Town Square

Deputy sheriff arrested on suspicion of selling drugs, DUI scheme at The Vine

Original post made on Mar 7, 2011

Stephen Tanabe, 47, of Alamo, was arrested at 9:30 p.m. after investigators discovered he might have been keeping and selling drugs, according to a statement from sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee. The deputy was also part of a ruse to arrest men for DUI at The Vine wine bar.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 7, 2011, 9:52 AM


Posted by Jason, a resident of Danville
on Mar 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm

WELL.....WELL.....WELL.........I'm sure there is more to come!

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Mar 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm

If all of this always took place at the Vine, I wonder if this corrupt private investigator and the corrupt danville cop also had a bartender on their payroll who may have put extra booze in the drinks as part of the scheme...If so, I hope they lose their liquor license...What a horrible conspiracy, I hope there is a full investigation into both the roque cop and the Vine.

Posted by sponge bob roundpants, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 6:01 am

wow - who would of thought that the holier than thou Danville PD would engage in such a creepy (for lack of a better word) practice? Makes it a little tough to tell my kids to trust the police.

Posted by Woody, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 7:20 am

Wow, and I thought that all of the DUI arrests in Danville were made to fill the Town's bank account. I could have never guessed that they were made for personal enrichment! Perhaps now the Danville PD can free up the manpower to catch the thieves that stalk our cars at night instead of the patrons of our downtown restaurants.

Posted by Danville Dad, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 7:43 am

The fact that our Danville PD has been wasting our budget monies by (stopping, ticketing, arresting, drivers for lack of a better word "suspicious looking" reasons for making the initial stop), has been a Constitutional violation of rights from day one! Instead of these stops, which now appear to have partial ties to individual profit motives for some of our men/women in blue, we must demand that our PD spend its time arresting criminals in our neighborhoods and actual street crimes, rather than stopping cars because they don't like the looks of the driver, or the color of the car. We can not support this abuse of power any longer for not only Constitutional and legal reasons, but for the simple fact that we can not $$afford this waste any longer. Danville PD GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER or we will replace you with volunteers who have nothing to gain but neighborhood security!!!

Posted by Tom, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 9:05 am

The Vine is closed and has been for a year....Hello....
And yes, Danville PD needs to get back to the crimes that have been on their plate for two years. Sorry to hear this about our PD. Most are still a good group. A bit slow to move on the obvious stuff, but still here to protect.

Posted by Dot, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

Tom, I think you are thinking of the Cork that closed over a hear ago. The Vine is going strong next to Bridges.

Posted by Gary, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 9:39 am

Most unfortunate news to see this happen in our town and to the police dept. It may be time for us to look into having our own police dept and not with officers supplied by the Sheriffs Dept. Seems we have lost many good officers to other towns/depts through the rotation process that the Contra Country Sheriff imposes. Those same officers developed a rapport while here and knew our town and the issues at hand. In the end we wind up getting replacement officers who need to start fresh and thus the learning curve begins on our dime. Once they're brought up to speed in due time they face the rotation process too. Is that using our tax dollars wisely and with so little control of the process.

Posted by Louise, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

And Drunk Driving isn't a crime?? Yes, I agree it's very swarthy (and wrong) to "catch" those that someone may have a personal vendetta for, but remember- regardless of why you get caught, drinking and driving is still a crime. More serious than the thieves who stole stuff from unlocked cars the other night, imho. I'm not sure I like the tone of some of the above comments that local drinking patrons should be left alone? Bottom line, after drinking over the limit at your local restaurant- either use your designated driver, take a taxi, or walk home if you are local.

That's what we are trying to teach our children isn't it?

Posted by Jane, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Investigate the Vine, Danville Police, City, Sheriff... Yes, more to come on this story.

mr. tanabe? Can you say "soap on a rope"?

Posted by LMP, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Any law enforcement official using his/her position in the manner Tanabe did should be ineligible for their pension if convicted.

Posted by Robert Sicks, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm

It's a shame that one bad apple has brought a black eye to the Sheriff's Department. What sickens me more is Danville PD and cops in general will get painted with the same broad brush which isn't deserved. I'm sure good cops are just as outraged as everybody else as they must work even harder to regain public trust that they had nothing to do with losing. Speaking of losers, Danville Dad is a prime example of a hater that spews unsubstantiated charges of "Constitutional rights violations from day one, car stops based on car color, abuse of power" having nothing to back up his statements beyond Tanabe's questionable motives for arresting 2 real DUI's. DD wants to replace the whole Dept with volunteers which is too laughable for a response. I wish our good officers and Chief at the Danville PD my thanks for keeping our city safe and the strength to hold your heads high while the haters paint cops with the broad brush. And for Danville Dad, next time you need help when someone is breaking into your house, call a hippie.

Posted by Gina, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm

To Woody..... As a mother who had her son killed by a drunk driver. I appreciate the police department going after drunk drivers. Drunk drivers kill people & children! That is now much more important to me than have something stolen out of my car. Property crime vs someones life. If everyone would just stop leaving items in their cars for thief's to come into our town & steal from us.
It could all be stopped by people locking their cars & not leaving valuables in plain site. Our neighbor just had a laptop stolen from the front seat of the car. Might as well just leave a 500.00 bill on the seat. It's not the police departments fault cars & houses get broken into it's the citizens of this town who leave their doors unlocked & do not have alarms in their homes! I have a only a couple dealings with he Danville police department & they have all been very professional. I have lived here for 12 years now & have heard nothing but good things about our police here. I'm sure most of the people that write things on here are not even from the Danville area or they are the guys the police department has arrested in the past.

Posted by Danville Bob, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm

There is more going on than one would think. Look where the cars are hanging out!

Posted by In the crosshairs of DPD, a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I work in Danville at nights and have been pulled over 3 times around 1 to 2 AM, why was I stopped? Hmmm "well sir your license plate light was flickering", or "your brake light is out" (it wasn't)and one time I was not given any reason... but NEVER any valid reason to stop me, just a hope full stop looking for a DUI,(DPD HARRASMENT). When I told them I was just off work and on my way home...obviously sober) I was immediately told to "have a nice night" and released. The other time I was made to sit and answer a bunch of stupid question as I continued to ask why was I stopped? The more I asked why I was stopped the longer he kept me there and again never given a good reason for being pulled over. Three bad cops shouldn't reflect on the entire force but these guys do need to be reeled in a bit. Who keeps them in check?? If my lights are not functioning or you have a valid reason to stop someone then do it, if not, then stop harrassing the people that live, work and spend money in your town. There are plenty of criminals doing bad things like Tanabe, go catch them, but preying on the people who are obeying the law sucks!

Posted by Danville Dad, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 12:37 am

Concerning (Robert Sick) and his broad brush painting of the safety in Danville,listen to "Crosshairs" the next time you are stopped because the DPD think that your looks make them "Sick", or your car license plate is missing a nut and bolt, or, they think that you have had one too many, as you pull out of your drive way..Wake up "Sick" and learn when your rights are being violated by abuse of power. It does not have to be as extreme as taking away your freedom to walk, talk and think, it just needs to be something as simple as having your right to "travel" questioned by someone who thinks he/she has the power to question what you are doing. Police are there to protect, enforce and defend our rights to be free and operate in society unimpeded by anyone and anything. They are not there to take away our rights without "a reasonable suspicion of probable cause that criminal activity is afoot", not because they do not think that you belong on the street. I hope "SICK" that you spend some time explaining to a civil servant one night, why you are out getting a bottle of aspirin when you are SICK, as you really need to learn a lesson, one that our founding fathers lived and died for. Once you have your "Rights Squeezed" you will paint your picture with a tighter brush and appreciate your freedoms...Good Luck O Sick One!!!!

Posted by Scott Edgington, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 7:17 am

It's very clear that the Danville PD has a consistent and long track record of abusing their power in making unwarranted stops in downtown Danville. I'm sure this is somewhat revenue related since without the revenue, some of them will likely not be paying for themselves. They are not spending the time addressing mail theft issues, local crime, etc. I was stopped the other night downtown with my 12 year old in the car, and they wanted me to blow in the breathalyzer after telling them I had not been drinking. (Yes I passed). Took 2 police cars. I'm sure a 46 year old dad and son look pretty suspicious in their mercedes. I also know they spend time watching the back of the bars and then follow the drivers and find excuses to stop them. Yes we should not allow drunk drivers, however there is reasonable cause, and I hear too many reasons that are not "reasonable".

SO here we have businesses trying to drive tax revenue into Danville such as That Bar which recently opened, the restaurants, etc. Meanwhile Danville now has a reputation as a town you don't want to drive through after dark.

So to the Mayor of Danville - you better decide where you want your tax revenue, and the reputation of our town. No we don't condone drunk driving, but are we condoning the abuse of power and infringement of civil rights?

Posted by conerned, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

wow, at least i have company! i thought i was the only one getting pulled over for fabricated reasons just so danville pd could administer a breathalyzer test. this has happened to me numerous times!

Posted by Robert Sicks, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 10:32 am

Robert Sicks is a registered user.

To Danville Dad, what is this junior high? Besides your childish twisting of my name, you again have used a big broader brush on all the Danville cops proving my point and making me think you're just paranoid. During all these illegal car stops you seem to experience, have you ever asked for the officer's business card or badge number? If there are so many constitutional rights being violated in town why hasn't somebody with a spine come forward with proof? You are allowed to file a complaint. Again you make more unsubstantiated allegations, throw in the founding fathers and we're supposed to salute you. Nice try. You're probably just another whiner that got a legitimate speeding ticket and this is all you can muster to get even. The Sheriff's department arrested one of their own which proves they don't tolerate breaking the rules. What bothers me is the other 99.9% of the good hard working cops in the Sheriff's department that get tarnished by the likes of folks like you that crawl out of the woodwork to pile on. Have a nice life… but better watch your mirror. DPD is going to get'cha. Watcha goin' do when they come for you?

Posted by danville dad, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 11:08 am

Nice try Mr. Sicks, but if you read some of the other posts, you will find more, unsuspecting, innocent individuals, who have been victimized by this tax subsidized abuse of power in the Town of Danville. It is obvious to most of us why such stops take place, as a means to justify existence. Unfortunately,for you, most of the other posts on this board, have substantiated my position and have offered proof beyond a reasonable doubt that these invasions of privacy do take place on a regular basis. Now why don't you go back to sleep in your quiet little world and maybe you will never experience what is happening right in front of your little white picket fence. I do hope that some day soon,you look in the mirror and the lights are flashing!!!!! Then all of us on this board will have a drink in honor of the skill and expertise of the DPD!!!Nite Sick-OOO!!!

Posted by samiam, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Actually I have had the need to call Danville police twice, and in neither case did they respond. I was not even given the courtsey of a call from dispatch telling me they decided NOT to take my report for a crime committed. I received much better service from Oakland Police when I called them for a very similar crime.

Danville should hire their own officers, taking staff from the county seems to produce a less then optimal department

Posted by Bill, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I can understand the anger from people in our community regarding these allegations against this particular Danville Officer. It is unfortinate that one bad apple has tarnished what I believe to be an excellent police department. This is a safe town and I believe that reflects the hard work of our local law enforcement. It's to bad that the other honest hard working police officers on the DPD will have to bear the brunt of the back lash from some members of the community who choose to view the actions of one allegedly dirty cop as a reflection of the whole department. If in fact the allegations against this particular officer are true then he should be prosecuted for his actions. But lets not paint the entire Danville PD with the same broad brush. These men and woman put on the uniform and put their lives on the line for people in our community. I am one of the residents who is grateful for the service and sacrifices they make for the residents of Danville.

Posted by Robert Sicks, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Robert Sicks is a registered user.

Beautiful, more immature name calling and babble from Danville Dad. I bet you make your kids proud. I won't waste any more time on you if you think 4 posts from people claiming they were pulled over unjustly by DPD, in a town of 30,000+, cements your case that a huge problem exists. But again, if you had a shred of evidence other than vague stories you wouldn't have to resort to name calling would you. Enjoy your broad brush tarnishing of a good police department sir.

Posted by lets get real, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm

the bars in "downtown" danville serve very very strong drinks. its easier to get the money out of your wallets that way. rarely will you get cut off downtown by a bartender unless you go to bridges. the cops know this. they like it. it makes their jobs easier. so whos fault is it. overall dui realted deaths are down. and way way down since 1988. thats really why the dui enforcement is so strong. in the early 90's in danvile you had 1-3 kids wrapping their cars around tree's, poles, and dying. since the step up in dui enforcement in danville over the last 20 years this number of deaths has gone down significantly. remember krista van ryueken( spelling)?
the jaguar she was in crashed and killed her right in front of the gaurd rail by vista grande. 1995ish? so what is worse? strong dui enforcement downtown or more dead children and adults by drunk driving. the police here are overly suspicious, but in the end its for the good of all people in our community. try and see that. they don't take joy in stopping privelaged white men and thier child in a nice mercedes, but what is worse? making the driver mad or possibly getting a drunk driver off the road and saving countless lives.

Posted by danville dad, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

As to Mr. Sicks,(Thank You) for the kind words neighbor. I never intended to imply that all of the men/women in DPD are bad boys and girls. I am just concerned that we have neighbors like you, who think that we are living in Mayberry RFD and that Andy will come with Deputy Fife and all will be alright. Your attitude tends to make it tough to reform a system that needs to change for the better, in order to protect all of us and our family's. I hope that your kids are grown and that you can not influence their attempts to make this a safer place for all of us to live in peace and security.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Gina, I am so sorry for your loss. You of all people have the right to share your opinion of the benefits of the police checking on the sobriety of drivers in our community.

Let's remember that there is one police office in the DPD who has been accused of this crime - lumping all officers together is unfair. Other members of the force are probably just as mortified as we are.

Posted by Tony, a resident of Danville
on Mar 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

We really have to be careful here, Tanabe was discovered, turned in and charged by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney. Before we make snarky comments about the whole Danville police force, we need to realize that. Yes, a bad apple was in the barrel and unfortunately he was assigned to Danville, now through the actions of other Danville officers he has been removed and charged. I think the Department did good on this one. Let's face it, Danville is a small town compared to Oakland and San Francisco. The police here are not running from call to call with felonies in progress and naturally they do "proactive" policing. That includes tail light violations. Sure, we can form out OWN police agency at an enormous expense like San Ramon did. Do we want to increase our taxes to do so? The contract city system is enormously successful in Southern California and does indeed save municipalities money. In this tax strapped day and age we need to be CONSOLIDATING public agencies from police, fire, and public works not creating our own little fiefdoms.

Posted by yea yea baa, a resident of Danville
on Mar 10, 2011 at 12:22 am

bring back officer lambert and rommel. where is mullhorn ?
those were good danville cops.

Posted by Danville Business owner & home owner, a resident of Danville
on Mar 10, 2011 at 5:55 am's time we take our town back! As a business owner I should not have to put up with the police dept. sitting in front of my business, open or closed, waiting to make traffic stops .....this is just disrespectful. If they owned a business, I'm sure they would not want it done to them. It is totally uncalled for and stupid! I feel that any officer working in Danville should have to LIVE in Danville! That would stop a lot of the garbage that is going on!
I am sure we will see more come out of this investigation.....It is still early. These officers have to realize that WE are paying their wages. They work for us and should work with us....not against us. It is clear by reading all the comments.....THERE IS A PROBLEM!!!!!!

Posted by Joe, a resident of Danville
on Mar 10, 2011 at 6:36 am

I am sure it is all Obama's fault

Posted by oneatatime, a resident of Danville
on Mar 10, 2011 at 8:35 am

Did not any of you read NO CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED,The press has really put the spin on this.If the police office had not arrested this guy and he drove on the freeway and killed someone then what ,Now the office is in trouble for not doing anything about it.The guy never should have been at a bar in the first place if he was in a heated court case,
As for the police offers that ratted one the one office ,you should be ashamed of what you have done now no one will ever trust you.

Posted by oneatatime, a resident of Danville
on Mar 10, 2011 at 8:37 am

Did not any of you read NO CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED,The press has really put the spin on this.If the police office had not arrested this guy and he drove on the freeway and killed someone then what ,Now the office is in trouble for not doing anything about it.The guy never should have been at a bar in the first place if he was in a heated court case,
As for the police offers that ratted one the one office ,you should be ashamed of what you have done now no one will ever trust you.

Posted by sponge bob roundpants, a resident of Danville
on Mar 10, 2011 at 8:54 pm

to Mr. Sicks - I have a suggestion. Stay up late 7 nights in a row. Find the busiest bar in Danville at closing time (2 AM). Make sure your car is parked in the closest parking lot. Walk out of the bar (don't drink a thing), get in your car, and drive home. See if you get pulled over. Report back to this board.
C'mon Robert, let's see what you've got.

Posted by jrm, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Mar 11, 2011 at 9:38 am

jrm is a registered user.

To "Let's Get Real"....thank you for mentioning Krista, I knew her and her Mother and I was riding my bike to get a donut the morning of the accident. I was there, the vehicle was ripped in half and you could not even tell the make or model of the vehicle. The tree they struck is still there and rarely do I drive by the scene without thinking of her. There was a little wooden cross at the spot for a while, now long gone. A classic case of "joyriding" gone bad. For a period of time her Mom would give speeches at schools about the dangers of making bad choices. In Krista's case, I believe the driver was 15 years old, had taken his Diablo neighbor's Jag out for a joyride and Krista decided to join him. He was observed driving erratically on 680 southbound and soon a police chase ensued. He was racing to go back to Diablo when he lost control on the curve in the road. He survived, she did not.

Posted by Frank, a resident of Danville
on Mar 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm

To the Danville Business owner & homeowner You are way off base you should be ashamed of saying you don't want the police sitting in front of your business leads me to believe you are not really a business owner in this town. As a restaurant/bar owner in Walnut creek I love to have the police sit in front of my restaurant as you may or not be aware there have been a lot of fights & disorderly conduct in our city (Walnut Creek)at night & at least twelve very serious drunk driving accidents I believe four have been fatal just this year in WC. I know this because I talk to the officers that come in to my restaurant. I live here in Danville so I drive home almost every night very late 1-3am from Walnut creek to the west side of town. I have been stopped 2 times in Six years. Once because I failed to make a complete stop at the stop sign on railroad. The other time because my headlight went out while driving home & I was unaware that my headlight was burned out. I appreciate the Danville police out there looking for drunk drivers. I want to get home safe too! I see the Danville police stopping cars I love it! Why is it that as a law abiding citizen like myself never gets stopped without a reason? My bartenders, waiters & myself make sure that all my patrons get home safe at night using taxi's or designated drivers. I have numerous times driven many of my customers that had to much to drink home. I don't hear about the bar owners in Danville doing that.(But maybe you do) I want all my customers to get home safe so they can keep coming back to patronize my business & in order for them to do that I need them to be alive & not sitting in Jail! Let the Police sit in front of my establishment all night I encourage it! Maybe it will stop just that one person that has had too much to drink not drive & end up killing me or one of my friends or family! How many fatal or serious drunk driving accidents have we had in Danville this year or last year? I'm not aware of any? Leaves me to believe the Danville police are doing a great job in our town.

Posted by Danville Business Owner and home owner, a resident of Danville
on Mar 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm

"FRANK" ???? I think your a danville cop and I don' care what you think. I think your full of it! BTW.....your the only one who thinks they are doing a "GREAT JOB" the articles!

I'm not off base or ashamed.....just smart!

WHO CARES ABOUT WHATS HAPPENING IN WC.....we aren't talking about WC......your the one off base......maybe you should find a new line of work..........your a terrible liar! You should be ashamed!


Posted by jrm, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Mar 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm

jrm is a registered user.

Gosh...4 fatal drunk driving accidents in Walnut Creek this year? Frank can you document those? I am not excusing drunk driving but I have not read about these in the media. Again, do not drink and drive....the honus is on you to back up your claims...please be specific. And what business do you own? Why not tell us? I would like to go sound like a rational person.

Posted by Bud, a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Don't worry Frank. Jim and Danville Business Owner are just upset because they are not in Cal Safety PERS. They won't get the pension you deserve.

Posted by spike, a resident of Danville
on Mar 23, 2011 at 12:21 am

I have a friend who is really, honestly, a cop for Walnut Creek. He works the Thurs-Sun morn. shift. This is when everything goes crazy in downtown WC. The fights outside Crogans' cause the WCPD to stand up 3-6 officers there starting at 10-11pm. They park 2-3 cruisers right outside to escort the inevitable Antioch/Hercules/etc. punks that come and cause all the trouble. The busy Summer weekend nights the WCPD make so many trips to Martinez that they barely look at drivers gliding through red lights. We have absolutely nothing like that in Danville. In fact, truly, one merely needs to look at just how many DPD cruisers there are sitting around The Vine/Meenars/etc. - in fact, all of about 5 blocks, to see that we have 2-3 times as many officers loitering around per bar as contrasted to WC. This scandal only points to the economic reality that we simply do not NEED that many uniforms in downtown Danville every Fri/Sat night. Why does it surprise anyone that one of them found a way to supplement their job? That the DPD look for any trivial excuse to pull you over? Occam's Razor my friends...