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Michael Meehan, Berkeley police chief, criticized for investigation into son’s stolen iPhone

10 police officers searched for the teenager's stolen phone.
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A customer looks at a white and a black iPhone 4. (David Paul Morris/AFP/Getty Images)

Local media and police watchdog groups are criticizing Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan for dispatching a rather large team of police officers to investigate the theft of his son’s iPhone, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

After Meehan’s son, a freshman at Berkeley High School, called his father on Jan. 11 to tell him that his phone had disappeared from an unlocked gym locker, 10 police officers, including the police chief himself, joined the search, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The teenager’s phone had “Find My iPhone” tracking software installed on it, and Meehan used that to track its location until the signal disappeared, according to KQED. Five officers from the department’s Drug Task Force joined the search as the signal moved into Oakland, KQED reported.

Three police detectives and a sergeant each billed two hours of overtime for their work, according to KQED. The phone was not found.

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Police officers did not file a police report about the search, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, a department spokeswoman, told the Chronicle that it was "an oversight that came to our attention when researching your questions.”

Meehan defended the police deployment in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News today, claiming that field supervisors decide how many officers to assign to a case based on staff availability and how busy the department is at the time.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, officers having been grumbling about the case.

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