A sad commentary on the lack of affordable housing on the Peninsula; cops are being allowed to sleep at the police station.

This is yet another story about how the people who work in communities like Atherton can’t afford to live there.

In this case, it’s cops.

Because commutes and traffic are getting worse all the time, they are being allowed to catch 40 winks at police headquarters before they hit the road. 

Atherton police Cmd. Joe Wade showed KRON4 the tiny, but cozy “sleeping room” where many an officer has taken a nap after a long shift. 

It’s basically an 8 by 10 storage room with a bed and nightstand, along with the department’s dry cleaning and drinking water.

“For the most part, officers work a 12-hour shift,” Cmd. Wade said. “Sometimes, if they have court, it can be 16 hours, and most have long commutes, so the department is providing a place where they can crash so to speak, so they can get some sleep before they go home.”

Of the small but dedicated department’s 21 sworn officers, not one lives in Atherton where the median-priced home is somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million.

As a result, officers are commuting 2 hours or more from places like Tracy and Gilroy, which can take a toll on anyone.

“We’re in a profession where we don’t want to make mistakes and sometimes when you’re not on your game because you haven’t slept and you’re not alert as you need to be, things can fall through the cracks and we don’t want that,” Cmd. Wade said.

A few officers have left because of all this and recruiting their replacements has been a  challenge because working people simply can’t afford to live here.

The solution, at least for now, is a nap in the department’s one-person bunk house.

The situation is going to get better but it will take a while. Ground will be broken soon on a new civic center that will include a new police station, which will have a couple of new, slightly larger sleeping rooms.

Until then, other options are also under consideration, like renting an apartment in town or finding a place where officers can park an RV.