MENLO PARK (CBS SF) – Members of the Menlo Park City Council were stunned Thursday after the police chief announced his retirement at a council meeting.

Thursday’s meeting, held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, was a town hall discussion on policing. Communities across the country in recent weeks have been reexamining police practices following the death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement and the ongoing protests in response.

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After comments from the public and the council, Chief Dave Bertini said, “I’ve heard a lot tonight, I’ve heard a lot from the community, I’ve heard a lot from our elected officials and the only thing I can really say is ‘I hear you.'”

Chief Dave Bertini (Menlo Park Police Department)

Chief Dave Bertini (Menlo Park Police Department)

“There’s only really one way that this conversation can go forward is with a fresh start. And I think that it’s time for that fresh start,” the chief said before announcing his retirement.

“It’s obvious to me I have lost the trust of City Council,” Bertini went on to say. “And with that, hopefully that will give this organization a fresh start.”

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Following Bertini’s announcement, Mayor Cecilia Taylor said, “This is the first I’ve heard of it,” before calling a sudden recess of the meeting. The council then went into emergency closed session discussing the chief’s retirement.

Bertini said at the meeting he planned to retire at the end of July, but a statement on the city website said he had agreed to stay on longer to ensure a smooth transition after discussing the matter with City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson.

The chief said he would have additional comments in the coming days.

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Bertini joined Menlo Park Police in 2011, after beginning his law enforcement career in Pacifica in 1986. He became interim police chief in 2018, becoming the permanent chief several months later.