On Tuesday, the city council in Menlo Park, Calif. unanimously approved Facebook's offer to pay $200,000 per year for a "community safety police officer." According to experts, the plan will make Facebook the first private company in the country to cover the salary of a full-time beat cop.
“It’s safe to say this is unprecedented,” Jim Bueermann, president of DC-based police research nonprofit the Police Foundation told NBC Bay Area. “But this may be the model of the future.” Although critics and government watchdog groups are wary of the plan, NBC's Chase Cain points out the vote was met with zero opposition at yesterday's city council meeting.
Facebook's offer will cover the officer's $108,000 base salary, plus perks and benefits for three years to start, with the option to extend for two more. According to the City Council's agreement, the new hire is not meant to patrol Facebook's campus (Facebook has private security for that). Instead, they would be "a regular beat cop with a special assignment," Menlo Park Police commander Dave Bertini explained, stressing that Facebook will have no control over the officer's training or discipline.
Per the agreement, that special assignment will be to handle "issues such as truancy, school and business safety and overall neighborhood security" in the Belle Haven neighborhood where Facebook HQ is located. In 2011, the New York Times described Belle Haven as "a Menlo Park neighborhood that has been shut out of Silicon Valley’s historic accumulation of wealth."