Touching Base: A Message from the Chief
August 5, 2012
Dear Community Members and Department Personnel:
Since April 2012, there have been several local articles attempting to create a negative perception about the Pasadena Police Department. The published comments regarding the need for wholesale changes within the police department are completely inconsistent with the feedback and input I regularly receive from the community, Mayor, City Council, and the City Manager as well as my own feelings and beliefs.
The Pasadena Police Department is a world class organization with extraordinary officers, employees, and volunteers. Our professional reputation, community partnerships, and willingness to collaborate with all stakeholders are undisputed and well documented. Pasadena Police personnel serve with passion and display compassion for the underserved. Officers, employees and volunteers discharge their duties daily with respect, integrity and courage. Even though the department is a contemporary police organization we continue to find ways to improve as we strive for excellence every day. I am proud and honored to serve as chief. Police officers, employees and volunteers who complete exceptional work will continue to be commended. Conversely, allegations of misconduct will continued to be thoroughly investigated as mandated by law.
The allegations of misconduct outlined in local articles over the past few months are currently under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at my request and are expected to take several months to complete. If the complaints are substantiated, the appropriate discipline or training will be initiated. However, if the subject officers are exonerated, then we must move forward together learning from our past.
Following the conclusion of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Internal Affairs investigations the police department, subject employees or other stakeholders may be positioned to tell their side. In the meantime, the Pasadena Police Department will continue to serve our community with respect, integrity, courage and will continue working with our community to improve the quality of life for all who live in, work or visit Pasadena.
For your Information:
National Night Out! The Pasadena Police Department is joining other law enforcement agencies and communities throughout the nation by throwing a city-wide “National Night Out” block party on Tuesday, August 7, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. The Pasadena Police Community Services Section is inviting all Pasadena residents to participate and show their support of crime and drug prevention by organizing a simple neighborhood front yard party, potluck, or informal Neighborhood Watch Meeting on National Night Out. The Kick-Off ceremony will be hosted by Kings Villages and Community Arms (on Hammond Street, between Fair Oaks Avenue and Morton Avenue) from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. There will be information booths, vendors, activities, and food.
The National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit organization, designed National Night Out, “American’s night out against Crime,” to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police and community relationships. Additionally, it will heighten awareness and send a strong message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and are fighting back against drugs and crime. Pasadena Police representatives will visit as many registered Neighborhood parties as possible. Residents, who would like to have a Pasadena Police representative stop by their “National Night Out” party, should contact the Community Services Section at (626) 744-4551.
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).
The Pasadena Police Foundation (PPF) is hosting its Annual Chief’s Breakfast on October 11, 7:30 a.m., at 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).
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 sponsorships 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 Executive Director and the facility is located at 1200 North Fair Oaks Avenue.
On July 21 through July 24, the California Police Activities League (PAL) hosted “Life after High School” on the Fresno State University campus. The event provided participants firsthand experience of what to expect once they get to college. Attendees participated in workshops and gained other valuable insight as they pursue higher education. PAL Director, Corporal Glenn Thompson, took 11 Pasadena youth to the program. Many of the young people had never been on the campus of a major university. Attendees included: Adriana Barajas, Ariel Jones, Alexis Hernandez, Naylet Velazquez, Angelina Aguilar, Jennifer Chavez, Sarahi Lopez, Audbrey Mosley, Steven Zarate, Bryan Luna, and Axel Alverez. Youth Advisor Osiris Negrete, who attends CAL Poly Pomona, served as the female chaperone and also shared her college experience with the PAL youth.
On July 29, Deborah K. Sanchez and I attended the United Nations International Day of Friendship, which was held at the Church of Scientology of Pasadena Chapel. Timothy Bowles coordinated the program which featured speakers from Marshall Fundamental High School. Eden Stein, President of the Church of Scientology, and Nat Nehdar, Chair of the Pasadena Commission on Human Relations, also spoke at the event. I had the opportunity to provide a few brief remarks as well. PUSD School Board President Renatta Cooper, Pasadena Human Services & Recreation Director Mercy Santoro, Armenian Community Coalition member, Chris Chahinian, and Community Activist “Blinky” Rodriguez also attended the event.
On July 29, Deborah K. Sanchez and I attended the Armenian General Benevolent Union 2012 AGBU World Games, which were held at Pasadena City College. The games featured hundreds of young athletes of Armenian descent, between the ages of 16 – 30, from all over the world, including Canada, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. The Opening Ceremony started the momentous event with a parade, marching band, and performances by David Foster, International Armenian singing sensation Eva Rivas, and the Armenian Dance Ensemble. More than 6,000 guests attended the highly anticipated event. AGBU is the proud organizer of the World Games. Established in 1906, with its Western District headquartered in Pasadena, AGBU is the world’s largest and preeminent Armenian nonprofit organization. Special thanks to AGBU World Games Committee Chairman, Shahe Seuylemezian, and AGBU Executive Director, Yasmin Alpay, for coordinating our participation in this exceptional event. Fire Chief Calvin Wells and Sergeant Vasken Gourdikian were also at the opening ceremony.
On July 30, several Pasadena Police employees were on hand to support the opening day of the department’s Junior Public Safety Academy (JPSA). The academy exposes Pasadena youth to law enforcement and fire service careers. Young participants have an opportunity to interact with Pasadena Police and Fire personnel and operate some of the emergency equipment during the week-long academy. The program is supported by the Pasadena Police Foundation and is a great opportunity to engage our youth. Commanders John Perez, Lisa Rosales, Chris Russ, Lieutenants Phlunte Riddle and Rodney D. Wallace attended opening day. The academy is facilitated by Corporals Glenn Thompson, Jayce Ward, and Robin Stinson, Veronica Burris, Anthony Riley, and Police Specialists Arlene Ramos.
On July 31, California State Senator Carol Liu, Assembly Member Anthony Portantino, Commanders John Perez and Chris Russ, and I participated in a press conference to announce SB 1089, Preventing Abuse in Youth Boot Camps. Senator Liu and Assembly Member Portantino co-authored the bill, which will be presented to the California legislators in early August. Sergeant Bobby Lomeli spoke with the Spanish news networks and the conference was organized by Pasadena Police Lieutenant and PIO Phlunte Riddle.
On July 31, I met with Wells Fargo Bank Representatives, who delivered grant awards to the Pasadena Police Athletics League (PAL) and the Pasadena Police Foundation (PPF). The funds will be used to support the youth programs offered at PAL and through the Police Foundation. Special thanks to our Wells Fargo Bank representatives for their generous support of our youth programs.
On August 1, Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle and I stopped by Jackie Robinson Center (JRC) to help out with the Community Dinner program. As always, their program was well attended as hot meals were provide to the attendees. I spent some time talking with community members, Pastor Burrell, and Horace Wormely and Jarvis Emerson, from the Pasadena Department of Human Services & Recreation.
On August 4, several Pasadena Police employees and I attended Council Member Chris Holden’s Annual Block Party. This event is a community favorite and this year was no exception. The block party featured information booths, attractions for the youth, music, and much more. I spent time talking with Council Members Chris Holden, Terry Tornek, and Margaret McAustin and visited with community leaders John Kennedy, Georgia Holloway, Joe Brown, Jimmy Morris, Chris Chahinian, Anto Shahinian, and Martin Gordon. Former Pasadena PIO Ann Erdman was busy taking photos at the event and posted her pictures at: http://annerdman.blogspot.com/2012/08/fun-on-jackson-street.html. PPD personnel at the event included Deputy Chief Darryl Qualls, Commander Chris Russ, Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle, and Sergeant Mark Goodman.
On August 4, several Pasadena Police employees, parents, and friends attended the Junior Public Safety Academy (JPSA) Graduation. Officer Veronica Burris facilitated the graduation and it appeared the youth participants really enjoyed their experience. The JPSA is sponsored by the Pasadena Police Foundation (PPF) and Board Member Mary Wilson was on hand to watch the graduation. Fire Chief Calvin Wells and I provided brief remarks encouraging the graduates to always strive for excellence. Lieutenant Rodney Wallace served as our emcee. PPD personnel attending the graduated included: Commander Chris Russ, Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle, Sergeant Bobby “Doc” Lomeli, Corporal Jayce Ward, Corporal Robin Stinson, Officer Anthony Riley, and P.S. Arlene Ramos. Fire personnel included: Gena Thomas and Steve Longhorn. Pasadena Police Explorer Post 19 posted the colors. 27 young people completed JPSA and are hopeful for careers in the fire service and law enforcement.
On August 4, the American Cancer Society hosted their annual fundraiser, “Hope Blossoms,” which was held at the Westin Pasadena. Honorees included members from Kaiser Permanente/Baldwin Park, Deborah K. Sanchez, and me. VIPs at the gala included Mayor Bill Bogaard, City Manager Michael Beck and his wife Brigid, Assistant City Manager Julie Gutierrez, and several members of the Pasadena Executive Leadership Team. Adam Schiff’s Field Representative, Teresa Lamb-Simpson, NAACP – Pasadena Branch President Joe Brown, Commander John Perez, Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle, and Office Supervisor Beverly Bogar also attended.
On June 16, I received a card from a citizen commending Pasadena Police Officer Craig Blumenthal for locating her car. Apparently the citizen “misplaced” her car and feared it had been stolen. Craig spent some time searching and later found the car parked in the structure just off Arroyo Parkway.
On July 10, I received a letter from State of California Office of Traffic Safety Director, Christopher J. Murphy, commending the Pasadena Police Department’s Traffic Section and in particular, Sergeant Vasken Gourdikian, Antonia Martin, and Eugenia Maria Munoz, for the management of our OTS grant. The traffic section is commanded by Lieutenant Randell Taylor, who ensures we remain competitive and well positioned to apply for local, state, and federal traffic safety grants.
On July 13, I received a letter from South Pasadena Police Chief, Joseph Payne, acknowledging the Pasadena Police Department for our contribution during the Memorial Service honoring South Pasadena Police Officer, Kevin Sandoval, who died in the line of duty more than a year ago.
On July 27, I received an email from Peace over Violence Director of Intervention Services, Yvette Lozano, commending Pasadena Police Officers Kimberly Baecker and Michael Herrera for their compassion during a sexual assault investigation.
On July 30, Pasadena Police Lieutenants Pete Hettema and Kelly Evans, Corporal Robin Stinson, Background Specialist Clyde Ito, and I attended the graduation ceremony for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Reserve Class #125, which was held at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Board of Supervisors Hearing Room. The graduation was well attended and Pasadena had three recruits: Colt Romberger, Rocky Tavera, and Michael McGaharn. Colt was the Honor Cadet selected by his peers and staff.
On July 30 and 31, the Pasadena Police Traffic Section hosted a statewide traffic safety class, which was held at the Rose Bowl. The class was authorized by the California Office of Traffic Safety and the California Highway Patrol. About 30 students from throughout the state were at the training. Pasadena Police Motor Officer Robert Gaudet coordinated the event.
On July 30, I received an email from a citizen commending the Pasadena Police officers assigned to traffic control during the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia. The citizen wrote, “…Your officers were courteous, helpful and the rolling closure was great. Thank you for confirming that Pasadena is a GREAT bike Town.” The event was coordinated by Pasadena Police Officer David Thomas and Corporal Julie Finney.
On July 30, I received an email from Pasadena Special Events Manager, Michelle Bernal, commending Sergeant Art Shute, Corporal Julie Finney and Officer David Thomas for their organizational skills and professionalism while coordinating the 626 Night Market. Michelle wrote, “We really appreciate the cooperation we receive from PPD on events, both this particular occasion and throughout the year.” Michelle and the Pasadena Police Department’s Event Planning Team work hand in hand to coordinate all events throughout our great community. Individually and collectively, they are an effective work force.
On July 31, I received emails from Senator Carol Liu’s Legislative Aide, Andrea Lane, and Assemblymember Anthony Portantino’s Field Representative, Wendy Gordon, commending Pasadena Police Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle, for coordinating the press conference announcing SB 1089, Preventing Abuse in Youth Boot Camps. Pasadena PIO William Boyer was also very helpful throughout the press conference.
On July 24, Pasadena Police officers responded to the 900 block of North Holliston Avenue regarding a domestic dispute investigation. Our preliminary investigation determined the suspect forced his way into his grandmother’s home and grabbed a phone from her hand. The grandmother was injured during the incident. PPD officers documented the incident and the case was assigned to Detective Robert Tucker. After completing his investigation, Robert shared the suspect information with concerned Pasadena police personnel. On July 29, Pasadena Police Officers Matthew Widger and John Yoo observed the suspect and arrested him without incident.
On July 30 in the early morning hours, Pasadena Police Officers Rodney Solorzano and Barry Glockson arrested a female adult transient for robbery. The suspect was identified by Pasadena Police detectives, who shared the information with all concerned personnel. Rodney and Barry saw the suspect while on routine patrol near McGrew Alley and Orange Grove Boulevard. She was arrested without incident.
On July 30 at about 11:55 p.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the area of Marengo Avenue and Orange Grove Boulevard regarding a robbery that had just occurred. On arrival, officers talked with the victim, who said she knew the suspect. The victim said she was involved in a physical altercation with the suspect, who then stole her purse and earrings. The officers documented the robbery on a report. Our investigation is ongoing.
On July 31 at about 1:30 p.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to 405 South Euclid Avenue, Mayfield Junior High School, regarding a threats investigation. Apparently, the suspect called the school to complain about student and neighborhood noise in the general area. During the phone call, the suspect threatened school staff. The officers developed enough probable cause, contacted the suspect at his residence, and arrested him without incident. Our investigation is ongoing.
On July 31 at about 2:35 a.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the 400 block of Cypress Avenue regarding a possible “woman with a gun” call. On arrival, officers learned the suspect, a female adult, had exited her residence armed with a military-style assault rifle and pointed at the victims who were seated in a car. PPD officers identified the female and made contact with her. Based on the circumstances of the crime, the officers applied for a search warrant. Following judicial approval, the officers searched the suspect’s residence and located an AR-15 assault rifle and three additional handguns. The suspect, a convicted felon, was arrested without further incident and booked at the Pasadena jail for assault with a deadly weapon (ADW) and child endangering.
PPD personnel involved in this investigation are: Sergeant Jason Clawson, Corporals Paul Mckinney and Jayce Ward, Kim Baecker, Michael Herrera, Carlo Montiglio, Peter McHugh, Matthew Widger, Sahak Nersesyan, Douglas Hamblin, Thomas Brown, Gustavo Martinez, Steve Arcand, and Carlos Sainz. Air Support was provided by Pilot Kevin Kilcoyne and TFO Irvin Myles.
On August 2 at about 12:30 a.m., Pasadena Police Corporal Alejandro Peinado and several other officers responded to the 1000 block of Summit Avenue regarding a burglary in progress. On arrival, Alejandro observed a male adult matching the description of the burglary suspect and ordered him to stop. The suspect failed to comply, however. As Alejandro approached the suspect, he observed him holding a gun. Alejandro ordered the suspect to drop the gun and the suspect complied. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident. A records check revealed the gun, a 9mm semi-automatic, was stolen and the suspect was a convicted felon. Alejandro is commended for his extraordinary restraint, sound decision-making, and professional maturity. Given the dangerous and high-risk circumstances (suspect armed with a gun), the outcome could have been much different.
Until next time,
Phillip L. Sanchez
Chief of Police
Pasadena Police Department
207 N. Garfield Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101
Mission First, People Always