Friday, July 31, 2009

Residential Burglary Arrest

A 29 year old man from Los Angeles was arrested early yesterday afternoon on suspicion of residential burglary by Arcadia Police Officers. An Officer noticed a vehicle pulling away from a home where a burglary alarm had been activated. The vehicle and subject were stopped and evidence related to burglary, including a large amount of currency and Asian coins, along with other items led police to believe that the individual was indeed involved in the crime. An area around the original incident, the 1800 block of South Sixth Avenue, was searched for possible additional suspects but none were found.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fire Extinguisher Repair Scams

Ventura County businesses were being warned a few months ago about bogus fire extinguisher repair and recharging scams in their area. The Arcadia Fire Department also released a "Consumer Alert" on the topic back in April. Last Friday, several businesses in town were subject to persons posing as licensed fire extinguisher repair technicians who were charging fees to "recharge" the business extinguishers. APD Officers arrested a 23 year old man from Woodland Hills after he was identified by a local business owner after the suspect allegedly conducted such a scam. It appears that the suspect was operating without a City business license and had no equipment capable of recharging fire extinguishers. Although these incidents occurred in the downtown Arcadia area, all business should be aware of these scams.

If you have questions on the topic, refer to the Consumer Alert link above or call AFD at (626) 574-5104. If you believe that a crime is occurring involving this type of scam, or you have been victimized, call APD at (626) 574-5123.

Tuesday Tip - Radar, Laser or Pace?

Every once in a while, someone asks a question about fighting a speeding ticket. The first question I ask is, "How did the Officer catch you?" A friend of mine brought up the topic last week after getting cited by the CHP for speeding...laser. My best advice...traffic school.

Officers are required to attend certified training on use of a radar or laser device prior to conducting speed enforcement with those tools. Daily, the Officer checks that the equipment is properly functioning through a series of internal and external tests, depending on the device. That monitoring of the equipment continues throughout the tour of duty. Both devices are used to confirm the Officer's visual observation. The individual device is tested and checked for proper calibration by a certified technician annually or every three years depending on policy and law.

Every situation is different and there are many factors in play when it comes to a speeding ticket. CVC 40802 defines "speed trap" and gives requirements for speed surveys, roadway widths, Officer and equipment certification and more. A citation based on a "pace" does not fall under these guidelines. In my experience, a pace is based on the Officer's observation, distance, speed and should be by use of a speedometer that has been checked for calibration. A "pace" is basically fancy term for following you at a given speed.
Without getting technical, radar sends out a cone shaped beam that bounces off a target. Many factors can influence the speed return such as distance, size and speed of the objects, weather, roadway conditions and other factors. Radar has been around for a long time, is tested and is reliable. However, use of a radar requires the Officer to continuously monitor the conditions and base the speed return on his/her visual observations. The radar unit will display speed only, it does not measure distance. The Officer's testimony should include their observations as well as a tracking history.

The laser or LIDAR device is far more vehicle specific than the radar. The laser delivers a very narrow beam that is directed/aimed at a specific vehicle (pictured above). The device will display both the speed of the vehicle as well as the distance that the reading was obtained. A speed laser device is extremely accurate when used properly.

Most Officers will "lock" in the speed return on the device display. You may ask to see the equipment and most Officers will take the time to not only show you, but also explain the use of the device to you.
If you receive a citation, you have several ways to take care of the ticket;

  • Paying the fine at the court, by mail, or on-line depending on the jurisdiction.

  • Contesting the citation (Fighting the ticket) in person or by use of the "Trial by Declaration" (written) process.

  • Attending "Traffic School". You will still pay a fine, but the citation is dismissed with no point on your driving record.

Paying the citation is your worst option in my opinion. You are out the fine and it is an automatic point on your record. Contesting the citation on a speeding ticket is difficult. If you lose, it is a fine and a point. If you plan on appearing; do your homework, be certain of your case, dress and act professionally, don't argue, don't get overly technical, but do present a well thought out defense. Most courts will not allow attending traffic school after trial. If you plan on fighting the cite in hopes that the Officer does not show is a role of the dice. Our personnel are subject to discipline if they fail to show in court. Traffic school is the safest route, although you still pay the fine, your license is spared the point.

Like I told my friend, if you truly believe that you are correct and the Officer has erred or is wrong, contest the citation. Otherwise, my best advice...traffic school.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Respect for All - Civilian AND Law Enforcement

We are all guilty of jumping the gun from time to time, "Monday morning" quarterbacking and passing judgement on other people's action, especially when it comes to Law Enforcement action. Even the President can find time to criticise Law Enforcement action.

Law Enforcement Officers are taught early that our profession is one that is held to a "higher standard." From academy training on ethics and professionalism, the Field Training Officer who teaches and mentors, to the Supervisor who continues to monitor and develop Officers, new and experienced. The vast majority of Officers guide their careers by adhering to a "higher standard." Like all professions, there has and unfortuantely always will be the few that do not maintain that standard. It is the duty of every other Law Enforcement professional to hold them accountable. Conversely, we also have an obligation to stand behind any Law Enforcement professional who is wrongly accused.

A recent LA Times article by Sandy Banks refers to the Cambridge MA event as a "Power Play, not prejudice." The author makes some good points in support of her theory, but fails to recognize both sides of the coin. She even uses quotes from local Law Enforcement in an attempt to bolster her position. Look at the photo in the article. The Officer is holding a hand out, still continuing to attempt to calm the obviously yelling suspect. The author writes, "That's when the officer's actions turned a minor altercation into a national drama." I beg to differ. An Officer's actions at a scene are most often the direct result of the actions of a suspect. It is not the Officer that makes an individual uncooperative, unruly, or violent. The suspect makes a choice and the Officer is left to anticipate those suspect choices and actions, acting in response to the suspect.

Sandy Banks writes, I was angry when I first heard the news. If "Skip" Gates -- prominent scholar, author and friend of Barack Obama -- can be arrested on his own front porch simply for mouthing off to a cop, then the rest of us "loud and tumultuous" black folks surely better stay inside.

Where do we draw that line? Simply "mouthing off" is not normally beyond that line and most people recognize that. Officers take "mouthing off" all the time. It is the individual event as a whole that is considered. That is why there are laws in California that prohibit interfering with or delaying an Officer, threatening an Officer - there is a line and it does not matter who you are. It is the totality of the incident that determines where that line is drawn.

Law Enforcement is a difficult job. Early on, Sandy writes that we all deserve respect. How true! It does not matter who you are or what title you hold. But this also includes the Police Officer. It is not a citizens blind submission to authority at all. It should be simply a respect for the Officer who is trying to uphold the laws put in place by this society and for the Officer who is simply trying to do his or her job. Yes indeed, we all do deserve respect and have an obligation to respect everyone else as well.

Alarm Foils East Longden Residential Burglary

Officers responded to an audible alarm and residential burglary having just occurred at about 1:20 PM on Thursday. The burglary occurred in the 100 block of East Longden Avenue. Witnesses saw a male African American run out the front door of the house when the alarm activated. The suspect ran to an awaiting vehicle, driven by a second suspect and fled S/B on Lee Avenue. The first suspect was described as 20-25 years old, wearing a black jacket w/orange stripes and black pants. The driver was only described as a male African American with the suspect vehicle described as a dark gray, smaller SUV, similar to a Honda CRV or a possibly a Toyota 4 Runner.

After Hours Mall Burglary Interrupted

One of the owners of "Urban Street" came to the store to open up on Thursday morning and was surprised to find someone already inside the store. "Urban Street" is a clothing store at the Westfield Shoppingtown at Santa Anita. The owner confronted the suspect and tried to detain him but was unsuccessful when the suspect struck him several times. The suspect was able to get out of the shop and flee. The suspect was described as a male white, 20-30 years old, heavy set, about 5-09, and "bald." It appears that the suspect may have entered the ceiling from an adjacent vacant business and entered the store prior to opening.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

National Night Out

National Night Out 2009 is scheduled for Tuesday, August 4, 2009. National Night Out is a police and community partnership that is known as America's Night Out Against Crime. Take a look at their website for additional information. The City of Arcadia has scheduled a National Night Out event in conjunction with a summer concert and a celebration of Arcadia's 106th birthday on Thursday night, August 6, 2009. See the Arcadia Newsletter for details.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


As reported in the Pasadena Star News yesterday, Officers responded to a residence in the 1300 block of Michillinda at about 2:17 PM on Monday to assist with a reported drowning. A ten year old girl was swimming at the location with other children when she was spotted under water in the deep end of the pool. The child was immediately pulled from the pool and life saving efforts were started. Officers continued CPR and were relieved by AFD paramedics. The girl was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.

This tragic event serves as a vivid reminder to constantly monitor your pools when anyone is swimming. Summer is here and swimming is a great way to beat the heat. Safety, safety, safety; no matter what age or how proficient a swimmer may be, always designate a responsible party to monitor the pool. Even in a moment away, tragic events can occur. Link HERE to a post on pool safety tips.

3 Hondas Stolen in an Evening

Three (3) 4-door Honda cars were taken from the Westfield Santa Anita Shoppingtown, 400 S. Baldwin Avenue, on Saturday evening. One Accord and two Civics were taken from the mall parking lot, all within a few hours of each other. No suspect information was available and although highly coincidental, it is not known if the vehicle thefts are related.

Residential Burglaries by Ruse

A pair of burglary suspects hit at least two homes Saturday morning and burglarized each residence by use of a ruse. Both incidents occurred at about 11:30 AM, one in the 300 block of E. Magna Vista and the other in the 400 block of E. Lemon. The pair knocked on the door and told the victim that they were there to conduct some sort of survey or construction work, asking the victim to accompany the female suspect outside. The male slipped into the home and stole money while the victim's attention was diverted.

The suspects were described as a male Hispanic, about 25-30 years old with a shaved head, and a female, white or Hispanic, 25 years old, dark hair wearing a flower print skirt.

This serves as a reminder to not allow persons entry to your home that you do not know and don't allow someone to lure you outside for any reason if you have not initiated the contact. Call the police should this type of event happen to you. Get good descriptions and be a good witness. Anyone with information is asked to call APD Detectives at (626) 574-5160.

Tuesday Tip - Toy Guns?

Our image of toy guns has changed over the years. Cowboys and Indians, plastic guns, playing army, all have all given way to an era of realistic toy weapons alongside real, functioning handguns and rifles. Search the Internet; replica guns, airsoft, toy gun and see how realistic our toys have become. Not only do the kids and collectors love the realistic look, but so can the bad guys. Take a look below at some photos of functioning weapons that are painted or colored to resemble toys.

This trend causes a dilemma for us all. We read about young kids bringing actual weapons with them to school. We have seen tragedy with school and workplace shootings. Our children play with toys that look like the real thing. So with toy and weapon colliding, Law Enforcement is faced with even a greater challenge when responding to calls involving or persons (of any age) armed with a weapon. The red plastic tip of old is no longer a deterrent for an Officer when that weapon is pointed at them. Unfortunately, bad guys have not only colored their weapons, they have also attempted to duplicate the red tip, all to "fool" the Officer and gain that split second advantage.

As parents, we need to do what we can to protect our children. If they play with replica weapons, have a responsible adult around to watch them and guide their form of play. Play in your own yard, not in a school yard, park or around other buildings. Visit paintball courses. Use common sense. The citizen passing by, your neighbor, or the responding Officer may not know that someone is "just playing."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Visit to the O.C. Yields Arrest

Over the course of the last few weeks, a Pasadena man has been escalating threats against his ex-wife, ran from Officers and later threatened two of our personnel. Last Friday, leads pointed toward a relative's home in Surf City USA (Huntington Beach). HBPD Detectives located the vehicle being driven by the suspect near the 16000 blk. Birdie Ln, Huntington Beach, and suveilled the location until APD Detectives arrived. The suspect eventually emerged and literally ran out of his sandals prior to being taken into custody. The suspect was transported back to Arcadia and booked on felony criminal threats charges.

Thanks to Huntington Beach PD for the assist! HBPD jumped right in, assisting in the field and in facilitating an out of county warrant for our suspect. Great teamwork all around.

Officer Albert Matthies, EOW July 19, 1927

Today is the 82nd anniversary of the murder of Arcadia Police Officer Albert Matthies. Officer Matthies was killed in the line of duty on July 19, 1927. Officer Matthies is the only Arcadia Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty. Please visit the APOA website or our previous blog post on this tragedy for a brief history in memory of Officer Albert Matthies.

The murder of Officer Matthies is memorialized at the following locations:

  • Plaque memorial at Foothill Blvd/Northview Ave, Arcadia CA
  • Los Angeles County Peace Officers Memorial, Whittier CA
  • California Peace Officers Memorial, Sacramento CA
  • National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Washington DC
  • Officer Down Memorial Page

Friday, July 17, 2009

Unexpected Morning DUI

A female driver was arrested for DUI shortly after 9:00 AM this morning after another driver called in her impaired driving. Officers found the vehicle and driver in the area of Foothill and Don Ricardo. She was found to be DUI and arrested. Preliminary tests showed her blood alcohol content at over 3 x the legal limit. This is an arrest you normally expect to find in the middle of the night; not mid morning. not drink and drive. Report drunk drivers, call 9-1-1.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Law Enforcement and Social Media

Law Enforcement, in general, is slowly entering the world of social media. I read an interesting article from Christa Miller on Cops 2.0 recently, titled Experts: Branding opportunities in disguise. The article, and the Cops 2.0 website, explores the use of social media formats and the Internet by police agencies and individual officers as well. "To be sure, this idea is outside the bounds of traditional law enforcement hierarchies. Tightly controlled information has been—and still is, to some extent—crucial to the overall mission of preserving peace and public safety."

The article points out that use of social media by Law Enforcement is an opportunity to reach out to the public in a far different way than traditional means. "Tightly controlled information" and the Public Information Officer (PIO) are not being replaced by the use of social media. The use of social media by police is an additional tool at our disposal and is of value. Take a look at the article and the Cops 2.0 website for additional information on the topic and some great examples of how Law Enforcement in putting this concept to use.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Avoid Heat Related Illness

Having attended outdoor training and PT on a fair number of occasions, I have heard the phrase, "stay hydrated," from countless instructors. With the weather hitting the 90's this week, that type of advice is warranted. The CDC offers many hot weather tips for avoiding heat related problems. Their best advice is prevention...take a look at the CDC link HERE for helping to prevent heat related illness. Additional tips can be found on the Red Cross website HERE.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, dial 9-1-1 and seek medical aid immediately.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Arcadia's Best" Posts ALPR Video

This video was put together by Arcadia's Best after a ride-a-long with Officer Justin St. Pierre of APD. It focuses on use of the Automated License Plate Reader which four of our units are equipped with. The ALPR is a great piece of equipment and scans countless vehicle plates automatically. See our post on the ALPR system HERE.

Officer Louis Pompei Memorial Golf Tournament

The APOA was a proud sponsor in the 2009 Officer Louis Pompei Memorial Golf Tournament held today at the Via Verde Country Club in San Dimas. Louis was a Glendora Police Officer who was killed while attempting to stop an armed robbery at a San Dimas market while he was off-duty on June 9, 1995. Louis or Louie, as many of us knew him, was a great friend and co-worker and is missed by many. The tournament is held annually in his memory and much of the proceeds go to the California Peace Officers Memorial Fund. Sergeant Tom Le Veque(L), Detectives Dan Crowther(C) and Phil Pierce(R), along with Crime Analyst Mike Daleo represented APOA at the event.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Projected Loads in Vehicle

Summer is upon us and many folks will be out buying lengths of 2'x4', PVC pipe, shelving, trim, and other long items that we need for projects. Sometimes there is a problem with just how long the items are and how much our vehicle can accommodate. The are many laws in the California Vehicle Code that pertain to size, weight and load. These sections apply to all vehicles and not just commercial vehicles and trucks. Here are a few examples of sections that cover violations that we commonly see on the roadway;
  • CVC 24604 - Rear Load or Projection Excess 4' Requires Flag or Red Lights. Any load that extends beyond 4' from the rear of the vehicle, measured from the taillights, needs a 12"x12" red flag during the daytime and 2 red lights during darkness.
  • CVC 35111 - Passenger Vehicles, No Load May Project Beyond the Line of the Fender on Left Side and No More Than 6" from Right Fender. The picture above depicts a common scenario with items sticking out of the passenger window. In this case, the items were about 2' from the passenger side of the car and would be considered unlawful.
  • CVC 35406/35410 - Limit Front and Rear Projections. 3' to front from front bumper and 2/3 wheelbase limit to rear.
  • Click HERE for sections regarding covering loads such as sand and gravel.
Use the links to read specific language from the CVC to be clear on these laws. Measure the space available in your vehicle before you make a purchase. Ask a friend to provide a truck or other transportation if needed. Most home centers offer either delivery or truck rental at their shops as well. These sections are in place for all of our safety. Please pay attention to your load lengths and avoid creating a hazard and possibly a citation.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Interesting Responses to Blog Post

One of the latest posts on the Philosophical Cop Police Blog is titled, "What's Wrong With Cops These Days?" The post has generated about 20 responses to date and gives you a little insight into public perception and belief on the topic. You will find some positive responses as well as some responses that target specific areas of Law Enforcement and use of force.

Overall, I am pleased with the development of Law Enforcement over the last two decades. Education and training requirements have been raised, accountability on both an individual and department level is more evident, and I think that more departments interact with the communities that they serve today, more than in decades past.

Laws will be laws; they are just massaged over time to suit technology, trends, need and other factors. The individual officer plays a key role in positive change and effectiveness in any department. Like other police departments, we look for the best people we can and provide them with excellent training and guidance, striving to put competent, thinking, police officers on the street. The training never ends and time plus experience add to how the individual officer grows in their career.

Take a look at the comments and see what you think...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day 2009

The 4th of July is Independence Day! Have a great holiday and celebrate safely. Remember that all fireworks are illegal to possess or use in the City of Arcadia. HERE is a list of fireworks shows in LA County.

As always, remember to not drink and drive. Report drunk drivers, call 9-1-1.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fireworks Shows in LA County

HERE is a list of fireworks shows offered in LA County. There are shows throughout the County scheduled from July 2nd through the 4th. Check the link for the complete list. Celebrate safely and attend a professional show.

Remember that all fireworks are illegal to use or possess in the City of Arcadia.

"Tipsy Tow" - Free Tow Offered

Jan's Towing offers a free service known as "Tipsy Tow" throughout the year. Jan's is committed to helping to keep drunk drivers off the road and takes an active role by offering this program to those who have indulged a little too much. With the holiday weekend upon us, take advantage of this offer should the need arise. Jan's can be reached at (626) 334-1383.

Other programs are being offered in surrounding areas this weekend, sponsored by AAA. So, if you are not in Arcadia or another area serviced by Jan's Towing, give AAA a call at (800) 400-4AAA. See this KTLA5 story which offers some safety tips from AAA.

Remember to report drunk drivers, call 9-1-1 and help keep our roads safe!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Alleged ADW at Bar

Officers responded to the "1020 Lounge" at Baldwin and Arcadia Avenue at about 2:30 AM on report of an ADW victim. The victim, a 34 year old Pasadena man, had been at the bar and was asked to leave earlier in the evening by security. While standing outside the bar, he was allegedly struck in the head with a metal object by an unknown bouncer from the location. The victim was treated at a local hospital for his injuries. No other parties were found at the location at time of report.