Berkeley Police Chief Defends Overtime To Track Son’s Stolen iPhone

BERKELEY (KCBS) – Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan insisted a recent search for his son’s stolen iPhone should not be seen as an example of preferential treatment.

The iPhone stolen from a locker at Berkeley High School in January was equipped with tracking software that was sending a signal to Chief Meehan’s own phone. When the chief showed a detective the tracking signal, that officer then directed his team to find the phone.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

“The reality is that it’s not unusual for us to respond to a live track of stolen property with the resources that we have available at the time. And we’ve done it in other cases,” Meehan said Wednesday.

Four Berkeley officers were each paid two hours of overtime in connection with the search, which ultimately involved 10 officers, including several members of an Oakland drug task force. The phone has not been recovered.

Meehan tried to fend off criticism of the response, saying he expects his department to respond the same to for any crime victim in a similar circumstance.

“We would look at the circumstances at hand. We’d look at the availability of resources. And I’ll tell you that I expect that our people would give the best service level possible based on that in every case,” he said.

Meehan said that multiple officers often respond on theft cases involving high-tech devices that can be tracked in real time.

The controversy over the iPhone search followed a mea culpa by Chief Meehan for sending a police officer to a reporter’s home late at night to discuss unfavorable coverage of a community meeting about the fatal beating of an Oakland Hills resident.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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