By Holly Quan

KCBS_740 BERKELEY (KCBS) — Never before have we seen such a deep division between police and the communities they’re pledged to protect, and some local officers and departments are trying to stay mindful while they’re every move is under a microscope.

KCBS Special Report Series: Black and Blue – The Great Divide

Chasing bad guys is what Berkeley Police Officer Veronica Rodrigues is good at but in this age of public distrust on both sides of the this blue line, she can see why the candidate pool is shrinking given the job satisfaction of just about any other career.

“There’s a greater appeal to that than strapping on a belt, getting paid a decent salary, and being under-appreciated on a daily basis,” Rodrigues told KCBS.

It is why she’s writing a proposal for a wellness program for the department, something she thinks will help officers make better decisions in the field.

“We neglect our emotional and mental well-being, and I think that’s one of the biggest things we often overlook in law enforcement. The public, they want to look at us and see we’re physically fit, which I think is one critical component for me in that sense that I’m able to keep a level head, and stay objective, and stay healthy,” Rodrigues said.

Oakland officer Sam Tith says not everyone is comfortable admitting when they need help, but with law enforcement under a microscope, mental health is critical.

“Sometimes it’s a challenge, but you’ve got to be aware – know your bodies, know your feelings. Like me, I work out every day, I got to know myself, exercise, talk to my family,” Tith said.

Michelle Soto-Vancil was 15 when her father, Oaklaand Police Officer Miguel “Mike” Soto was gunned down by a robbery suspect in the street. She knows it’s hard to see things as she does but hopefully people can understand the difficult decisions that are made daily.

“When that car’s coming at you with a suspect in it, and you think you’re going to get run over, or that gun is pulled out, or that knife, you can’t say what you would do. My dad was a black belt, a 22-year-veteran on the force, he’d never been hurt on the job, it was a split second, and he didn’t see it coming,” Soto-Vancil said.

South San Francisco Police Sgt. Ken Chetcuti’s uncle, a Millbrae Police Officer David Chetcuti, was killed in 1998.

“Everybody needs to come together in these difficult times. It’s not us against them, or them against us. It’s not their lives, or our lives. We all matter,” Chetcuti said.

Comments (3)
  1. Aguachico says:

    The title of the article is ludicrous: “Division Between Police, Communities Seems Wider Than Ever” I’m not estranged from the police department, I and most members of the community rely on them more than ever. Those out there committing crimes are the ones with problems with the police plus the professional agitators and complainers. Why not go out and actually ask community members how they feel?

  2. Greg Gadfly says:

    A corrupt California DEA poisoned my dog to death because I called the San Francisco Attorney General’s office to complain that the FBI and DEA where fabricating evidence and stealing from me. From the time I noticed something was wrong to the time he died at the vet, it took about 30 hours for my dog to die. Kirby suffered tremendously.

    The FBI and DEA are smelly piles of dog s**t.

    Will those people that poison defenseless pets also poison humans? YES.

    Time to leak this…

    Many years ago when I was writing software for the NSA and DIA there was a rumor that several DEA employees had been giving their drug addicted informants and suspects needles tainted with HIV and Hepatitis viruses.

    Audio confirmation of Department of Justice employees joking about committing crimes came from the warrant less wiretapping after 9/11. After 9/11 the NSA was ordered to and began data collection on local, state and federal police agencies.

    These days the DEA is not much more than a proxy force for the Defense Intelligence Agency.The Defense Intelligence agency oversaw and instructed on the use of torture at Abu Graib.

    There are multiple instances of other crimes, but this is the most egregious. Another one , involved using gang members to break into their suspect’s homes and steal items and plant evidence.

    Do you know that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger before leaving office dissolved the California BNE (Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement) for the same reasons that plague the DEA…. ineffectual, rampant corruption, etc…

    The decision was supported by many respected law makers/enforcers in California including Kamala Harris, the then California Attorney General.

    The BNE was California’s DEA clone.

    Another leak…

    It was about two weeks after the Waco Texas siege, I was at a software conference and a group of our software “users” said they had heard that the Department of Justice had requested the use of incendiary rounds for Waco.

  3. Police are already avoiding or slowing response time to black ghetto areas.
    The best way to avoid having to shoot a black, is to arrive after the shooters are long one. Show up late, pick up the bodies, leave. If the black community doesn’t want police on their streets, then give them that wish. You don’t support the police, then the police won’t support you.

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