Unlike most cities in Santa Clara County, Cupertino doesn’t have its own police department.
Instead, it utilizes the Sheriff's Office West Valley Patrol Division.
"We have a community oriented philosophy, to meet the needs of the community through neighborhood watch groups and schools,” said Santa Clara County sheriff's captain Kenneth Binder, who has headed the division since March 19.
Also covering Saratoga and Los Altos Hills, the division's offices are located at 1601 S. De Anza Blvd. #148, in Cupertino. It boasts sheriff's traffic accident reconstruction specialists, who go to any accident involving a fatality or collision, as well as an on-call SWAT team division.
Binder was slated to begin the position in January, but postponed his start date after being accepted to a prestigious 10-week long FBI Law Academy, which deals with physical training, leadership and best practices for law enforcement.
He succeeds Carl Neusel, who left the position after being promoted to the rank of assistant sheriff for the Administrative Division of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jose Cardoza.
Now Binder works with 84 positions, including personnel, contractors and city managers in the municipalities that contract with the sheriff's office for public safety services.
"All city managers are fantastic,” said Binder. “They're bright individuals that have a genuine concern for the community.”
There are a few unique characteristics of the patrol overseeing the area. For example, there is one school resource officer assigned to nine schools, said Binder.
The officer works with special programs, such as a 36-hour long Teen Academy that teaches about law enforcement, and other three-hour seminars such as a "bully and respect program," an Internet safety course, and a course on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Sheriff's deputies will also give presentations to seniors about avoiding fraud scams. Three deputies gave a presentation at a local senior center recently, Binder said.
“The Sheriff’s Office really enjoys serving the needs of the West Valley community,” said Binder, a few hours before heading to a Saratoga City Council meeting.