Touching Base: A Message from the Chief
February 26, 2012
A report recently released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveals that the number of 16-and-17-year-old driver deaths in passenger vehicles increased slightly for the first six months of 2011. Overall, 16-and-17-year-old driver deaths increased 11 percent. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a 16-year-old driver is twenty times more likely to be killed in an auto collision that an adult driver. The California Highway Patrol indicates that 16-year-old drivers were at fault in two-thirds of the collisions they were involved in last year (source: Pasadena Police Lieutenant R. Taylor). You can read more at about the GHSA report at: http://www.ghsa.org/html/media/pressreleases/2012/20120216_teens.html
Although the Pasadena Police Department has not seen the increase in our community, our officers are aware that more teenagers are driving while distracted (texting, talking on mobile phones and GPS navigators, etc.). In an effort to raise motor vehicle safety among teen drivers, the Pasadena Police Department’s Traffic Section recently added the Motivational Media Educational program to its instructional arsenal. The program is focused on educating young people about the hazards associated with operating a motor vehicle. The program is funded by a grant from the Office of Traffic Services and our goal this year is to visit every high school in Pasadena. Coupled with the Every 15 Minutes Presentation (an educational program for teens focused on the consequences associated with driving while intoxicated), Motivational Media is a very effective program helping our young drivers make responsible decisions while behind the wheel. The Pasadena Police Department’s Traffic Section is commanded by Lieutenant Randell Taylor.
On February 22, I was in Washington D.C. participating in a COPs Form to discuss the impact of the economy on public safety. The forum was hosted by and funded by COPs Office under the direction of Director Barnard Melekian. Labor representatives and police managers from throughout America participated in the forum. The forum was a valuable experience and PPOA President Robert Mercado also attended.
On February 23, I participated in the last phase of the chief’s selection process for the Pasadena City College Chief of Police position. The panel was led by PCC President Dr. Mark Rocha and we interviewed several well qualified candidates.
On February 23, Commander Chris Russ and I meet with several business owners regarding several public safety issues in the area of Central Park. The meeting was productive and generated passionate dialogue about the issues.
On February 24, Pasadena Police Office Supervisor Beverly Bogar and I attended the Jackie Roberson Senior Night Out as part of Black History Month. The event was held at the Courtyard Marriott and was well attended. Dr. Sandra Thomas (Chair, Altadena Town Council) served as the Mistress of Ceremony and Lady Betty Keller (New Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church) sang “Life Every Voice and Sing.” VIPs included Pastor Turner, Pastor Skinner, Michelle Bailey, Rita Gil Turner, and Lola Osborne (Pasadena - Northwest Programs Manager). Pasadena Human Services and Recreation Supervisor Jarvis Emerson and his committee coordinated the event.
On February 25, Deputy Chief Darryl Qualls and I attended the Villa-Parke Recreational Youth Soccer League’s Opening Ceremony. The program was well attended by players, parents, and community members. The Villa-Parke soccer filed is a great community resource facilitating youth soccer and many other activities. Pasadena Police Explorer Post 19 posted the American flag under the watchful eye of Officer Veronica Burris. Special thanks to Pasadena Human Services and Recreation Director Mercy Santoro and her staff (Rozanne Adanto, Marco Bermudez, and Bill Davis) for coordinating our participation.
On February 28, 2011, Pasadena Police Homicide detectives responded to the Rose Bowl, Parking Lot I to investigate a murder. The male adult victim had been shot several times. During the investigation, Detectives Keith Gomez and Grant Curry identified the victim’s brother as the primary suspect and he was arrested without incident. On February 24, 2012, the jury returned their verdict and convicted the suspect of 1st degree murder, a felon in possession of a firearm, and enhancements related to the use of a firearm causing death. The suspect will be sentenced in a few weeks and may face up to sixty years to life in state prison. This case underscores the investigative talents of Keith, Grant, and all the other police personnel assisting in the investigation. The investigation was managed and supervised by Lieutenant Tracey Ibarra and Sergeant Ernesto Devis.
On February 22, I received an email from Pasadena Special Events Manager Michelle Bernal (on behalf of Josh Furlow, Competitor Group) commending Lieutenant Bruce George, Sergeant Art Chute, Corporal Julie Finney, and Officer David Thomas, for their assistance with the Inaugural Rock n Roll ½ Marathon in Pasadena. Michelle and Josh indicated the Bruce, Art, Julie, and David were instrumental in coordinating the event. Although major events can be disruptive, the Event Planning Team works hard to ensure the inconvenience is kept to a minimum.
On February 22, I received notice from Pasadena Police Sergeant Mario Ortiz about an email he received from the California Highway Patrol commending Motor Officer Gilbert Ortiz for his diligent follow up on a DUI investigation. In the commendation, the CHP officer stated, “Thank you for sending me your supplemental report. It was well-written and detailed, and I appreciate your professionalism.”
On February 23, the Pasadena Police Department received notice that Volunteer Harry Kouladjian was selected as the Police Officer Association of Los Angeles County Volunteer of the Year. This is a great honor for Harry, our volunteer corps, and the department. Harry has volunteered his time in the community and department for more than eleven years, donating over 5,000 hours. He is a valued member of the police department and volunteer corps. Harry is very deserving of this special honor.
On February 23, I received an email from a citizen commending Motor Officer Sammy De Sylva. The citizen witnessed Sammy stop a pedestrian for a minor traffic violation. The subject of the enforcement stop was extremely verbally abusive; however according to the witness, Sammy remained professional throughout the contact. The witness stated, “I was amazed at the restraint the officer showed. Officer S. De Sylva represented your city, department, and [law enforcement] profession well today and I wanted to take a minute to let you know…” Sammy is an experienced police officer and continues to serve our community with integrity, honor and courage.
On February 23, I received an email from a citizen commending Officer Veronica Burris and Police Specialists Arlene Ramos for their presentation at the Pasadena Enterprise Center. The citizen wrote, “Your presentation style made a substantial positive impact. Thanks again for your good work and cooperation with PEC.”
From September – November 2011, the Pasadena Police Department documented several suspicious incidents involving a male adult who approached lone females asking to use their cell phones. Officer Ryan Smith investigated the initial incidents; however, the activity did not constitute a crime. Ryan discovered the male subject was on parole. On January 5, 2012, Officer Aaron Villicana arrested the same subject for prowling. Following judicial review (related to the prowling case), the suspect was placed on a monitoring device and a curfew was imposed. On February 12, Aaron investigated another prowling case. Based on the suspect’s description, Aaron identified the suspect. The case was assigned to Corporal Schuyler Sandeen, who obtained a positive identification from the female victim. Schuyler followed up with the suspect’s parole agent, who issued a want for violation of parole. On February 22, Officer Vito Gaxiola observed the suspect and arrested him without incident. The prowling cases are under review by the City prosecutor. This case illustrates the Pasadena Police Department’s commitment to removing predators from our community. The investigation was supervised by Sergeant Jesse Carrillo.
On February 19 at about 2:24 p.m. Pasadena Police detectives assigned to the Fugitive Apprehension Unit (FAU) in support of the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, arrested a major narcotics suspect in Los Angeles County following a comprehensive investigation. The suspect was responsible for distributing over 2500 kilos of narcotics throughout the nation. The suspect was arrested without incident and is currently awaiting further court proceedings.
On February 22 at about 7:00 p.m. Pasadena Police officers assisted the Pasadena City College Police Department with crowd control related to protest on campus. PCC PD requested PPD’s assistance when the crowd became unruly. There were approximately 300 protestors who were demonstrating over budget reductions and other related concerns. There were no arrests associated with this incident. The protest was covered in the Pasadena Courier: www.pcccourier.com/news/student-protests-disrupt-board-meeting-1.2793123.
On February 22 the Pasadena Police Department conducted a daytime loitering check. Pasadena Police personnel checked parks, shopping centers, and areas typically frequented by school-aged youth. Seven students were cited for daytime loitering and transported to their respective schools. Five of the seven students live in Pasadena. The remaining students were from Los Angeles.
On February 24 from 7:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. Pasadena Traffic officers conducted a DUI checkpoint on South Fair Oaks Avenue near the city’s southern limits. Ten drivers were arrested for DUI and officers conducted approximately 34 Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. About 1,400 vehicles passed through the checkpoint during the operational period. The checkpoint was supervised by Sergeants Vasken Gourdikian and Mario Ortiz. The following personnel were involved in the checkpoint effort: Officers Hsu, Myles, Blanchard, Locklin, Hamblin, Ortiz, Karg, De Sylva, M. Calderon, Cheung, Kim, McKenzie, Pham, Northcott, and Bozarth. They were assisted by the following non-sworn employees: M. Lewis, Anderson, Bartoli, Munoz, and Liu. The checkpoint was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Phillip L. Sanchez
Chief of Police
Pasadena Police Department
207 N. Garfield Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101
Mission First, People Always