Palo Alto Police Chief Set to Retire

Palo Alto police chief Dennis Burns announced yesterday that he is retiring at the end of the year after 35 years with the city and eight years in the top position and several people who are typically police critics are praising Burns for his work.

Burns, 59, started working for the police department in 1982, and for a short time beginning in 2010, he also served as the interim Fire Chief.

He was busy during this time, and Palo Alto criminal defense attorney Tom Nolan, who worked with Burns when he was on one of the police advisory committees. Burns is “an exceptionally hard worker “, he said the praise is noteworthy considering that Nolan’s law firm often represents clients who were who who are arrested by Burns officers. “He’s the kind of cheap that Paula Walter deserves, “Nolan said, calling him intelligent and thoughtful.

Retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell, who served on the committee that shows the finalist for the chief position, called Burns a “decent person “, who has done well for the city. “I am very pleased that he is the person we came up with to be the chief, “said Cordell, a former Palo Alto city Council woman. And he’s proven that he was up for the job, she said. Burns took over after former police chief Lynn Johnson resigned in 2008 amid accusations of racial profiling.

The next chapter

As for why he is retiring, Burns said it was simply time, according to a statement issued by the city. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter, “he said. “The organization is stable, and we have a capable, professional team in place. I am confident that we have the right personnel and organizational structure to ensure the Palo Alto Police Department will maintain its high standards and dedication to protecting the community,”

Throughout his career, Burns has worked patrol, served as a SWAT team leader, a detective and detective supervisor, a crime prevention officer, and a detective tactics instructor.

In 2015, Burns earned a total salary of $243,390.  Burns was known for going out on patrol, even during his time as police chief. In 2012, he caught a couple of burglary suspects in East Palo Alto, after he put on it in uniform and went out. But some of Burns decisions have raised concerns over the years.

In 2011, Burns got heat for allowing Palo Alto police to provide mutual aid to Oakland when cops violently clashed with occupy protesters.

City manager James Keane said the city will conduct a nationwide search for a new police chief. In the meantime, Captain Ron Watson, a 26 year veteran, will serve as interim police chief, he said. But Watson has indicated that he will not be a candidate for the permanent police chief position, according to Keene.

California Public Records Request Reveals Chief Dennis’s Burns private state retirement party.  

Retirement Invite List 1

Retirement Invite List 2

Retirement Inviie_Former Employees 1


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2 Replies to “Palo Alto Police Chief Set to Retire”

  1. We wish Dennis Burns an enjoyable retirement he’s earned. Although I have disagreed with many of his policy’s, Dennis has always displayed a calm demeanor including being an exceptional listener. Both are critical ingredients as a successful leader. And I think he’s demonstrated that. Dennis, its your time to buy a cup of coffee when I’m back in town….

    Its finally hitting the fan.. about a Los Altos Hills resident exposing corruption that affects everyone in Santa Clara County.

    When the Police and DA are in collusion it always spells corruption. As citizens we are asked to “trust but verify”, but when the verify is taken from us, TRUST is nullified. Please help Tim financially in his upcoming retrial in the beginning of 2017.

    When the Police Chief Dennis burns is responsible for “destroying evidence” original video files in this 3 year ongoing case… he decides to retire??. Palo Alto Police say they are changing the way they handle evidence especially when the “original” video tapes would have produced the 8 minutes missing from them.

    What is worse is it easier to delete and say oops, or get caught with 2 completely different video tapes, clearly edited.

    No matter. We have Stutchman Forensic Labs that confirmed the video tapes were “completely butchered.” But butchered by who?…. as we now know that it was likely done at the office of DA, Santa Clara County.

    Word has it that the DA was involved in a prior different case and nearly got disbarred for the tampering and altering evidencieary VIDEO. They were supposed to clean up the DA on their own, but we now know because of this case with Tim Pierce that the tampering has not gone away, but has gotten worse, and is at the heart of Palo Alto Police Department.

    DA and Palo Alto Police Department History of Tampered Evidence.

    Help fight Silicon Valley corruption

    (Defendant – Timothy Pierce, Attorney – Laura Robinson)

    Please read article… very important!

    Here is the link or type it in:

    (Tim Pierce heart attack survivor link to article: )

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