehending the suspects. We believe that the burglars were in the house mere moments before the police officers arrived. What is remarkable about this incident is that our officers arrived on the scene in less than 50 seconds from receiving the radio dispatch. The problem was that the alarm company did not originally contact us for 8 minutes. This is why we implore all alarm owners to have their system monitored directly in the police department dispatch. Many alarm company's central monitoring centers are not even in the State, let alone the Bay Area.
If you think you accidentally set off your alarm, even for a moment, you probably did. Call the police department's business number, and inform the dispatcher of your error. Remember to have your account number readily available when you call. Please do not call 9-1-1 to report a false alarm. 9-1-1 is for emergencies only!
Know your account number. Your account number is different from your touch pad number, if you have one. If you do not know your correct account number, the police department must respond to ensure the safety of your house. If appropriate, contact your alarm company if you do not know your account number.
Before setting your alarm, secure your pets to areas of your home that are not covered by either motion detectors, or pressure pads.
Ensure that you and your family are familiar with your complete alarm system.
What happens when I dial 9-1-1?
If you are dialing from your home, the call comes directly into the police department and a screen automatically comes up on our computer screen giving us your address and all pertinent information. We immediately dispatch the appropriate emergency response for your problem along with 1 or 2 police officers. On a cellular telephone, your call is routed directly to the Highway Patrol in Solano County and is then rerouted back to our office. Obviously, this creates a delay. For the Police Department when using your cellular telephones, preprogram the police department's emergency telephone number: (650) 323-6131.
My neighbor's dog is always barking. Why don't the police do anything about it?
New court decisions have established that police departments and the SPCA can no longer enter private property to impound a barking dogs, When we receive a barking dog complaint, an officer is sent to investigate. If the owners are not home, we will try to obtain a responsible person to take control of the animals. We will also enter the complaint into our computer system. If enough complaints are received from a certain address over time, establishing this as a chronic nuisance, a formal report is sent to the city attorney for legal action.
When can Gardeners start making noise each day?
A new noise ordinance has been adopted by the Town, click New Noise Ordinance for all the details.
Some Atherton residences have a blue police department sign on their gate. Where do I get one of these?
Reflective alarm signs are available to Atherton homeowners whose residences are alarmed directly into the Atherton Police Department Monitoring System; however, residents without alarms may also purchase signs. The obvious purpose is to deter criminals by giving notice that any unlawful entry will be detected immediately by the Atherton Police. Each residence will have its own reflective house number on this 6 x 8 sign, which greatly aids the responding officers to locate your home during an emergency. It is highly recommended that all homes alarmed directly to the Atherton Police Department have one or more of these signs prominently displayed on the property.
You have a choice of either spike mounting
into your lawn, or
wall mounting to your fence or gate. Our cost is $30/sign.
To place your order, please call or come by the office for
an order form. This is also a good time to make sure our emergency
contact information is up to date. Ask for a Blue Update Card
at the front desk.
Are there any contingency plans in case of an earthquake or other major disaster?
Yes, the police department in conjunction with all city departments has very extensive plans and emergency supplies in the event of a major disaster. This plan includes the activation of an Emergency Operations Center at city hall as well as area evacuation centers, etc. The police department is happy to come out and brief any groups on the details of these plans. Also, in case of a major emergency, tune your FM radio to 89.1 for current local information broadcast by Atherton Police dispatch.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Further information on the aforementioned programs and policies, as well as requests for individual or group meetings on crime prevention or any other law enforcement topic can be obtained by calling the police department at (650) 688-6500.