2015 Annual Report

I want to tell you what an honor and a privilege it has been to serve you as the Chief of Police over the last year. This community continues to inspire me to be more engaged and create even stronger partnerships. Through that community partnership, together with our amazing staff, our vision is to become the greatest police department anywhere.

We have connected with the community in a number of ways this past year. Firsthand, through interactions on the street; walking patrol areas, parks and business districts. Creating opportunities to connect with residents, business owners, visitors and our youth. Through these contacts, we are fostering greater bonds amongst our officers and those they serve.

Second, and perhaps most noticeably, through social media. This year saw the department’s rollout of our Facebook page. It is off to a very strong start. It is clear that the community greatly appreciates the informative nature of this tool and the transparency it provides. It is, in some ways, a double-edged sword. The sudden open visibility of crime and the significant amount of great police work that is happening has caused many to feel as though they are in the midst of a crime wave! The good news is that Benicia continues to be one of the safest cities in California, especially in regards to violent crime. Violent crime remains almost non-existent. While we did see an increase in low-level property crimes of about 6% in 2015, we had only 29 violent crimes for the entire year.

We have also been successful in hiring a number of new police officers, who bring different skill sets to the department to strengthen our community.

We hope to continue to strengthen our partnerships with the community, as it is only through that partnership that we can succeed in our mission:

With honor and integrity at all times, in partnership with our community, we are dedicated to keeping Benicia safe and enhancing the quality of life in our city.

In 1829 Sir Robert Peel, considered the father of modern English policing, laid out nine principles.  One of those principles has always resonated for me, and it has helped drive the culture of this department:

The police at all times should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition the police are the public and the public are the police; the police are the only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the intent of the community welfare.

The Benicia Police Department has had a number of other significant accomplishments this year, many of which will be expounded upon in this report. Most importantly, my hope is that we have continued to earn your trust and respect and have made great strides in keeping this community safe. I look forward to our continued efforts to further strengthen our bonds.

Chief Erik Upson