Police in Schools

Facebook Pays California Cop's Salary



In a first-of-a-kind deal, Facebook will pay the salary of a full-time police officer to patrol Menlo Park, California, where the company's headquarters are located.

The social media giant made a three year, $200,000-a-year offer to fund a new position on the force, which city council unanimously approved on Tuesday. The agreement stipulated that Facebook would have no input in whom the city hired or any other employment issues, such as discipline, after disbursing the funds. On Thursday, the city picked eight-year veteran of the force Mary Ferguson-Dixon. 

Business Insider writes that Ferguson-Dixon "won't be patrolling the Facebook campus — the company already employs a private security force for that purpose. Instead, beginning April 1 she will "handle neighborhood issues such as truancy, school and business safety, and overall neighborhood security enhancements" in the Belle Haven neighborhood, notes the San Francisco Gate.

Some are skeptical of the arrangement. NBC spoke to several communities members:

"I find this particularly concerning," said Alessandro De Giorgi, a justice studies professor at San Jose State University.

Giorgi worries about the ramifications of a private company paying for a historically publicly paid police officer. And in his opinion, any money should go to fund education, not police officers whose job it is to arrest people – especially students – and put them in jail or juvenile hall.

"I don't think there is anything ethically wrong with it," said Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, a nonprofit group that aims to keep governments accountable. "But I don't think it's good government. The notion is that government services are paid for by everyone. This comes awfully close to naming rights. So, what will things be called now, 'Google City Hall?'"

Yet, while it seems like the multi-billion dollar company could better invest in the community in better ways that catching delinquent youths, there's no reason to bite the hand that feeds: the $200,000 salary is one less burden the taxpayers of Menlo Park have to bear.

NEXT: Daisy Bram a Witness in Federal Case Against Three San Francisco Cops

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  1. The notion is that government services are paid for by everyone.

    Yep. “Notion” is the bon mot there.

  2. What the hell is “justice studies”?

    And why does it cost $200,000 per year to pay for one police officer?

    1. Whatever the cop equivalent of malpractice insurance is.

    2. It’s probably fair to say that you’re not just covering the salary, you’re covering several externalities along with it– benefits etc.

      And if Menlo Park is like many other modern municipalities, their cops aren’t exactly making $150 a week anymore. They all have starting salaries of $70,000.

    3. They give em’ those Dick Tracy wrist watches now.

    4. And have you seen the price of doughnuts lately? Probably can only get then at a Starbucks or Whole Foods in that town.

  3. So, what now? Do I have to click on the links to find the underlying reasons here?

    From this post I know that facebook funded a new position on the force. The city, rightfully said that Facebook doesn’t get to call the shots. What does Facebook get out of this?

    In the world of systems analysis, I guess I’m asking: What does facebook not have right now that they believe they’ll get when this officer starts working?

    I have to agree with Justice Studies(?!) professor, I don’t like that a private company is paying for officers. Yeah, it ‘reduces’ my tax burden (in reality it probably doesn’t) but what’s the motivation here, moral qualms aside?

    1. It might just be for the publicity. Companies donate to charity all the time in order to make themselves look good. Sure, they also do it for the tax write-off, but the publicity is always a huge factor, too. I don’t know for sure if the IRS will count this as a charity, but it sounds plausible. But the important thing is that an unusual gift like this should get a lot more attention than a normal charitable contribution, and I’m sure that’s what they’re going for.

  4. So who is shaking down whom?

  5. So will he have to change his last name to Facebook, like in Jennifer Government?

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