Tag Archive | "Police"

Families come out to enjoy National Night Out

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Families come out to enjoy National Night Out

Posted on 02 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Uziar
La Habra Journal

On the first Tuesday of August, La Habra joined the rest of the United States for National Night Out.
Though the event was set to start at 5:30 p.m., the community of La Habra was ready to meet and hang out with the La Habra Police Department much earlier.
Families gathered in Portola Park by the Children’s Museum at La Habra for K9, Swat and fire department displays, information on how to prevent crime, games and activities, free dinner, a Polynesian performance and to cap it all off, a movie in the park with Disney’s “Moana” as the featured film.
There were plenty of activities for the community to enjoy such as meeting the three police dogs, Emerson, Rita and Bobby, a craft table, a small tennis court courtesy of iTennis La Habra, a free farmers market provided by Our Lady Guadalupe Church and the La Habra Collaborative, and a dunk tank.
The Children’s Museum was also open past its usual hours and free to the public.

Grill masters: Officer Time Shay, Sgt. Jose Quirarte and Chaplain Chris Fowler grill food for the annual National Night Out event at Portola Park Tuesday evening.

According to national organizers, the goal of National Night Out is as an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
Attendance has doubled as compared to last year, according to Sgt. Daniel Barnes. He has cooperated with assistant recreation manager Katie Elmore to help bring the event to the community. Though they prepared for approximately 800 individuals, Barnes finds that the craft table, the police dogs and the motorbikes are the biggest draw in.
“So I worked alongside the team and specifically K

Dog Days: Children were able to meet the police dogs like Emerson at the National Night Out event.

atie Elmore from community services,” Barnes said. “Her and I have been working together to put this whole event together, connecting with our different business in the community, several nonprofits that are in our community.”
Ultimately, Barnes only desires to create a better and stronger relationship with the community he loves and serves.
“I feel like when you have a personal connection with someone, there’s more of a

responsibility and it really strengthens the bonds and a relationship is built there,” Barnes said. “When you have a stronger relationship, you become a little more projected in your goal and obviously our goal as a community, as a police department in the city, is to make this city a safer place to live and just to have a great working relationship,”

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LHPD to install body cameras

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LHPD to install body cameras

Posted on 22 June 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Urizar
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Police Department’s efforts finally paid off.
After actively pursuing wearable body cameras since early 2016, the department acquired a five-year $375,000 agreement with Axon, and LHPD officers are starting to be equipped with them, with a complete implementation of the department by late July or early August.
The idea came after seeing how well Rialto did with their body cameras, the LHPD began watching and considering body cameras.
“We heard about Rialto and how they had some success with the body worn cameras and things have gone well,” Price said. “We just started the process of looking at the cameras, looking at what the pros and cons are, whether or not it’s going to work for us here [in La Habra] or not.”
The La Habra Police Department now joins other law enforcement agencies in Orange County in embracing body cameras such as Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Tustin and Cal State Fullerton.
After testing several body cameras, Price approached the La Habra City Council with their agreement with Axon.
The Council unanimously approved the agreement back in early February 2017.
In early June, the department equipped one smaller patrol team to begin working with the cameras, having the team implementing them in their daily routines. Through the first team, the police department aims to work out any imperfections and make improvements before having the team train the other members of the police department.

The LHPD will also have an Axon representative come the following week and show them how to use the device properly.
Captain Dean Capelletti of the La Habra Police Department knows how important it is to be transparent with the community.
He wants his officers to feel comfortable using the body cameras and realize the benefit they are to both the department and the community of La Habra.
Capelletti said Axiom is going to train them and answer any questions the officers may have.
“We’ll continue with the implementation,” Capelletti said. “It’s totally something new for the officers and we want to make sure that they know how to operate it and feel comfortable with it.”
The agreement for the LHPD comes with three camera improvements, body cameras and storage of digital memory and a warranty, should any accidents happen to the equipment.
In the past, law enforcement agencies have relied on audio recordings and dashboard cameras in patrol cars.
However, with recent calls for accountability of law enforcement agencies, many have chosen to provide their departments with body cameras to provide transparency to the public.
The LHPD has expressed great excitement in implementing the body cameras.
“I’m very excited about putting them out there,” Capelletti said. “I believe we have a nice relationship with our community and I think this is just another area that we can show them we truly are a transparent police department and we have nothing to hide.”

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LHPD Generosity allows veteran to live dream

Posted on 19 December 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

Tears welled up in the eyes of Korean War veteran, Richard “Dick” Pistole, as he entered the La Habra City Council chambers Wednesday afternoon.  The outpouring of love and generosity he saw was more than he could expect.

LHPD Hawaii__070
Pistole, 80, was presented with an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii by the La Habra Police Officer’s Association and Police Department in an effort to help him achieve a life goal. A goal that had to have been put on hold earlier this year.
“It’s fantastic that they would do this,” he said as he was holding back some tears.  “I just can’t get over it. This group is my family and they mean so much to me.”
Pistole, a widower, works at LHPD as a part-time computer specialist and had traveled alone to Hawaii for the first time to see the USS Arizona Memorial, a life-long dream.  However, when he got there, the memorial was closed due to the government shutdown. He was unable to change his travel plans or obtain a refund.  So, he returned home heartbroken, unable to see the memorial and honor the lost veterans he had hoped to visit.
That’s when the employees of the LHPD stepped into action.
“It was the easiest fundraising effort we have ever conducted,” said Sgt. Jim Tigner, president of the POA. “We raised the money in just over a week and we are still receiving more donations.”
Tigner explained that with one company email that briefly explained Pistole’s story, the donations just started coming in.
“We care about him,” Tigner said. “He’s like a father and grandfather figure in our department and it was really good for us to do.”
Pistole explained that he is really looking forward to this trip to Hawaii.
“It’s the best present I could ever get,” Pistole said.  “I am going to stand at the memorial and give the biggest salute possible.”

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LHPD relaunches bike patrol

Posted on 05 December 2013 by La Habra Journal

Two-wheeled officers will deter theft during holiday season.

By Lauren Davis
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Police Department created a new bicycle patrol unit in an effort to reduce vehicle crime around large retail centers this holiday season.

Photo courtesy La Habra Police Department Ready for patrol: Officers of the La Habra Police Department’s reinstated bike patrol stand next to their patrol bikes and their instructor (far left). The officers will be patrolling the many shopping center parking lots  during the busy holiday season to help deter property theft from parked vehicles.

Photo courtesy La Habra Police Department
Ready for patrol: Officers of the La Habra Police Department’s reinstated bike patrol stand next to their patrol bikes and their instructor (far left). The officers will be patrolling the many shopping center parking lots during the busy holiday season to help deter property theft from parked vehicles.

The bicycle patrol units, part of the police department’s new crime suppression campaign that began on Nov. 25, are assigned to the large shopping centers off of Beach Boulevard and Imperial Highway.

Jeff Swaim, a lieutenant at La Habra Police Department, said the bicycles have proven helpful when patrolling retail areas, since bike officers are only assigned to one area and can have better access to the public. Bicycles are also useful due to their mobility in apartment complexes, parks, alleys, fields and other areas not easily accessed by police cars.

The LHPD had a bicycle patrol unit in the early 1990s, but due to budget issues and reassignment positions within the department, it was shut down despite positive feedback from the community.

“The bicycle units used to be very effective back then, and very well received by the community,” Swaim said. “People enjoyed having police officers out of their cars and having the chance to approach them.”

In order for the 13 currently trained bicycle officers to become qualified for the bicycle patrol unit, they had to each undergo a three-day training class at Cal State Fullerton. The officers underwent training such as slow speed maneuvering, cone patterns, long-distance riding, proper nutrition and proper maintenance of the bicycles, to name a few.

At the end of the three-day course, the officers were required to then pass a written test and an obstacle course test, which tested their physical agility.

“They had to carry their bike up 70 stairs, ride around, jump over a six-foot wall, and drag a 150-pound dummy,” Swaim said.
He explained that the three-day training class was quite shocking to many of the officers, who did not expect the bike patrol class to be as strenuous as it was.
“The class was instead very specialized,” said Swaim.

He added that participation in the bicycle patrol is voluntary and does not alter an officer’s regular assigned duties.
The bicycles used during patrol are 30-speed Kona Brand mountain bikes made by Safari Land. The bikes are all black, and come complete with emergency equipment like lights, sirens and integrated wiring.

Five out of the seven mountain bikes were donated by an anonymous donor, and the other two were paid for by LHPD. Swaim said that each bike cost $2,200, and included a two-year warranty plan.

Sumner Bohee, both a police officer and newly trained bicycle patrol officer at LHPD, said that he decided to volunteer for the bicycle patrol since he enjoys riding mountain bikes in his spare time.

“When I found out that we were bringing back our bike patrol program, I pretty much jumped at the chance,” Bohee said.
He explained that because of the high property crime rates during the holiday season, it is very important to have officers out in the shopping centers as much as possible.

“It is also just a great way to interact with the public, because people feel more comfortable approaching a police officer on a bike versus a police car,” Bohee said. “It really makes you (police officers) much more approachable to the public.”

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LHPD launches new crime suppression campaign

Posted on 05 December 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Lauren Davis
La Habra Journal

The message “Lock it, Hide it, Keep it” is the goal behind the La Habra Police Department’s new crime-suppression campaign launched Nov. 25.
The campaign informs the public about how to protect themselves and their vehicles from burglary and theft.  Also part of the campaign is the placement of saturation patrols, where multiple officers are out in an area, and new police bicycle units into the large retail centers around Beach Boulevard and Imperial Highway.

Uniformed police Explorers can also be seen in front of larger stores like Walmart and Lowe’s, passing out brochures about the new campaign. The brochures define vehicle burglaries, describe what items are most commonly stolen and detail preventative steps people can take to avoid becoming victims (such as hiding items in the trunk of a car).

According to Jeff Kepley, a La Habra police captain, the crime-suppression campaign was launched due to the results of a three-year crime data report that revealed high activities of vehicle crime in retail areas around Beach Boulevard and Imperial Highway during the holiday season.

Approximately 90 percent of the total crime that occurs in La Habra is linked to property crime, according to the police department. Of those property crimes, 31 percent involve vehicles, and 45 percent occurred due to unlocked vehicles, as stated in a LHPD press release.

Kepley said that if items are visible in a car, there is a very high chance that those items will be stolen.

“During the holiday season, crime upticks a little bit in your commercial areas,” Kepley said. “People leave valuables in their cars and burglars take advantage of that since it is a credible opportunity.”

Items like shopping bags, GPS devices, phones left on center consoles and CDs are some of the most common items to be taken from a vehicle. Kepley explained that suspects often use a variety of items like crowbars, window smashers and sophisticated lock-disabling tools to break into cars, steal things and then often sell the items for drug money.

Once the holiday season is over, the LHPD plans on moving the campaign to surrounding La Habra neighborhoods by passing out informational brochures and placing bike officers in densely populated residential areas.

“When it gets more towards summer, and we begin looking at graffiti and gang type of crime,” Kepley said. “We will shift our focus on these different crimes.”

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Legion honors first responders

Posted on 08 March 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal
Two of La Habra’s finest were recognized by the American Legion last week where the members honored the policeman and fireman of the year.

La Habra Police Officer David Morrison and Los Angeles County Fireman/Paramedic Eduardo Rodriguez were presented with plaques at the 48th annual Police and Fire Luncheon.

Morrison, who started with the LHPD in 2008 after a career running his own printing company, was recognized for his outstanding efforts as a School Resource Officer servicing Washington and Imperial Middle Schools.

“David has really taken ownership of his schools and he takes pride in being their SRO,” said Interim Police Chief Jerry Price. “He has built positive relationships with the administrators, teachers. parents and of course the students on both campuses.”

Rodriguez, a 24 year veteran of the LA County Fire Department, became a paramedic for the department in 1990. Rodriguez works with at-risk kids as a part of the Rescue Youth program. He also works as a Paramedic Preceptor, helping other firefighters become competent paramedics through proper training.

One of the highlights of Rodriguez’ career was responding to the Sunset incident on May 6, 2012. He, along with other firefighters, was able to affect the rescue of three victims from the third floor of a burning motel.

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4-legged LHPD officer retires

Posted on 10 February 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Sarah Negrete
La Habra Journal

A Dog’s life—LHPD Corporal Kyle Davis, and Interim-Police Chief Jerry Price recognize service dog Astor at his retirement ceremony at City Hall last month.

A Dog’s life—LHPD Corporal Kyle Davis, and Interim-Police Chief Jerry Price recognize service dog Astor at his retirement ceremony at City Hall last month.

Dogs have always been considered by many as great companions to man, and are highly appreciated by those who work with them each day, including the disabled, the elderly, children and even the criminal justice system. For the La Habra Police Department, they are proud to have had a long and accomplished partnership with their service dog, named Astor. After such a busy career with LHPD, service dog Astor is ready to retire and enjoy the rest of his years with his handler Corporal Kyle Davis.

The 8-year-old Belgian Malinois was originally from Holland, and was brought to La Habra in the fall of 2007 to work with the police department, and has been an asset to the department ever since. At that time, Astor was both trained and partnered with Corporal Kyle Davis of La Habra. “I work very hard in the job that I do, and he followed suit. I cannot think of any time where we went to deploy out in the field, to where I had to worry about the effort he was going to put in,” said Corporal Kyle Davis.

Astor was cross trained to search narcotics as well as people and articles, which explains why he had a very busy and successful career with the LHPD. During many LHPD’s efforts to search for suspects, narcotics and other important articles, Astor was brought along on trips and was released about 258 times. The canine was successful in almost every instance in assisting the police department into the right direction of the suspects, and apprehended 59 suspects. Out of the 59 suspects, one suspect was actually bitten by Astor for not surrendering.

Throughout his career, Astor was also accomplished in finding over 70 pounds of narcotics on the streets of La Habra and the neighboring area. All together, he found about 1,118 grams of methamphetamine, 112 grams of cocaine, 31,526 grams of marijuana and 42 grams of heroin. In addition to the narcotics located by Astor, he has also seized over $182,000 of U.S. currency, as well as six handguns. Definitely a great contribution to LHPD’s efforts to making La Habra and the surrounding environment a safer and cleaner city.

“Astor was recently injured during training, and it was probably a totality of all the training these dogs endure, as well as deployments they engage in while in the field of Police work. Whether it is during training, or during a deployment, they are constantly running and jumping non-stop,” Davis said. Astor now cannot run as fast as he could when he was a younger dog, and it is appropriate for him to enjoy a well-earned retirement with his thankful handler.

“As far as my future plans with him, I really do not have any,” Davis said. “For right now, my plans are to just let him relax in his retirement.”

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LHPD headquarters is getting a makeover

Posted on 15 January 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Kelsey Smith
La Habra Journal
For the La Habra Police Department, a significant portion of the past year entailed negotiating with contractors, acquiring project approval, and organizing funding.

The past few months marked the beginning of a long-awaited process, as the police department is undergoing major renovation.

Jerry Price, acting police chief of the La Habra Police Department and a 21-year veteran of the department, is eagerly awaiting the renovations. Although Chief Price was a significant component in the push for the updates, he does not take full credit. Price recalls it being a tentative and hopeful plan since former La Habra Police Chief Dennis Kies.

Much of the renovation will be taking place in the locker rooms. Both the men and women locker rooms are undergoing thorough remodeling, including the installation of brand new lockers.

The bathroom renovations will also include improvements to ventilation, flooring, and lighting.

“It’s been a known fact that the lockers have been in disarray for a while now,” Price said. “It’s just been a matter of finding the funding and opportunity to finally get it done.”

Any veteran member of the police department, like Price, can testify that this quest for funding and opportunity have been a long-time coming. Originally constructed in 1962, the police department underwent its last remodeling project exactly 20 years ago, in 1992.
Though the lockers are the featured project of the renovations, there are several other aspects involved in the detailed process. At the front of the department there is a door that remains unused; the door will be taken out and changed into a window that will be visible when passing by the front of the building.

Additional planned maintenance includes new paint, carpet, and cabinetry work, all contributing factors to the new and improved overall look of the police station.

Other minor projects include work in the report writing room and the watch commander’s office.

“All the men and women are very much looking forward to the updates,” Price explained. “It’s going to be a great benefit, and it will be a much better reflection of the department.”

Price jokes that the remaining task will be to make sure his furniture still matches well with the new and improved look. He tentatively plans to begin replacing it piece by piece.

The highly anticipated renovations are expected to be completed in March or April of this year.

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LHPD, schools work for safety

Posted on 24 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The tragic events that took place last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut, have had some residents in the La Habra and La Habra Heights communities looking at the local school districts.

Since Friday there has been an increased presence in all of the local schools, according to Interim Police Chief Jerry Price.
Price added that the police department is there and doing everything it can to ensure safety.

“We have protocols in place and teachers have been trained in procedures,” said Susan Belenardo, superintendent of the La Habra City School District. “ We will do everything that we can to keep the children safe.”

The protocols on campuses call for visitors to check in at the office and have an identification badge or sticker displayed to show they have been cleared through the office.

“We work closely with the local law enforcement agencies and our teachers and staff members watch over their students throughout the school day,” explained Patricia Howell, superintendent of the Lowell Joint Union School District. “We encourage parents to continue to work with the school staff to ensure that we are maintaining the safest learning environment possible.”

For the police department, Price added that the officers continue to prepare for emergencies of all types. School emergencies continue to be one scenario that they train for.

“We have participated in training at schools a number of times,” Price said.

He added that one of the officers has already been working on and updating the department’s emergency response plan for all the schools in the area. This will help them better plan and prepare for any emergencies that might happen at the campuses.

He explained that the police department is ready to respond to any emergency when they are needed. He added that the SWAT team “is a great resources for us that can be activated at any time of the day or night.”

However, he said that a large part of the department’s efforts are focused on the prevention side of such emergencies.

There will continue to be an increased police presence around the schools and in the surrounding areas throughout the return from winter break. This is both an effort of prevention and reassurance.

Price explained that “the police department is looking at its part and the schools are looking at their part, and we are all doing the best job that we can.”

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LHPD serves more than fries for charity

Posted on 27 October 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Christopher Park
La Habra Journal

La Habra police personnel helped Red Robin customers with their orders last Saturday for the Tip-a-Cop event, accepting tips and donations that go directly to help fund the OC Special Olympics.

Civilian employees, sworn officers and even the athletes took part in the event, going from table to table, taking a few orders from customers while informing them of the cause for the event.

“Every time I’ve participated, it’s been very well-received and a lot of fun.” said Cindy Knapp, Bureau Manager.
The Tip-a-Cop event is something that has been ongoing with several restaurants and this marks the first time that the event has been affiliated with Red Robin, Knapp said.

The athletes joining the event were gold medalists and have won plenty more. Athlete attendees included Robert Valsquez, Leighann Manzo and Keith Jaramillo, all of whom have swam for the OC Sharks and have won dozens upon dozens of other medals.

“They’ve got a lot.” said Christian Valdez, one of the caretakers at the event. Valdez ballparked the number of the medal count at around the high 30s or low 40s.

“They’ve been doing this for many years, so they get a lot.” he added.

The event also offered a unique opportunity for the police and the public to interact with each other in a more casual relaxed setting, allowing for a greater understanding between both parties.

“You’re just trying to personalize it,” said Jerry Price, La Habra’s Acting Chief of Police “Have a personal conversation and hopefully develop a rapport so it goes towards our community and policing philosophy of building those relationships within the community.”

Customers unaware of the event were taken by slight surprise as officers approached their tables, but once the confusion settled, customers were receptive to the event.

“Having an officer approach your table while you’re eating makes them a little taken aback at first, but as soon as they understand they have good time and I think they like telling us to go get their drinks,” said Michael Constanzo, Detective “It’s a little bit of a change for them.”

“I was in the Junior Olympics when growing up,” said Alfonzo Abayon, a customer and donor on Saturday. “For underprivileged kids I think it’s a good idea to try to make their quality of life a little bit better.”

Donations will be used to offset the costs in athlete participation, including covering the costs of uniforms, supplies and transportation when athletes are sent to regional events. It’s also used to cover the separate dorms for the athletes, much like the Olympic Villages acting as a space for Olympians when participating every four years.

The Tip-a-Cop event has been going for 26 years, raising as much as $500,000 in Southern California alone. This is the first time for Tip-a-Cop to be affiliated with Red Robins and the goal is to raise $1 million across the 400 Red Robins nationwide.

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