Touching Base: A Message From the Chief (09/02/12)

/assets/0/73/6442452101/6442452104/2d48c434-3d9e-4f00-b898-148a76ec79aa.jpgTouching Base: A Message from the Chief
September 2, 2012 

Dear Community Members and Department Personnel: 

Save the Date: 

The Pasadena Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is hosting the 27th McKnight Williams Awards Dinner on September 13, at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel.  Reception starts at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets will be held at the door. Please RSVP by August 30, 2012 (Source:  Pasadena Branch NAACP). Joe Brown is the Pasadena Branch NAACP’s President and Darryl Dunn is the honorary event chairperson.   

Latino Heritage is hosting its 14th Annual Parade and Jamaica Celebration on October 6.  This year’s theme is Planting Dreams – Sembrando Suenos, and the event will focus on the exciting era for California: 1840 – 1860.  For more information please visit latinoheritage.org.  Roberta H. Martinez is the Latino Heritage’s Executive Director. Sandra M. Gutierrez is the event Chairperson.    

The Pasadena Police Foundation (PPF) is hosting its Annual Chief’s Breakfast on October 11, 7:30 a.m., at the Brookside Clubhouse.  For reservations, sponsorships, or tickets, please contact Ragnhild Naning De Vries at (626) 744-3987.  Funds raised at the breakfast are used to support youth programs sponsored by the PPF (Source:  Pasadena Police Foundation). Tom Kester is the Pasadena Police Foundation’s President.  

The YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley is presenting its Women for Racial Justice Breakfast on October 15, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m., at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel.  For tables, individual tickets, or sponsorship opportunities, please call (626) 296-8433, or contact Crystal Hernandez.  For more information about the YWCA, or programs offered by this valued community partner, please visit www.ywca-pasadena.org. Tamika Farr is the YWCA’s Executive Director.    

El Centro de Accion Social is hosting its annual fundraiser on October 18, at the Westin Pasadena Hotel.  Reception starts at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m.  For more information, please call (626) 792-3148.  Randy Ertll is El Centro de Accion Social’s Executive Director.  

Our Community: 

On August 26, Pasadena Police Lieutenant Cheryl Moody stopped by the New Revelations Missionary Baptist Church’s community food and clothing program, which is associated with the Los Angeles Mission nonprofit organization.  Pastor William Turner extended a warm invitation requesting our attendance at the event.   

On August 26, several Pasadena Police employees stopped by the Annual Back to School Backpack and Haircut Day at Robinson Park.  Several local youth attended the event and received free backpacks, school supplies, and a haircut (hair styling for the young ladies).  The event was coordinated and supported by the City Manager’s Office, the Police Department, Human Services & Recreation, and Opus Bank.  Community leader Robin Salzer provided his famous BBQ. Hotdogs, chips, and drinks were provided for the community. Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle and Retired Pasadena Police Commander Rick Law grilled food at the event.  The annual event ensures that more than 300 Pasadena youth receive school supplies as they prepare for the academic year.  I would like to thank Northwest Programs Manager, Marcus Lee and Opus Bank’s Vice President, Sandra Flores for their time, resources, and commitment to our community youth.  The event would not have been possible without their commitment.   

On August 27, several local sports team representatives gathered at a press conference to announce the new code of conduct to enhance fan experience at sporting events.  The new 10-point code was two years in the making and establishes common guidelines for fans.  The press conference was held at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Building, and Pasadena officials included:  Mayor Bill Bogaard, Councilmember Victor Gordo, Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn, and me. The new code is designed to enhance the total fan experience at the Rose Bowl and other major venues.   

On August 27, several Pasadena community leaders, nonprofit representatives, and city staff gathered at the Central Library, Donald Wright Auditorium, to see a presentation by Pasadena Public Health officials regarding the Quality of Life Index.  Library Director Jan Sanders served as emcee and Mayor Bill Bogaard and Dr. Eric Walsh provide a few remarks.  

On August 28, Pasadena Police Lieutenant Jari Faulkner hosted a West Service Area meeting for residence and business owners at the Frostig School.  Topics discussed at the meeting included traffic safety concerns and an overview of the department 2010 and 2011 Discipline and Use of Force Overview.  Commander Chris Russ, Lieutenants Pete Hettema and Rich Aversano, Sergeant Vasken Gourdikian, Officer John Watkins, and Police Specialist Laura Morris were also at the meeting.  Police Volunteers John Kendall and Tom Lenzo also participated in the community meeting.  

On September 1, Commander Chris Russ and several Pasadena Police employees attended the police department’s Kid’s Safety Academy graduation.  The program teaches students general safety rules, how to act during an emergency and summon help as necessary.  The program is facilitated by Pasadena Police Specialist Laura Morris, and is supported by the Pasadena Police Foundation.   

Pasadena’s Finest: 

On August 22, I received an email from a Pasadena community member commending officer Elgin Lee (assigned to the department’s HOPE Team).  The author was attempting to locate a missing homeless man and reached out to Elgin for assistance.  Elgin was very helpful in the effort to locate the missing person.  The author wrote, “… I work at Huntington Memorial Hospital and I care for people and their families, they are always first in my book.  Officer Lee does his job with the same idea, caring, showing compassion and taking the time.  He went the extra mile.  I take my hat off to him, and thank him for the bottom of my heart…”  

On August 25, Commander Chris Russ received his Master’s Degree (MA Organizational Leadership) from Woodbury University.  Chris started the excelled program about a year ago while maintaining a full time career as a Police Commander.  His final thesis was titled, Conditioning Leadership Ability:  Background & Training Program.   While enrolled in the program, Chris never allowed his professional duties to falter or fall short of the department’s expectations.  Chris maintained a 3.96 GPA and was selected as one of two keynote speakers at the graduation ceremony.   Rather than the traditional role of the individual speakers, Chris and his fellow scholar chose to address the audience as a team.  The theme of their combined speech was “Why would anyone want to be led by you.”   

On August 29, Pasadena Police Specialists Kathleen “Kitty” Johnson coordinated a blood drive in cooperation with the American Red Cross. The general assembly room, located on the 2nd floor of the police department, was converted into a mobile blood donation processing center.  Professional staff from the American Red Cross processed and screened donors who were more than willing to give the lifesaving fluid.  While I am not sure of the total units of blood donated by Pasadena Police employees and city staff – I can assure you it seemed (from my perspective) there were a lot.   

On August 30, I received an email from Pasadena Fire Department Emergency Coordinator Lisa Derderian commending Pasadena Police Commander Lisa Rosales and Administrator Alicia Patterson for their participation in in the city’s Emergency Operation Center training.   

On August 30, several Pasadena Police Detectives were recognized for their exceptional contributions to the department and the community. 

·         Corporal Joseph Allard received a Department Commendation for developing the department CREDIT Fraud Unit.  Joseph harnessed the talents of the department’s volunteer corps to staff the unit.  Under his supervision, the volunteers learned how to investigate fraud cases.  The unit is very effective ensuring fraud victims receive exceptional service. 

·         Corporal David Llanes received a Department Commendation for arresting a homicide suspect and the recovery of the murder weapon.  The homicide occurred in another jurisdiction; however, when officers could not locate the suspect they turned to David and the Fugitive Apprehension Unit (FAU).  David developed information about the suspect’s whereabouts and, with the assistance of his teammates, arrested the suspect without incident. 

·         Officer Timothy Bundy received a Department Commendation for his participation in a large narcotics seizure. Tim's case led to the seizure of 700 marijuana plants, 75 pounds of marijuana and $63,000 in U.S. Currency.   

·         Corporals Keith Gomez and Grant Curry received a Departmental Commendation for their investigation, arrest, and conviction of a homicide suspect.  Keith and Grant were the lead  investigators in a 2008 murder and stopped a retaliatory shooting by developing information that led to the arrest of local gang members.   

On August 30, I received an email from a Pasa Alta Manor Administrative Assistant, Brandon Brown commending Pasadena Police Officers Veronica Burris and Anthony Riley for their efforts to help establish a proactive drug education and intervention program.  Brandon wrote, “…the officers were on time, professional, and informative.”   

Critical Incidents: 

On August 4, a male adult was standing outside of a restaurant near West California Boulevard and South Fair Oaks Avenue.  The suspect was yelling and harassing a restaurant employee.  Another employee decided to videotape the suspect’s irrational behavior.  Subsequently, the suspect walked inside the restaurant and exposed himself to the employee, saying “Take a picture of this!”  For unknown reasons, the restaurant employee waited until August 16th to report the incident to the police department.  Pasadena Police Officer Roberto Calcanas responded to the restaurant and documented the incident on a police report.   

The case was then assigned to Corporal Schuyler Sandeen.   Schuyler completed a comprehensive investigation and presented his case to the Pasadena City Prosecutor.  He secured an arrest warrant and shared the information with other Pasadena Police employees.  On August 23, Park Safety Officer Anto Ambrozevicius was patrolling Central Park when he saw a subject matching the description of the warrant suspect.  Anto called for assistance and Officer Anthony Burgess arrived moments later.  Anthony and Anto confirmed the suspect’s name and arrested him for the outstanding warrant without incident.  The suspect was transported to the Pasadena jail and booked for indecent exposure (P.C. 314).  The suspect was also on probation for robbery. Pasadena Police Sergeant Jesse Carrillo commended Communications Operator Lara McDonald for her assistance during the arrest of the wanted suspect.  

On August 9, Pasadena Police Air Support concluded the last of this year’s swimming pool / mosquito abatement program.  In all, the program lasted approximately 4 months and required over 40 hours of flight time.  The Pasadena Air Support Unit identified over 850 pools throughout the San Gabriel Valley, a moderate improvement over last year’s program.  You may recall that the Pasadena Police Air Support Section coordinates with the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District to mitigate the mosquito population.  The SGV Mosquito and Vector Control District is billed for operational costs associated with the patrols.  

On August 15, a 76 year-old-female was standing near the bus stop at Villa Street and Oakland Avenue when she was approached by three males.  One of the males approached the victim and forcibly robbed her, stealing a gold necklace. On August 20, a 69 year-old-female was walking to her residence located in the King Villages Complex, when she was approached by three males.  She was subsequently robbed by one of the males, who stole her gold chain.  Another street robbery occurred on August 21 involving a 50 year-old-female who was riding her bicycle near Villa Street at Oakland Avenue when she was approached by the suspect, who suddenly grabbed her and forcibly ripped away her gold necklace.  In all three incidents, the suspects ran away prior to the arrival of the police.  

The cases were assigned to Detective David Duran, who initiated a comprehensive investigation.  Based on physical descriptions and other relevant evidence provided by the victims and/or witnesses, David identified one of the involved suspects.  On August 22, David and Detective Carolyn Gordon were patrolling the area of Kings Villages Apartment complex when they spotted the suspect (identified by witnesses) responsible for the robberies. The suspect was contacted and arrested without incident.  David and Carolyn transported the suspect to the Pasadena Police Department where he confessed to the street robberies and implicated his confederates.  David and Carolyn developed additional information and later identified a second suspect.  Later, Sergeants David Reavis and Ernie Devis, Detectives Guong Pham, Bill Broghamer, Keith Gomez, Ara Bzdigian, Carolyn Gordon, and David Duran contacted the suspect at his residence.  The suspect was arrested without incident and later confessed to his involvement in the street robberies.  This particular investigation was extraordinary and highlights the talents, dedication, and commitment of the Pasadena Police Department.  The victims and witnesses are commended for their courage and willingness to assist police in the investigation.  

On August 23, Pasadena Police Commander John Perez participated in a press conference to announce the arrest of 16 suspects wanted for drug trafficking and gang activity.  The comprehensive investigation was initiated by the San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Gang task Force, which is made up of FBI agents, Pasadena Police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Department of Corrections.  Federal agents from the DEA, ATF, & Explosives and Rehabilitation devoted a great deal of resources throughout this investigation.   

On August 23, Pasadena Police Detectives conducted a 290 Compliance Check Program throughout the community.  290 compliance checks focused on Sex Offenders who are required by law to register with the local law enforcement agency.  The detectives contacted a total of 30 registrants and only two were out of compliance.  Another three registrants could not be located or were not at home during the check. The Pasadena Police Department routinely completes 290 compliance checks to ensure registrants are within the guidelines established by the courts.  The following personnel were involved in this particular program:  Pasadena Police Corporals Schuyler Sandeen, Joseph Allard, Robert Tucker, James Deal, Monica Cuellar, Jason Van-Hecke, Mark Lang, Paul McKinney, and Officers Van Kim and Jack Preston, and CSW Michael Kirkpatrick.  

On August 25, the Pasadena Police Traffic Section conducted a Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Program throughout the city.  The program lasted approximately 36 hours and focused on traffic violations involving motorcycles.  About 60 traffic citations were issued to motorcycle drivers for moving violations.  The program was supervised by Pasadena Police Sergeant Vasken Gourdikian 

On August 28, at about 9:00 a.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the area of Orange Grove Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue regarding a street robbery. The victim (Hispanic Female, 39, Pasadena resident) was pushing her daughter’s stroller in the vicinity of Starbuck’s, when the suspect accosted her.  The suspect used force to rip away the victims’ gold necklace.  

Officer Milton White located a person matching the suspect’s description after searching the immediate area.  The suspect was detained without incident and later positively identified by the victim.  He [the suspect] was subsequently arrested and booked at the Pasadena jail for robbery.   Officer Luis Banuelos located the stolen property and returned it to the victim.  Great work by all involved! 

On August 29 at about 10:25 p.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the 40 block of Eloise Avenue regarding a shooting.  On arrival, officers discovered a lone victim (White Male Adult, 30s) suffering from gunshot wounds.  PPD officers requested paramedics, who responded and provided emergency medical aid to the victim.  The victim was subsequently transported to a local hospital in serious condition.  Pasadena Police Lieutenant Pete Hettema supervised the initial investigation and detectives later responded to assume crime scene responsibility.  Our investigation is ongoing.   

On August 31 at 3:00 p.m. construction workers were working on a single family residence in the 500 block of Glen Holly Street when they discovered what appeared to be an old smoke grenade in the basement.  The construction workers notified the Pasadena Police Department.  On arrival PPD officers confirmed the construction worker's observations (from a safe distance) and called the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Bomb Squad.  The bomb squad responded and disposed of the device.  There were no injuries associated with this incident.  

On August 31 at about 6:30 p.m. Pasadena Police received several calls regarding a fight in progress in Central Park.  On arrival PPD officers located the victim, Black Male, 37, on the ground and unresponsive.  Officers immediately determined the victim was in full arrest and started CPR.  PFD arrived and transported the victim to a local area hospital in critical condition.  The suspect was arrested and also transported to a local area hospital for injuries he sustained in the physical altercation.  Our preliminary information indicates the suspect and victim are homeless and know one another.  The incident occurred when the suspect approached the victim and began fighting.  The suspect later armed himself with a chain and struck the victim.  Pasadena Police detectives responded to the scene and are investigating the incident.  


Until Next Time, 


Phillip L. Sanchez 

Chief of Police  


Posted: 9/2/2012 08:55:00 AM
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