Eyeing Gilroy, Pasadena Police Chief Says Public Can Help Prevent Similar Violence

Published : Wednesday, July 31, 2019 | 5:52 AM

Pasadena Police Chief John Perez. Photo by James Carbone

[Updated]  Pasadena Police Chief John Perez on Tuesday reacted to the mass shooting in Gilroy, California with assurances his Department is “prepared, trained” but also stressed the vital role members of the public can play in preventing such tragedies.

“People who see something, they have to say something,” Perez said.

The Chief said preventing local violence (“whether we’re talking about a report of active shooters or any increase in gang violence”) can only be accomplished with the help of the residents who live here.

“If somebody sees something that shows a threat, they should bring it to our attention. Then we have to make that assessment to see if there’s follow up that needs to be done right away or not,” Perez said.

He pointed to the recent arrest of a person with illegal guns reported by a worried City employee.

That heightened public awareness also applies online.

“I believe it’s the right step,” Perez said, to report an unusual social media post which may indicate a person is planning an act of violence.

“If somebody’s shooting at us or we need to engage someone, it goes a lot further than that,” Perez said. “It’s a full, holistic type of approach to the violence in our community.”

Perez said the Department must continuously earn the community’s trust and that the dynamics of “see something, say something” are based on positive relationships between the police and the community.

But Pasadena police don’t skimp on training or equipment to respond when violence does flare up.

Pasadena is host to dozens of large public events every year, including the Rose Parade, and has well-developed Counterterrorism units and relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement partners.

The Department conducted an elaborate, multi-agency active shooting exercise at the Rose Bowl as recently as May.

Over 100 members from the police and fire departments of Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, and San Marino played roles in the simulated attack involving multiple shooters targeting patrons arriving at a hypothetical rock concert.

Dozens of volunteers filled-in “the crowd,” 35 of whom were made up to have serious injuries that paramedics were directed to treat first. The remainder ran through a concourse to escape the mock massacre. Some 60 Rose Bowl staff members also took part.

But the real novelty that day was the trial run for a special rescue task force of emergency medical responders, protected by law enforcement, tasked with going into the scene to treat victims under battefield conditions before the mayhem has been resolved.

Perez said the Department is ready to respond to a Gilroy-type attack.

“We have boots on the ground and police officers tactically trained to respond and engage in any type of violence,” he said.

“We do our job, our profession, we do it the way we’re supposed to do it, with the care of the community in mind,” he said.

“But we need that community to work with us. They have to be well trained as well, to look around to see something that’s unusual at these special events, to make sure that we were made aware of it. As much as we’re prepared as a police department, we’re only as prepared as well as our community. We want them to be part of our solutions as well.”


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