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Petaluma Police Detectives Unit
The members of the Petaluma Police Department's Investigations Unit are assigned to investigate felony crimes reported to the City of Petaluma Police Department; such as homicide, robbery, sexual assault, child physical/sexual abuse, arson, suspicious death investigations, missing persons, identity theft, forgery, embezzlement, domestic violence, elder abuse and any/other cases requiring major follow-up investigation. Detectives assigned to this unit also apprehend offenders and prepare cases for criminal prosecution. Members of the unit process evidence and conduct fingerprint examinations. They also work with and assist other police agencies in the investigation of crimes occurring in other jurisdictions such as officer involved critical incidents pursuant to the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chief's Association Protocol.
The Investigations Unit consists of four detectives, a detective sergeant, a victim advocate, and an evidence technician. Contact information for each member of the Investigations Unit is noted below. The Detectives assigned to the Investigations Unit are carefully selected from sworn officers within the department based upon demonstrated dedication and excellence in conducting criminal investigations. After being selected to the Investigations Unit, the Detectives are sent to schools throughout the state to receive highly specialized "advanced officer" training. Most of the specialized training is certified by P.O.S.T. (California Peace Officers Standards and Training) and can range from 24 to 80 hours of instruction per school. Examples include Criminal Investigation, Homicide Investigation, Sexual Assault Investigation, Child Abuse Investigation and Officer Involved Critical Incident Investigation. Many of the schools are sponsored by California State Universities and ensure that the City of Petaluma has the highest quality Law Enforcement services to offer victims of crime. All of the Detectives are members of various Law Enforcement Associations that enable them to maintain their skills in specialized areas. Examples include California Homicide Investigator's Association and California Sexual Assault Investigator's Association.
Please refer to our page on Crime Prevention. Some information we find commonly asked about is listed below:
Hover on a topic to view the content.
Most of the cases that are assigned to members of the Petaluma Police Department are referred from the patrol division. If you need to report crimes please do not contact a member of the Investigations Unit as this will not ensure that you receive appropriate, prompt police attention. You can call 911 if the situation is an emergency or, for a non-emergency police investigation you can call 707.778.4372. You can also email the Petaluma Police Department at email@example.com
If you need to speak to a specific member of the Investigations Unit, the following information may assist you:
Contacting a Member of the Investigations Unit
Investigations Sergeant Paul Gilman 707-781-1236 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The internet is a very informative and entertaining venue for children. Unfortunately, many predators use the anonymity of the internet to hide their identity and prey on the vulnerability of children. Because of this, parents must monitor their children’s use of computers and educate them of the dangers associated with internet use. A few simple rules to teach your child about online safety can have a lasting effect.
- Do not give out personal information, such as your address, telephone number, parent’s work address/telephone number, or the name and location of your school without your parent’s permission.
- Tell your parents immediately if you come across any information that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Never agree to get together with someone you met online without first checking with your parents. If your parents agree to the meeting, be sure that it is in a public place and have your parents with you.
- Never send anyone a picture or anything else without first checking with your parents.
- Do not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make you feel uncomfortable. It is not your fault if you get a message like that. If you do, tell your parents right away so that they can contact the online services.
- You can talk with your parents so that you can set up rules for going online. You can decide upon the time of the day that you can be online, the length of time you can be online and appropriate sites for you to visit. You must agree to these rules with your parents and must not break them without their permission. (FEMA.gov)
In addition to these rules for parents to discuss with their children, visit http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm for further information on protecting your child online.
If you are being threatened, harassed or physically abused by your partner, or ex-partner, you have the right to be protected. The Petaluma Police Department is committed to protecting all victims of domestic violence. In addition to having detectives specifically trained in investigating domestic violence, we are fortunate enough to have a Victim Advocate from United Against Sexual Assault that works within the Investigations Unit. In addition to providing emotional support throughout the investigation, the victim advocate can assist with providing resources and obtaining restraining orders.
If you are, or have been, involved in a violent relationship and require assistance, please call the Petaluma Police Department immediately. When the officer arrives, he/she can protect you from immediate danger or harm. In order to provide you with immediate safety, there are several legal options that are available.
There are three ways to handle the incident when the officer arrives. When the officer witnesses the crime or where the victim sustains a serious or visible injury, the officer shall make an arrest. Even if the suspect is arrested, that person can post bail and be released at any time. The victim is to be informed before the suspect is released from custody. The arresting officer shall notify the victim upon notification from the Sonoma County Jail, and if that person is not available, another officer shall make the contact.
If the officer did not witness the crime, and there is no visible injury, the officer can do one of two things. The officer may make an arrest or inform you of your right to make a Citizens Arrest. This allows the officer to take the suspect into custody. If you choose to make a citizens arrest, you will be required to sign a citizen's arrest form and provide the officer with a written and signed statement describing the events surrounding the crime.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
Petaluma Police Officers can obtain an Emergency Protective Order against a suspect if any of the following situations apply: You are living with or have recently lived with or have had a dating relationship with the suspect and there is an incidence of violence or threat of violence against you or your children.
- You call the Petaluma Police Department and the suspect is present or in the immediate area when the officer arrives.
- The officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you or your children are in immediate and serious danger of domestic violence.
The Emergency Protective Order will remain in effect until 5:00 P.M. on the fifth court date, or the seventh calendar day after being issued, whichever comes first. This is designed to provide you with immediate legal protection until you are able to obtain a temporary restraining order.
Temporary Restraining Orders
The forms necessary to request a Temporary Restraining Order are available, free of charge, at the Sonoma County Family Law Clerks Office, Hall of Justice, Room 108-J, 600 Administration Drive , Santa Rosa , 565-1100. If you need assistance in completing the forms, contact the Victim Advocate at the Petaluma Police Department, 778-4533. Completed papers must be returned to the Family Law Clerks Office.
Judges review and sign the petitions Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Once a Temporary Restraining Order has been issued, file one copy with the Petaluma Police Department and keep another with you at all times. The Order can do any of the following:
- Order the suspect to stay a specified distance away from you and your children.
- Order the suspect to stay away from your home, work, and children's school or care provider.
- Order the suspect to move out of your home even if the suspect is a co-owner or lessee.
- Give you custody of your children and make visitation orders.
- Order the payment of child support.
- Order the suspect not to contact you or your family by phone.
- Order the suspect to make payments on specific debts and bills.
- Order the suspect and victim to participate in counseling.
- The Penal Code Section for violations of these orders cannot be enforced until the person to be restrained has been served notice or has been advised by the court.
As a victim of domestic violence, you have the right to file a civil suit against your abuser. You may sue for losses suffered as a result of the abuse including medical expenses, loss of earnings or other costs related to your injuries. You may also claim damage to your property or expenses incurred by any agency sheltering you after the abuse.
Sexual assault is a crime, whether committed by a stranger, an acquaintance, a relative, or even your spouse. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you should take the following steps:
- Go immediately to a safe place and call for assistance.
- If you are injured, seek medical help immediately.
- Do not bathe, shower, douche or dispose of your clothing.
When the officer arrives, it is important to provide information about what happened to you and who was responsible. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, contact the Petaluma Police Department as soon as possible. The sooner the crime is reported, the greater the odds are of arresting and convicting the suspect. When the Petaluma officer arrives, you will be asked questions in order to obtain preliminary information about what happened and who was responsible.
Depending on the circumstances and the nature of the assault, you may need a medical examination. You should take a complete change of clothes with you. The clothing worn at the time of the assault will be collected by the officer because they may present evidence against the suspect.
During the investigation, ask the officer any questions regarding the procedures being used. You have the right to request your name not become a matter of public record. Pursuant to Penal Code 679.04 , you have the right to have an advocate present during an interview by any law enforcement authority, the District Attorney or Defense Attorney. Pursuant to Penal Code 264.2 an officer will immediately notify United Against Sexual Assault, and/or an advocate of your choice so you will have a support person to assist you through the entire process. An advocate can accompany and support you at sexual assault medical examinations, during the detective’s interview, and in court. United Against Sexual Assault advocates will further help you with problems that arise with your family, friends, school, work, or housing. Advocates can answer your questions, inform you of your options, advocate for your rights, connect you to counseling and victim funds, and talk with you at any time. Advocate services are confidential.
As a victim of either domestic violence or sexual assault, you have the right to:
- File a complaint and receive services regardless of the relationship between you and the suspect.
- Have a counselor throughout the entire process.
- Privacy when meeting counselors or law enforcement officers.
- Receive an explanation about all procedures and forms.
- Voice complaints and expect to have them heard.
- Talk about, or not talk about, what happened to you.
Victim's Resources and Important Phone Numbers / Link
- Emergency 9-1-1
- Dispatch 762-2727
- Business 778-4372
- Petaluma Police Department Victim Advocate 778-4533
- YWCA 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline 546-1234
- Verity (formerly United Against Sexual Assault) 24-hour Hotline 545-7273
Temporary Restraining Order Clinic
- Legal Aid of Sonoma County
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 9:15 am to 4:30 pm for walk-ins or by appointment 542-1290
- Petaluma Peoples Service Center 765-8488
- Sonoma County Legal Services 546-2924
- Petaluma Police Department Victim Advocate 778-4533
- YWCA Counseling for Women in Abusive Relationships 546-1234
- District Attorney Domestic Violence Counselor 565-2311
- Sonoma County Victim/Witness Assistance 565-8250
- Victims of Crime Resource Center (800)–VICTIMS
- YWCA – Women's Emergency Shelter 546-1234
- Manna Home 576-1471
- Community Action Partnership 544-6911
- Redwood Gospel Mission / The Rose Shelter 573-0490, call after 4 PM
Crisis Counseling Hotlines
- YWCA 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline 546-1234
- Sonoma County Mental Health 576-8181
- Social Advocates for Youth 546-3432
- Child Protective Services 565-4300
- Orenda Center Hotline 565-7450
- Verity (formerly United Against Sexual Assault) 24-hour Hotline 545-7273
Food and Clothing Supply, Transportation, Information and References
- YWCA of Sonoma County Rummage Sale 546-9922
- Friends in Sonoma Helping (F.I.S.H.)
- Santa Rosa 527-5151
- Sonoma Valley 996-0111
County Mental Health Outreach
- Sonoma 996-3644
- Family and Service Agency* 545-4551
- California Parenting Institute* - Santa Rosa 585-6108
- Recourse Mediation Services 525-8545
*a nominal fee may be requested for services
Counseling for Offenders
- Sonoma County M.E.N. 528-2636
The Petaluma Police Department understands the special concerns involved when interviewing children who are victims of child abuse. The interview process is completed at the Redwood Children's Center, a facility designed to be a safe, warm, child-friendly environment.
The detectives of the Petaluma Police Department have received specialized training in the area of interviewing children who are victims of sexual assault and work closely with the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office, the Sonoma County Child Protective Services, Health and Human Services and the Redwood Children's Center, as a multi-disciplinary team to reduce the trauma to a child victim. This limits the number of interviews and adults the child victim has to talk to regarding the crime. This approach allows each agency to collect accurate factual information and ensures the quality of the case presented is as thorough as possible.
To visit the Redwood Children's Center, go to www.vomchildrensfoundation.org.
In 1947, California implemented the nation's first sex offender registration program to track the whereabouts of persons convicted of specific crimes. The registration requirement is for life, unless the offender is relieved of this responsibility through the legal process. In 1995 a child molester was arrested for the murder and rape of 7 year-old Megan Kanka in a New Jersey suburb. The offender lived right across the street from the Kanka residence; however the Police Department was prohibited from disclosing the presence of this child molester because at the time the law did not allow the release of sex offender information to the public.
The law was changed to permit the release of this information to the public and on May 8, 1996, President Clinton signed the law, dubbed "Megan's Law" in remembrance of little Megan Kanka. The California State Legislature signed California's version of Megan's Law into effect on September 25, 1996. This law was implemented to allow potential victims to protect themselves and allow parents to protect their children.
The Petaluma Police Department and Megan's Law
The Petaluma Police Department is committed to keeping children safe and parents informed about sexual offenders living near them. In 2007, the Petaluma Police Department assigned one of its detectives the sole primary function of managing sex offenders that reside within the city of Petaluma. The detective is responsible for registering sex offenders who move into, within or out of the city of Petaluma. The detective is responsible for ensuring that all sex offenders registered in the city of Petaluma comply with the legal requirements demanded of them. The detective tracks each and every registrant to ensure that conditions such as probation and/or parole are complied with and provides regular updates to department personnel as to the status of all sex registrants. The detective is responsible for investigating all violations of registration requirements. For more specific information regarding names and locations of these offenders, go to www.meganslaw.ca.gov.
Other Ways to Obtain Sex Offender Information
Sex Offender Identification Line – The Sex Offender Identification Line is a telephone service for use by the public and organizations to identify serious sex offenders. The cost for calling the 1-900-463-0400 line is a flat rate fee of $10.00 for information on up to two individuals.
To use the 900 line, you must be at least 18 years of age, and you must know the following information about the person you are checking:
- The name of the person, AND one of the following:
- an exact address, or
- exact date of birth, or
- California driver license or identification number, or social security number.
If you know only the person's name, you will need to provide a complete description of the person.
Use of this information
The release of this information to the public is a means of assuring public protection and not to punish the offender. The information may not be used to harass the offender or commit any crime against the offender. Public safety is best served when offenders are not concealing their location to avoid harassment.
You can reduce the risk to yourself and your family by taking simple precautions:
- Practice good security – at home, at the office, and in your vehicle.
- Be alert to locations and situations that make you and your family vulnerable to crime, and be aware of people around you and your family.
- Educate yourself on crime prevention tactics. For assistance contact your local law enforcement agency or the Crime and Violence Prevention Center of the California Attorney General's Office.
Teach your children to avoid situations that put them in danger of abuse, molestation or abduction. Help protect your child by establishing a home environment where your child feels safe to tell you anything, without fear, shame, ridicule or punishment.
A safe and supportive home environment, combined with clear instructions about what behavior is acceptable and what is not, will guide you child's actions and encourage your child to tell you if something improper happens.
Many parents warn their children not to talk to strangers. More often than not, an abuser or abductor is known to the child. He or she can be a school bus driver, teacher, relative, neighbor or family friend.
It is best to teach your child to avoid certain situations or actions. Children should know from an early age that some behavior is not acceptable, and that they have the right to tell an adult to leave them alone.
Here are some specific rules you can teach your child:
- Stay away from people who call you near their car, even if they offer to take you somewhere exciting.
- If someone tries to take you away, yell, “This person is not my father (mother)” and scream.
- You don't have to keep secrets from your parents. No one can hurt your parents or pets if you tell what happened.
- No one should touch you in the parts covered by your bathing suit, and you should not be asked to touch anyone there.
For more information, call the Petaluma Police Department, or view the California Attorney General's home page: http://www.caag.state.ca.us.
Identity theft crimes are on the rise and are one of the quickest growing crimes. Statistics show that identity theft crime has risen 1400% since 1997 and credit bureaus report losses of millions of dollars every year. With the use of internet increasing every year, the instances of this crime go up every day. The Federal Trade Commission has reported there were 45,175 victims of identity theft reported from California in 2005. California, with 125 victims per 100,000 population, ranked third in the nation behind Nevada and Arizona in cases of reported identity theft.
What Is Identity Theft?
According to Penal Code section 530.5, it is a felony to use the personal identifying information of another person without the authorization of that person for any unlawful purpose including to obtain credit, goods, services or medical information. The criminal can also use the new identity to avoid traffic or criminal court charges; this is called Evasion of Due Process. Another type of identity theft is Immigration Fraud, which is an impersonation of a U.S. citizen in order to avoid laws which prohibit the employment of undocumented workers.
What to do if you become a victim of Identity Theft:
Set up a folder to keep detailed history of this crime.
Keep a log of all your contacts and make copies of all documents pertaining to the crime. When sending correspondence, use certified mail or return receipt request.
Contact the fraud department at each of the three major credit bureaus. Ask them to place a “fraud alert” on your account.
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19016-1000
Phone: (800) 680-7289
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348
Phone: (800) 525-6285
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
Phone: 888-EXPERIAN ((888) 397-3742)
Contact all creditors, by phone and in writing, for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Get replacement cards with new account numbers for your own accounts that have been used fraudulently. Carefully monitor your mail and credit cards for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report any fraudulent activity to credit grantors immediately. You may be asked by banks and credit grantors to fill out and notarize affidavits for the frauds, which could become costly. The law does not require that a notarized affidavit be provided to creditors. A written statement and supporting documentation should be enough.
Ask for copies of your credit reports. Credit bureaus must give you a free copy of your report if it is inaccurate because of fraud. Review your reports carefully to make sure no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name or unauthorized changes made to your existing accounts. In a few months, order new copies of your reports to verify your corrections and changes, and to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.
Contact the Social Security Administration's Fraud Hotline www.ssa.gov to report fraudulent use of your social security number at 1-800-269-0271.
- Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery.
Use the post office instead of leaving outgoing mail in your mailbox.
Never give personal information over the phone, such as your social security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, credit card number, or bank PIN code, unless you initiated the phone call. Protect this information and release it only when absolute necessary.
- Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit card receipts, bills and other financial information you don't want before discarding them.
Order your credit report from the three major credit bureaus once a year to check for fraudulent activity or other discrepancies.
- Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles, or unattended gas pumps. Keep track of all your paperwork. When you no longer need it, destroy it.
- Memorize your social security number and all of your passwords. Do not record them on any cards or on anything in your wallet or purse.
Sign all new credit cards upon receipt.
- Save credit cards receipts and match them against your monthly bills.
Be conscious of normal receipt of routine financial statements. Contact the sender if they are not received in the mail.
- Notify your credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or phone number.
- Never put your credit card number or any other financial account number on a postcard or on the outside of an envelope.
If you applied for a new credit card and it hasn't arrived in a timely manner, call the bank or credit card company involved.
Report all lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
- Closely monitor expiration dates on your credit cards. Contact the credit card issuer if replacement cards are not received prior to the expiration date.
- Beware of mail or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions offering instant prizes or awards designed solely to obtain your personal information or credit card numbers.
EMERGENCY cell phone calls: 707.762.2727
Ken Savano, Chief of Police
969 Petaluma Blvd. North
Petaluma, CA 94952
To submit a commendation or to
report possible officer misconduct,
Code Enforcement 707.778.4469
Graffiti Hotline 707.776.3606
Property & Evidence 707.778.4328
Mental Health Resources
Report Habitual DUI Offenders 707.778.4379
Traffic Complaints (Voice Mail) 707.776.3775
Parking and Abandoned Vehicle Complaints 707-776-3710
Monday – Thursday, 8AM - 5PM