Message from Millbrae Police Chief Roger Copeland
Last Friday, a young man was assaulted in front of the Millbrae Library. While I can’t speak on the details of the case as it is still an ongoing investigation, I want to reassure you that Millbrae continues to be a safe community.
While horrific, the attack at the Library was an isolated incident and rarely happens. But, the assault did shed light on the vulnerability of our children. As you know, the Library is well used, especially by children and young adults during the summer months. Because of this, the Millbrae Police Bureau will have a larger presence on the site, and continue to work with Library staff on emergency response protocols.
I want to thank the Library staff who quickly responded to the assault by getting the victim and other children in the area into the Library and securing the building. Their response prevented the assailant from hurting others or getting into the Library. While deputies from the Police Bureau arrived on site and were able to arrest the assailant very quickly, the urgent and thoughtful response of Library staff truly kept the victim and others from further harm.
The victim of last Friday’s attack was treated for his injuries and is at home. I’m happy to report that he is doing well, and I commend him on his courage to defend himself and flee into the Library. The Library has, and always will be, a safe space for our community. Isolated incidents like this are hard to prevent, but quick and thoughtful responses, like those we saw from the Library’s staff, limit the amount of damage and harm they cause.
While rare, assaults like these remind us to teach our children how to respond to strangers and other threats. I want to remind you of the importance in teaching your children to get away from people they feel threatened by and fleeing to a safe space. If they were harassed or assaulted, they should call 9-1-1 immediately.
There has great been concern because the assailant was homeless. While Millbrae does have a homeless community, and the Police Bureau has identified many of them, being homeless is not a crime and we cannot arrest someone for being homeless. The Police Bureau does have protocols in place to detain people who are homeless when they are a public nuisance or have potentially committed a crime. If you, or your children, feel threatened by someone who is homeless, please call 9-1-1 and we will have a deputy respond as quickly as possible.
Again, I want to assure you that Millbrae continues to be a safe community. Last Friday’s assault put me and my staff on high alert, but we are no more vigilant than we always have been. I urge you to talk with your children about how to respond to strangers, but not to let this incident prevent you or your children from having an enjoyable summer.
Chief Roger Copeland
Millbrae Police Bureau