Touching Base: A Message from the Chief (09/22/13)

/assets/0/73/6442452101/6442452104/2d48c434-3d9e-4f00-b898-148a76ec79aa.jpgTouching Base:  A Message from the Chief
September 22, 2013


Dear Community Members and Department Personnel:  

For your Information:   

The Pasadena Police Department is proud to announce the launch of its Spanish CPA (Citizens Police Academy) class, which is scheduled for September 26 – October 17.  The program will be held on consecutive Thursdays and will include a Class Graduation.  The program is tailored to meet the needs of the Pasadena Latino Community and will cover common concerns and questions about how the police department serves the public.  If you know of potential applicants, please have them contact PS Hilda Jurado, Officers Ralph Ordonez or Cristian Allen at (626) 744-7659, or visit the Pasadena Police Department’s Webpage at:   cityofpasadena.net/Police.   

The Pasadena Police Foundation is hosting its Annual Breakfast with the Chief” at Brookside Clubhouse (1133 Rosemont Avenue) on October 10 from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.  This year the breakfast features the Pasadena Police Department Canine Program.  Participants will meet Canine Officer Steve Arcand and his K9 Partner Figo.  Steve and his partner will conduct brief demonstrations designed to underscore the value of the canine program.  Breakfast will be served promptly at 7:30 a.m.  The cost is $50.00 per person ($34.00 is tax deductible). Shuttle service is available to take guests from the parking lot at Brookside to the clubhouse. Reservations are limited. For more information, please visit:  www.pasadenapolicefoundation.org. You are also welcome to contact Pasadena Police Tracey Ibarra (TIbarra@cityofpasadena.net) for information.  I hope to see you at the 2013 Chief’s Breakfast!   

Pasadena’s Finest: 

Starting about September 9, an unknown suspect began calling schools, hospitals, and other facilitates threating to walk onto their property and begin shooting with an assault weapon.  The suspect’s threats raised concerns with local law enforcement officials and schools were placed on lock-down in some communities.  The suspect seemed to favor elementary schools over other targets. As a result, Pasadena Police Safe Schools Team (SST) Sergeant J. Luna completed an in-depth analysis of the incidents knowing that PUSD schools might be a high-value target.  The overview led to SST Officers Ramos and Bondarczuk compiling additional information, which ultimately helped identify a person of interest (Gerardo Cortez, Male Hispanic, 26). Safe Schools Team Officers Ramos and Bondarczuk shared the information with other Pasadena Police officers. During one of their briefings, Pasadena Police Officer Victor Cass recognized the criminal behavior of the SGV Hoax Caller as remarkably similar to a case the Pasadena Police Department investigated in October of 2012 involving a hoax incident (the suspect in this case was Cortez, who was arrested and convicted).   

Officers Ramos and Bondarczuk continued their investigation after receiving the information from Officer Cass.  They developed strong indicators pointing to Cortez as a possible suspect in the recent SGV Hoax incidents. The FBI was contacted (they formed a taskforce to investigate the hoax calls) and responded to the Pasadena Police Department.  The FBI agents indicated Cortez was a subject of interest; however, the information from Ramos and Bondarczuk strengthened their case immensely.  Cortez was subsequently arrested by the FBI Taskforce without incident. SST officers not assisting with this case remained vigilant at our local schools to ensure student safety.  This case underscores the investigative talents, dedication, and commitment of the Pasadena Police Safe Schools Team Officers.  PPD personnel involved in this case included:  Officers Ramos, Bondarczuk, Cass, Nersesyan, Sergeant Luna, and Lieutenant Calatayud. http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20130918/man-arrested-on-suspicion-of-making-gun-threats-that-targeted-san-gabriel-valley-schools.   

Between September 12 – 13, officers assigned to the Pasadena Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team participated in the “Best in the West SWAT competition hosted by Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.  The rigorous two-day competition tested a variety of skills, including shooting, tactics, and physical fitness.  The competition places tremendous demands on individual operators and the entire team during each event. This year’s competition included 31 SWAT teams from throughout the state.  Pasadena SWAT performed exceptionally well placing 2nd Overall.  Their accomplishments included a 2nd Place Finish in the “Jungle Trail” Event (a 14 minute grueling trail run involving shooting, a downed officer rescue, and long-gun capabilities).  They also placed 3rd in the “Two Man Combat” course and the Team Assault. The 2013 team was comprised of Sergeant B. Crees, Corporal T. McDonald, and Officers J. Rappuchi, J. Ling, A. McGlade, J. Newlen and J. Lopez.  The team is commended by Pasadena Police Lieutenant C. Moody.

On September 14, police officers assigned to the department’s Special Enforcement Section (SES) assisted with an Active Shooter Training Exercise at Cal Tech.  The SES officers served as evaluators and provided feedback to the active shoot training participants. Given the potential for violence at major events, schools, or other vital venues, this type of training is critical for first responders. The Special Enforcement Section is commanded by Pasadena Police Lieutenant C. Moody and supervised by Sergeants B. Crees and J. Aguilar.  

On September 16, I received an email from a community member commending Pasadena Police Officer E. Salinas for her professionalism, empathy, and patience during a field investigation.  The author was the victim of a crime after a suspect smashed the windshield on her car. The community member was very pleased with the service provided by Officer E. Salinas.     

On September 17, I received an email from a community member commending Pasadena Police Sergeant M. Dahlstein for his professionalism during a recent investigation.  The author wrote, “… I wish my words could express just how impressed I was with Sergeant Dahlstein, but I don’t think anything I write could properly convey how grateful I am for his assistance and how reassuring it is to know that there are officers of such high caliber in the Pasadena Police Department.  I just recently moved to Pasadena and this was the first interaction I have had with the Pasadena Police and I just can’t be more satisfied and grateful…”   

On September 17, Standards & Training for Corrections Auditor S. Dunham inspected the Pasadena Jail to ensure we were compliant with state mandates.  I met with the auditor following the inspection.  Dunham indicated the Pasadena jail was 100% compliant with the training mandates and had high praise for Jail Administrator M. Robinson. The Pasadena Jail is a Type 1 facility and process more than 8500 people annually.   

On September 19, several officers from the Pasadena Police Department’s Motor Section competed in the Huntington Beach Motorcycle Competition. This event draws motorcycle officers from throughout southern California and tests their riding and judgment skills.  The Pasadena Police Department’s Motor officers received 1st Place in the Team performance.  PPD individual riders also did very well in the competition.  The competition can improve our officer’s riding skills, which helps them avoid hazardous situations while patrolling the streets of our community.   

Our Community: 

On September 15, several members of the Pasadena Police Department’s Air Operations Unit attended an Open House for South Pasadena Police Department.  I understand the event was very well attended and showcased SPPD.    

On September 16, I provided opening remarks for the “Role of the Chief,” which is a training course hosted by the California Police Chiefs Association.  The course was hosted at the Pasadena Westin Hotel and executives from throughout California and Arizona participated (Photos @PPDChiefSanchez).    

On September 17, I met with NACCP Pasadena Branch President G. Moody to talk about public safety issues.  Topics included:  Youth programs, jobs, police, community interactions, and other related issues.  

On September 17, I provided opening remarks for “Leadership and Accountability,” which is a two-day course hosted by the Los Angeles County Training Managers Association.  Executives from throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, and San Bernardino Counties attended the course (Photos @PPDChiefSanchez).  

On September 17, Commander Russ, Lieutenants Delgado and Gourdikian, and I attended a Special Meeting on Issues Related to Homelessness, which is hosted by Councilmember Madison.  The meeting was held at Union Station and Rabbi Gross served as the chairman. Local business owners, city officials, and other stake holders provided their opinions. The quarterly meeting is designed to address and mitigate issues associated with the homeless population around the area of Union Station.   

On September 17, City Manager Beck, Public Works Director Foster, Planning Director Bertoni, Deputy Fire Chief Kosta, Pasadena Police Lieutenant Dewar, and I attended a District 6 Town Hall Meeting, which was held at the Rose Bowl.  Councilmember Madison provided opening remarks about his district.  I focused my remarks on crime, public safety, and AB109 Reentry. The meeting was very well attended by District 6 constituents (Photos @PPDChiefSanchez).   

On September 18, I talked with about 40 young men at the Mentoring & Partnership for Youth Development (MYPD) noon-time program.  I focused my remarks on becoming a Pasadena Police Officer and the value of community service.  The young men asked great follow-up questions, which lead to a discussion on police interaction.  MYPD is an exceptional youth mentoring program, which is held on the John Muir High School Campus. MYPD’s Executive Director is Techumseh Shackelford (Photos @PPDChiefSanchez).  

On September 18, Pasadena Police Specialist Johnson hosted a Crime Prevention and Safety Fair at the Disney Store (South Raymond Avenue).  During the fair, Walt Disney Studios presented the Pasadena Police Department with a donation (check), which will be used to support PAL.  PAL is a program designed to assist local youth with academics while participating in activities.  You can learn more about PAL at: http://cityofpasadena.net/Police (Photos @PPDChiefSanchez).   

On September 18, I stopped by the Pasadena Armenian Police Advisory Council Board meeting, which was hosted at the police department. Pasadena Police Sergeant A. Bzdigian is one of the police department’s liaisons to the PAPAC Board.  PAPAC is a valued neighborhood partner.  The council works in the community to facilitate communication between the department and the Armenian community.  They are also involved in fund raising and have hosted Christmas Toy Give-a-way for several years (Photos @PPDChiefSanchez).   

On September 18, Pasadena Police Lieutenant Ibarra and I attended the Crown City News Kick-Off Event for their new “CCN Sunrise” news program.  The event was hosted at Paseo Colorado and was well attended.  CCN Sunrise is the “brainchild” of Ms. Tami DeVine (Photos @PPDChiefSanchez).  

On September 19, Oxnard Police Chief Williams, Burbank Chief LaChanse, and I participated on a panel during the Role of the Chief course.  The course is designed to assist police executives seeking positions as municipal chiefs (Photos @PPDChiefSanchez).   

Critical Incidents: 

On March 12, 2013, three masked suspects committed an armed home invasion robbery in the 1900 block of Arroyo Boulevard. The victims, ages 90, 59, and 56, were held captive while the suspects ransacked their home for over two hours looking for cash. The suspects located cash in the residence, but became increasingly agitated when they could not find more. In an effort to get the suspects to leave without causing harm to the family, one of the victims agreed to withdraw cash the following day. While at the bank, the victim notified the bank teller that she was in trouble and the police were notified. PPD officers responded to the bank and initiated a preliminary investigation. The case was assigned to Detective David Duran, who was assisted by Detectives Dustin Gomez and Carolyn Gordon. Detective Duran subsequently identified the suspect and requested the assistance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Gang Taskforce.   

On March 13, 2013, deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Gang Task Force and PPD detectives were monitoring the robbery suspects when a deputy involved shooting occurred. Numerous law enforcement officials responded to contain and search for the robbery suspects. Later that night, Eddie B. McFadden was taken into custody in Arcadia without further incident. Detective Duran presented his case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration. The District Attorney’s Office filed several felony counts against McFadden, including home invasion robbery. McFadden is believed to be an active gang member.  A second suspect, Michael Garrett, was arrested for attempted murder, which occurred during the deputy involved shooting. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Garrett with attempted murder. On September 14, 2013, Detective Duran started his trial on McFadden. On September 18, the jury found McFadden guilty on ten separate counts which included home invasion robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, elder abuse, and prohibited person in possession of a firearm. The jury additionally held gang and firearm allegations on nine counts. McFadden is scheduled to be sentenced on October 16, 2013. He is facing a sentence 15 – 45 years to life in prison.  The case against Michael Garrett is pending. This was a complex investigation and underscores the dedication, commitment, and talents of Detective Duran and the other officers involved in case.   

On September 15 at about 4:30 a.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the 500 block of North Fair Oaks Avenue regarding a large business fire.  The location was fully engulfed when Pasadena Fire Department arrived. PFD extinguished the flames quickly.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.    

On September 16 at about 3:15 p.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the 1200 block of Oxford Avenue regarding a garage fire. The Pasadena Fire Department arrived quickly and extinguished the flames.  PPD assisted with traffic control in the immediate area.  Pasadena Police Sergeant D. Beene was the on-scene supervisor.   

On September 17 at about 7:00 a.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the report of a person on the ground in Villa Parke, near the restrooms.  The victim, a Male Hispanic, approximately 50, was pronounced dead at the scene.  A witness told PPD officers he recognized the victim as a habitually intoxicated person who frequents the park. Detectives responded to the park to investigate; however, preliminary information did not reveal anything suspicious.  The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office responded and took custody of the body.  Our investigation is ongoing.    

On September 18 at 3:03 p.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the Hilton Hotel regarding a man with a gun. Subsequent reports indicated the subject was in his room and may have been armed. When PPD officers arrived, they learned the subject had checked into the hotel on September 17 and was due to check out on the 18th.  Officers entered the room and discovered the subject deceased from a self-inflected gunshot wound.  The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office responded and took custody of the body.   

On September 21, just before 11:00 p.m.  Pasadena Police officers responded to the Colorado Street Bridge regarding a male adult that had climbed out beyond the safety railing.  Sergeant Carpenter arrived quickly and contacted the subject (about 35 years old).  Sergeant Carpenter talked with the subject for about 20 minutes until the subject climbed off the railing and agreed to mental health assistance.  The subject had been drinking and was depressed over the fact that his girlfriend had committed suicide a year ago.  The suspect was placed on a WIC 5150 hold and transported to a local area hospital.  The bridge was closed for about 45 minutes; however, traffic was minimal   

On September 22 at about 1:20 a.m. Pasadena Police officers responded to the 800 block of Palisades regarding a shots fired investigation. On arrival officers located a Black Male, 20's (known gang member) suffering from a single gunshot wound in the upper torso.  Officers located a party across the street where the victim was found and contacted the party-goers.  There were several known gang members attending the party; however, no one cooperated with the police or provide suspect information.  Neighbors told the police that a gang fight erupted in the street and someone fired 6 - 7 shots. The victim was uncooperative and was taken to a local area hospital in for further medical assistance.  His wound did not appear to be life-threatening.  Pasadena Police Sergeant Favara supervised the investigation.   


Phillip L. Sanchez
Chief of Police
Pasadena Police Department
207 N. Garfield Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 744-4545
Mission First, People Always




Posted: 9/22/2013 10:40:00 AM
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