May 29, 2023
Final Reports
San Mateo Courts - Civil Grand Jury 1999 Final Report: Pacifica Police Department
Background | Findings | Recommendations

The City of Pacifica Police Department is located in two buildings. All of Pacifica's emergency services and police administration are located in a structure built in 1908 and remodeled in 1982 when the building was purchased by the City of Pacifica. According to a property condition report commissioned by the Public Works Department and prepared by Grossman Design in 1996, the building does not meet existing standards for emergency services facilities. Standards not met include:

  • building and ceiling instability in earthquakes and storms.
  • lead-based paint throughout the building.
  • lack of adequate accessible access as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • inadequately braced cripple walls.
  • inadequate anchor bolts to the sill plate.

Citizens Organized for a Police Station (C.O.P.S.) , a group of concerned citizens, was formed to evaluate the condition of the police facility and determine if the facilities had the ability to sustain emergency services during natural disasters.


Members of the San Mateo County 1999 Grand Jury toured the facility and interviewed personnel about the condition of the building. Some of the problems noted were:

  • instability of the building during earthquakes, high winds and heavy rains.
  • fire and explosion danger from fumes arising from improperly mounted and ventilated batteries.
  • lead-based paint.
  • inadequate space for storage of property, evidence and records required by state and federal law.
  • substandard electrical wiring.
  • holes in porous foundation.
  • inadequate anchor bolts to the sill plate of the foundation.
  • lack of grade separation around the foundation.
  • separation of shingle joints on exterior walls.
  • water damage, dry rot fungus decay, termite and/or beetle damage.

Because the building does not meet current standards for emergency services facilities, there is a potential that during an emergency situation, such as an earthquake or severe storm, the police will be unable to maintain the emergency communication systems. The emergency communication system includes incoming calls from the public as well as police maintaining communications with other emergency services.

The existing conditions and the age of the building as reported in the Grossman Report, appear to create substantial doubt as to the ability of the police to continue to maintain operations in the current building during an emergency. The Grossman study concluded that it is more cost effective to rebuild the facility rather than repair the current structure.


Recommendation 49

The San Mateo County 1999 Grand Jury recommends that the Pacifica City Council secure funding for a new Pacifica police facility.

Recommendation 50

The San Mateo County 1999 Grand Jury recommends that the San Mateo County 2000 Grand Jury monitors the status of funding for a new Pacifica police facility.


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