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Berkeley chief sends officers to look for son's stolen phone

The Berkeley police chief -- already under scrutiny for sending an officer to a reporter's house to dispute a story -- has drawn criticism again, this time for reportedly sending police to Oakland to look for his son's stolen cellphone.

Chief Michael Meehan's teenage son said somebody stole his iPhone from a Berkeley High School locker room Jan. 11, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The chief sent regular officers and those from the drug task force to look for the stolen phone, which contained tracking software.

The search led police to a North Oakland intersection, but the phone wasn't found.

Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, a police spokeswoman, told the Chronicle it was "common" for officers to "actively investigate an in-progress tracking signal from a stolen electronic device."

The newspaper said many officers had been "grumbling" about the search, which reportedly involved as many as 10 officers and included Meehan himself. Kusmiss said four detectives were paid overtime for the incident.

Kusmiss told the Chronicle no police report was filed but called that an "oversight" by the department.

Meehan declined to comment on the incident.

A San Francisco law firm is investigating the police chief after he sent Kusmiss to a reporter's home after midnight to ask for changes to a story in March.


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