Thursday, July 31, 2008

Live Newsroom Feed

Frank Girardot at the SGVN launched a live newsroom video feed on the CrimeScene Blog earlier today. They are considering live feed for court coverage and are giving it a try in the newsroom. Take a look. It is an interesting concept.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Earthquake Update

No visible or reported damage in the City of Arcadia. APD units were assisted by air resources from Pasadena PD. Cell phone service was interrupted in the area but the land lines seemed to remain up.

Tuedsay Tip - Burglary Prevention

Arcadia is no different than other cities in the SGV and our homes are not immune to burglary. In fact, APD has responded to a fair number of daytime, residential burglaries, in recent months. MANY of these burglaries could have easily been prevented. Taking some simple steps when you leave the house can help lessen your chances of being victimized. Lock your doors, close your windows, pick up your newspapers and mail, turn some lights on, just to name a few.

There are tons of resources available on-line, by mail, or from reliable companies that will survey your home and make recommendations as to security improvements and alarms. Many improvements are inexpensive and can be accomplished in minutes; trimming bushes that seclude windows, replace the outside lights to improve lighting, place broomsticks or poles in the tracks of sliding doors, or the use inexpensive supplemental window locks.

Driving around the City, you can spot potential victims with their windows wide open or mail and newspapers stacked outside. Burglars look at these signs too. They will watch for persons to drive out and knock on the door before making their entry. By that time, it is usually too late for prevention. Make your home as difficult as possible for a burglar. Forced entry is encountered, but unlocked and open doors and windows is more common of an entry point.

Get to know your neighbors and neighborhood. The more eyes the better. If you see persons or cars that are unknown to the area and seem suspicious, call your local police. Knowing your neighbors, their cars and patterns make it easier to identify people or circumstances that are out of the norm.

Here are a couple of links to sites with prevention tips and information; Crime Doctor and the Burglary Prevention Council. You can also contact the APD Community Services Office at (626)574-5174.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Late Afternoon Power Outage

Some parts of Downtown and West Arcadia were hit with a power outage shortly before 5 PM today. A few intersections were blacked out and some businesses closed due to the power outage. Officers responded to the Westfield Shoppingtown on a report of persons possibly stuck in an elevator but the problem was resolved prior to arrival. The cause of the outage was unknown.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Inter-Con Under Fire in Pasadena

As in the case with the City of Pasadena, the City of Arcadia contracts with Inter-Con to provide our parking control services. The program was a started from the ground up, contract negotiations to implementation. The benefits to the City and our Department have been great in contrast to the difficulties either behind the scenes or in the area of citizen complaints.

According to the Pasadena Weekly, Inter-Con is under fire from some members of the Pasadena City Council for "overaggressive enforcement" and excessive errors in citations. Other concerns in the article refer to lack of training and high turn over.

Unlike Pasadena, APD employs four PERS for parking control services. Pasadena's program is much larger. Our PERS receive about two weeks training when they report for duty. We stress common sense and fairness to our new employees. The PERS are contract employees, however, we attempt to treat them as members of APD. Inter-Con has an internal structure for supervision and complaints, but the PERS report to and are supervised by APD personnel on a daily basis. They are held to standards similar to our Officers and are always reminded that they represent APD and the City of Arcadia.

The City has procedures in place that include Administrative Reviews, a Hearing Officer and ultimately a Court Appearance, should someone contest a parking citation. Many of the "complaints" that came in during the first year of implementation were due to citizens simply not being accustomed to regular parking enforcement in the City. Overall, our complaints and concerns regarding the program have been minimal.

We have found that through appropriate training and supervision, fair and reasonable compensation, and cooperation between APD, the City and Inter-Con, our program has been beneficial. Thanks to the FC Blog for leading us to the post. We will continue to watch how the contract services play with our neigbor.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Just a Thought

I'll preface this by saying that these words come from someone with over two decades in law enforcement, but it just seems that too often, some folks are very quick to toss in some interesting views when commenting on Law Enforcement duties and actions.

In the last few days, there are two great examples of the communities' differing viewpoints on serious issues. Yesterday, the Sierra Madre Police Department attempted warrant service on a man with a "no bail" warrant. The incident rolled into a day long event with the man refusing to come out of his house, commonly referred to a "barricaded suspect". All too often, Law Enforcement, in general, is criticized for actions that are too quick or without avenues of resolution other than force. The SMPD and allied agencies made several attempts to remove this man from the situation and into custody in a timely and safe manner. HE refused. Law Enforcement waited, surrounded and called, and ultimately resolved the issue by use of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department SEB without incident.

That is, after all, the goal of Law Enforcement, to resolve all situations peacefully and without incident. BUT, always prepared to take whatever action is necessary to prevent or respond to actions of the suspect. End result to the Sierra Madre incident was a peaceful resolve with some inconvenience to the neighborhood and yes, a monetary cost to entire community, surrounding agencies and others because of the actions of ONE MAN.

The CrimeScene Blog has run an entry on the use of possible "gang injunctions" in the Monrovia area in response to an "uptick" of violent crime in the last year. Comments run the gamut of extremes from persons on the blog.

Expressing some one's viewpoint is a great asset and right granted to us all. It is too bad that sometimes our viewpoints can cloud the issue and prevent resolutions that are in the best interest of EVERYONE. Everyone is entitled to and has the obligation to speak up. I just wish that that energy could be used to agree to disagree from time to time and concentrate on the ultimate goal. In this instance, that is making our communities as safe as possible while preserving every one's right to co-exist, peacefully.

After all, as a Law Enforcement Officer, I view some of our primary roles in the community as a peace keeper and a problem solver. Law Enforcement is just one aspect of the job these days.

Debit Card Fraud Follow-Up

Nathan McIntire ran an article in the SGV Tribune addressing the recent rash of debit card fraud in which many residents of Monrovia and Duarte were victimized. There is no new information on the cases as to source of the problem, but that is where both the police and bank follow-up come into play. As was said in the latest "Tuesday Tip", be aware every time you use your cards. Look at the machines, look around. Sometimes it may be an "inside" job with an employee obtaining the information, but many times it is the card number and PIN being trapped by suspects outside the business. The use of skimming devices placed over a legitimate card reader or ATM is increasing. Watch out for yourself. Take the time to walk inside to use your card, pay by cash when possible, and check your bank statements frequently to look for any signs of fraudulent activity.

The problem is indeed widespread. ABC7 aired a story yesterday on similar events that occurred at a Pomona gas station. See the story and video HERE.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Acid Bombs"

In the last couple of months, APD has responded on several incidents of homemade acid bombs that have been left near parking structures or businesses in West Arcadia. Acid bombs can be very dangerous and are made with readily available, household products. Most commonly used are plastic soda bottles or other large drink bottles. Names for this type of bomb range from "bottle bombs" to "dry ice bombs". There have been no injuries as a result of these incidents in Arcadia, however, should one of these devices explode when someone is near, injuries could be serious. If you encounter what appears to be a soda or drink bottle in an unusual place, that appears sealed and filled with something other than what is normal, stay back and call your local police. Any one with information on these cases is asked to call APD Detectives at (626)574-5160.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Alarm Ordinance Adopted

It's official, the City Council has approved the updated alarm ordinance which increases fines for false alarms and a yearly permit fee. SGVN ran the story HERE. We first spoke of the ordinance in a blog entry in June.

Victoria's Secret Hit for Theft

A pair of females made off with about 40 lingerie items from Victoria's Secret at the Westfield Mall last Friday evening, July 18. The duo was seen by a witness who alerted store workers to the theft having occurred. The suspects were not apprehended but were described as two female Hispanics in their 40's, one with blond hair and the other with long black hair. They used a backpack to conceal the items. It is unknown if there is any relation to prior thefts at the store.

Wachovia Bank Robbed

Shortly before noon last Friday morning, July 18th, the Wachovia Bank at Baldwin and Duarte was robbed by a lone male claiming to be armed. The suspect was described as a male white, 40ish, 5'-08", 140lbs, wearing a blond wig and a Lakers ball cap. The suspect made off with an amount of cash in a red, mid-size SUV.

If you have any information on the bank robbery, please call APD Detectives at (626)574-5160.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grand Theft Auto Arrests

If you noticed police and helicopter activity last night in the area of Santa Anita and Colorado, it was during the course of a search for two suspects wanted in connection with a stolen vehicle. The suspicious vehicle and suspects were seen on a residential street and reported to APD at about 9:15 PM. The vehicle was a reported stolen out of the Crescenta Valley Station of LASD. The two male suspects were found hiding in the area and taken into custody without incident.

Tuesday Tip - "Skimming" and ATM Fraud

The CrimeScene Blog ran a letter sent to them from a Monrovia resident concerned about someone unlawfully accessing checking accounts by use of debit cards/PIN numbers. The letter does not give much detail but it sounds similar to "skimming" which can take place right under your nose when making purchases, paying for a meal or using an ATM machine. Restaurants are used by suspects who carry handheld skimming devices to trap credit and debit card magnetic information. The suspects are many times the server of your table. Some restaurants have actually gone to use of portable card readers so that the transaction can be performed at your table, directly in front of you. This type of device helps to secure the transaction for your protection.

There are many resources on the web that give you information on this type of theft and fraud. Read the Wikipedia entry on the topic and it will give you some insight and topics to query. Here is another link to a helpful website, "Bustathief", where they actually have photos of modified ATM machines and what to look for to prevent your information from being taken.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Officer Albert Matthies Remembered

The only Arcadia Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty is Albert E. Matthies. Officer Matthies was shot while detaining three young men near the intersection of Northview and Foothill in north Arcadia on July 18, 1927, shortly before midnight. Officer Matthies came upon the men inside a vehicle parked on Northview. The men were preparing to conduct a robbery at a business nearby. The rear seat passenger was Frank Miller. Miller pulled out a .45 cal handgun and shot at Matthies, striking him in the neck. Matthies died from the gunshot wound. Matthies died at 12:07 AM on July 19, 1927.

Leo Bertolina, a friend of Matthies, was riding along that night in the police car. Bertolina was able to scramble away after being shot at and hit with flying glass from windows being struck by gunfire. Bertolina telephoned for additional police assistance. The trio of suspects got away that night but were later apprehended in Los Angeles within days. The three suspects were later convicted of the murder of Officer Matthies and sentenced to prison. The shooter died in prison. The two accomplices were later paroled and died shortly after release.
The APOA has a nice article on our website, dedicated to the memory of Officer Matthies, written by Lieutenant Paul Foley. Matthies is remembered with a small memorial at the Police Department. Northview has been co-named Albert Matthies Way and there is a plaque placed near the intersection where Matthies was killed. Officer Matthies is also memorialized on the California Peace Officers' Memorial in Sacramento, across from the State Capital.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

IndyMac Crisis Affects Arcadia

The IndyMac crisis rolled through Arcadia with crowds of patrons making their way to the local branch at Santa Anita and Foothill. Since Friday, crowds have increased at the normally quiet branch. IndyMac Federal requested APD presence to assist with crowd control and keeping the peace. Officers have been working with bank officials and the public since Monday. KABC 7 aired a story covering events in Pasadena and Arcadia Monday afternoon. Patrons at the Arcadia branch have been calm and cooperative throughout the long waits.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Tip - "We Tip"

We Tip is a nonprofit organization that accepts all forms of crime related tips from throughout the US. The tips are always anonymous and are then forwarded to the appropriate Law Enforcement agency for possible follow-up. APD receives tips throughout the year from We Tip. Take a look at their website for additional information. Anonymous tips can be submitted HERE.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Agent Louie Pompei Memorial Golf Tournament

APOA remembers Louis Pompei of the Glendora Police Department in sponsorship of the golf tournament named in his honor. Louis was a friend and co-worker to members of the APOA. Glendora, Monrovia and Arcadia Police Department members all participated in the annual Baker to Vegas Relay in which Louis was a team member. Louis was killed while attempting to stop a robbery at a market in 1995 in the City of San Dimas. Agent Pompei wounded two suspects that night who were ultimately caught and sentenced for their crime. Louis paid the ultimate sacrifice that night and is truly missed. We are proud to call Louis our friend!

The annual golf tournament was held at Via Verde County Club, San Dimas. Officers Dan Crowther, Steve Crawford, Stan Flores, Jon Hudson, Jason Davis, Sergeants Roy Nakamura, Tom Le Veque and Reserve Officer Mike Daleo all took part in the event today.

Friday, July 11, 2008

APD Programs - Foothill Special Enforcement Team

APD participates in a regional SWAT unit with several other municipal police agencies, known as the Foothill Special Enforcement Team (FSET). Participating agencies include; Arcadia, Glendora, Monrovia and La Verne. Each Police Department dedicates a number of officers, supervisors and equipment to the program. The group is guided by an MOU or contract agreed to by each City. A local cable channel recorded scenes from a training exercise which aired in Glendora. Some of the footage and interviews can be seen on YouTube. The team trains twice monthly and each member has attended various SWAT schools offered by such units as LA County Sheriff SEB, LAPD SWAT, and FBI SWAT. FSET is a well trained unit that is capable of responding to virtually any emergency situation. The La Verne Police Department also has a section dedicated to FSET on their website HERE.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Man Rescued from Near Drowning

A 74 year old Arcadia resident has an alert neighbor and his wife to thank for saving him from a near drowning yesterday. The event occurred shortly before 2 PM at a residential complex pool in the 1100 blk. Fairview. The victim was found under water by the neighbor. The neighbor and wife pulled the victim out of the water where the wife performed emergency breathing on the victim. Paramedics and Officers were summoned and the victim began breathing before they arrived. The victim was treated and transported to a local hospital. The quick acting neighbor and wife no doubt saved the victim from drowning.

This serves as a reminder to us all that EVERYONE should practice good safety habits near pools. Never swim alone or without someone acting as the eyes to monitor the pool. View our blog on Pool Safety HERE.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday Tip - Speed Trap or Speed Enforcement?

Do you feel the need, the need for speed? Toyota Speedway at Irwindale can always provide a good outlet. But definitely not on our City streets or local freeways.

When folks ask questions of an Officer, speed is often a topic of conversation and debate. The best answer is to obey the speed limits and you will never have a problem. Too often, drivers feel that because the "flow" of traffic is faster, or "everyone" is speeding, then it is perhaps OK to drive fast. The DMV does a nice job of summarizing and explaining speed limits in California.

A phrase that is often tossed around and usually not understood is "speed trap". Many drivers feel that when a speed limit appears to be posted too low or an Officer is perceived to be "hiding", then this equates to a speed trap. Not so. California and Federal law dictate how roadway speed limits are posted. If radar or laser is used for speed enforcement, roadways require speed surveys. Contrary to what a particular website will profess, the usual belief that you have fallen victim to a speed trap is false. APD has several entries on the site and it demonstrates that we are making an impact.

Speed limits are a hot topic right now as California is being forced to fall more in line with Federal guidelines. The PSN has run stories on area cities fighting this battle of late, to include Pasadena and South Pasadena. We will see how this plays out for Arcadia in the future.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Businessman Robbed

About 10:30 AM, Saturday, July 5th, a local business manager was making a money drop outside the Washington Mutual Bank, 60 E. Huntington Dr. The manager was confronted by a suspect who was armed with a handgun. The suspect was described as a male, Hispanic, 20-25 years old, 5-08, short brown hair, medium build, clean shaven. The suspect and a driver made off in a red vehicle with the deposit money.

If you have any information, please call APD Detectives at (626)574-5160.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Budget Approved - Positions Frozen

The SGV Tribune reports that the Arcadia City Council has passed the annual budget for 2008-2009 with an anticipated $200,000.00 surplus. The budget also freezes six Police Officer positions. This is actually one additional position over what the APOA had anticipated. Staffing levels have continued to improve over the last few months with continued recruitment and the recently signed contract.

Interesting Homicide Investigation Poll

Frank Girardot is running an interesting poll on the CrimeScene Blog, posing the question of whether or not small police agencies should handle their own homicide investigations. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will assist in local homicide investigations should an agency request their assistance. APD has fallen on both sides of the fence in prior cases. Such factors as complexity of the investigation, evidence, manpower, other resources are just some examples of what comes into play when making the decision whether or not to ask LASD for assistance. Pros and cons exist on both sides of the coin. Some agencies may have a policy of using LASD as their primary unit for homicides. Others do not and take each investigation on a case by case basis.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Have a safe and fun 4th of July! Remember that all fireworks are illegal in the City of Arcadia. To report violations, please call APD Dispatch at (626)574-5123. In case of emergencies of injury, dial 9-1-1.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Chantry Flats Closure

The gates to Chantry Flats on Santa Anita Canyon Road will be closed at 5PM on Friday, July 4th. With the fire danger very high the communities along the foothills and the Forest Service will be limiting access to the canyon roads throughout the weekend. The SGVN has an article dedicated to local closures HERE.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Neighborhood Speed Watch & PACE Car Programs

The City of Arcadia Police Department has enacted the Neighborhood Speed Watch Program. The program is designed to involve the citizen in the process of making their neighborhood and community safer. The goal of the Neighborhood Speed Watch Program is to reduce speeding on neighborhood streets and to increase citizen awareness of the risks of speeding to pedestrians and other vehicles. Volunteers from neighborhoods identify speeding problems, monitor them and work toward their resolution in a partnership with the Police Department.

The Police Department loans neighborhood residents a radar unit, for up to one week, free of charge. Resident volunteers will be briefed on what is expected of them, how to use the radar equipment and how to properly collect data. Two people are needed; One to monitor speed, read out license plate numbers and descriptions of the cars, and the second to fill out the paperwork. At no time will these citizens follow, chase down or confront a motorist. The Police Department will then send an advisory letter to the registered owner of vehicles logged in excess of a given safe speed. The letter will explain that their vehicle was observed speeding in the area and we will encourage drivers to drive in a safe and cautious manner.

If a pattern of speeding is established, the Police Department may also employ other means of education and enforcement such as use of a speed radar trailer, message boards, deterrent vehicles and/or aggressive enforcement. Identified problem areas will also be presented to the City Traffic Advisory Committee for review and consideration of alternative engineering methods.

In addition to Speed Watch, we are also introducing the PACE Car Program. The Pace Car Program is an innovative, new, citizen-based effort offered by the Arcadia Police Department that is designed to calm traffic on Arcadia streets. The program is modeled after similar programs that have been successfully implemented in other US cities. By signing the Pace Car Pledge and displaying the Pace Car window/bumper sticker, Arcadia citizens set the pace for safer Arcadia streets.

It is everyone’s responsibility to drive safely, obey all traffic laws and help keep our streets safe. For further information, contact Officer Steve Crawford, APD Traffic Bureau, at (626) 574-5151 or by email,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday Tip - Get Off the Phone...Today!!!

Today is July 1st. And today is the day that California begins enforcement of the cellular telephone laws. Adult drivers are prohibited from talking on the phone while driving. Drivers under 18 years old are prohibited from using ANY wireless device. Enforcement will begin TODAY! The laws have been well publicized throughout the State. Take a look at our prior entry for further information on the laws HERE. Please, Get Off the Phone!