I was driving on Martin Luther King way today around noon. MLK way is in either Oakland or Berkeley. There is a city to the north called Albany, but whether MLK way goes into Albany I do not know. As you head northbound, you pass by a park area. This park is across the street from the HS, across a diff street from the HQ of the PD and the park is part of the block of Berkeley city hall.
There were various booths and tents and I figured I would find out the occasion of the gathering of the variety of people.
Anyway, apparently, from time to time, the city of Berkeley has some out-of-doors meeting event with various departments of the city. There were fireguys and police and more than a dozen of the other departments.
Berkeley has reserve officers and I chatted with this guy, one of them, for 30 to 60 minutes or so. I then chatted with officer Smith of their bomb group and then with 3 or so of the team we would call SWAT but Berkeley has an unusual name for their SWAT guys or SWAT team. Maybe they are the SPOT team!!
All of the Berkeleyan police officers who were doing public interaction and relations at the spot of the fair or gathering were all cheerful, friendly and in a good mood.
Berkeley guys now use bodycams and they got their bodycams about a year ago. I think that Berkeley police bodycams are mostly used in a way similar to those of Seattle.
The bodycams are generally on standby and recording in a 30-second loop which then goes over itself, and with no audio. If and when a Berkeleyan officer is in response to a bad or possibly bad situation, then, the cam is set on, if I understood this guy correctly.
The reserve guy with whom I chatted returns and puts in his locker his uniform and gun at the end of his shift. He does not carry his pistol when off duty and he does not carry a knife or edged weapon on or off duty, at least from what he says.
He says that Berkeley has a law forbidding the use of k9 or helicopters except in exceptional situations that the chief must choose and sign off on, or something like that.
I asked him if anyone ever did topless photography in Berkeley and if so, how does he or police tend to respond. He said his usual way would be to use discretion and not make the situation into something larger, if it can be avoided. He also said that a person being topless or doing topless photos is obviously not a case of 314, which is the number of the California state law re poorly motivated and maybe insane indecent exposure. The state has a law and the city of Berk has its own more restrictive law. The Berk law is more restrictive but less bad in terms of penalty, I think, but I would have to read it again.
I think that the “314” goofball stuff is when a guy has some relatively clear sexual intent, and then, for indecent exposure of 314, the offending person gets put on a sex offender registry! Putting a guy or gal on the sex offender registry for “indecent exposure” among adults seems barbaric. Maybe a person has to be especially stupid or foolish for that to happen by that crime.
I chatted with an anti-bomb guy named Smith. Given what he says, I think Berk actually does have once a year or so some actual explosive device or situation but most calls are for things that are found to be not explosive.
Smith and I reviewed briefly the movie Speed and also the Rock with the bad gas canisters.
The guys of the SWAT team which goes by a different name wear clothing like camouflage clothing of the army. They have different items of armor than the armor of the regular patrol. Some items of armor are pistol rated and some are rifle rated.
They showed me some of the ammo of rifles; we talked briefly about the rifle bullet speed. Apparently the rifle bullets go at 3 times as fast as handgun bullets and they go with a point and so you need stronger, heavier armor to stop the bullets of a rifle. I could be wrong, but I think that conflict with police resulting in an officer shooting and killing a noncooperating and violently resisting person last took place in 2002, which makes the city very lucky!
The reserve guy told me of his first response to an active shooter situation. The shooter apparently got clean away in a crowd of people without being stopped.
There was some unofficial party with no security, no police and no wanding or metal detectors. Why would someone organize a party with more than 40 people and no security and the unpredictable risk of gunfire if someone got very mad?
I told him I would let him and the police know if I ever throw any large parties and there will be police or security guys.
The SWAT guys said that they respond more quickly than do Oakland police in cases of shooting and would be to any reports of shooting very fast.
I do not know what fairs the city has in the summers and I do not expect to be here all of next summer . . . I will wear one of my swords sometime but I do not know how soon or if it will be in 2020!
California has a law against open carry of firearms and so people generally do not actually see guns other than at home or on the police officers or the security guards of the banks.
I think it may be difficult to do some Civil War reenactments or to imitate the Minutemen here . . . Ha!