New Interim Police Chief Will Tell City Committee Use of Force Incidents This Year Have Fallen by Half

Published : Monday, May 14, 2018 | 5:28 AM

Interim Pasadena Police Chief John Perez is expected to tell the City’s Public Safety Committee this week that police use of force incidents have dropped 52 percent so far this year.

Perez is scheduled to deliver his second Police Chief’s Monthly Report Wednesday to the Committee, a new briefing procedure he implemented when he assumed office last month.

The report highlights an overview of developments involving the Pasadena Police Department, both internal and external, and includes key indicators of crime levels, use-of-force incidents, and citizen complaints against policer.

Perez is set to tell the Committee that use-of-force incidents have dropped by half in 2018 – from 23 in 2017 to 11 this year – while complaints against the Pasadena police have fallen 80 percent from the same period last year – from 15 to 3.

Chief Perez will also report a 15 percent reduction in reported crimes in the City, highlighted by a 47 percent drop in robberies, a 37 percent decline in burglaries and 27 percent fewer assaults.

Perez will also announce that all Pasadena police officers went through additional use-of-force training in April and May. Officers take part in the training to advance their skills sets on when to use deadly force through real-life scenarios requiring the use of communication and de-escalation skills.

Perez also will report that additional training sessions in April and May were held to improve police-community relations.

In a preliminary report, he said the Department has “expanded its commitment to 21st century policing principles” and held 10 sessions of principled policing courses, with 300 employees attending the training. The course is designed for officers to better understand the need to improve community relationships, enhance communication, and better understand implicit bias challenges.”

Perez will also review community outreach efforts the police department has done over the past month.

Among the highlights he likely will mention are the Community Police Academy (CPA) which held its 46th graduation on April 12, with 50 graduates, and a new session of the Police Academy en Español which started on May 3 with 49 students.

The CPA is an informative, eight-week classroom series that gives citizens an inside look at Pasadena Police operations while discussing the principles of community policing. Students go to a class at least one night a week, in a friendly and casual environment, to learn about police communications, criminal law and procedures, street crime enforcement and investigations, field identification, weaponless defense training, and youth programs.

On April 18, the police department gave its annual appreciation dinner for volunteers, who provided over 9,000 hours of invaluable support to the department in 2017. On April 21, 30 local children and their parents started a new session of the Pasadena Kids Safety Academy, a five-week program that includes trips to the local library, internet safety sessions and many other safety presentations; the program ends with their graduation on Saturday, May 19.

Last Saturday, May 12, the Pasadena Police Department was scheduled to hold its second annual open house but decided to postpone the event due to heavy rains. It will announce a new date shortly.

On Thursday, May 17, the City will host the 2018 Pasadena Police and Fire Memorial in front of Pasadena City Hall, in honor of 135 police officers and 93 firefighters throughout the country who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2017.

Perez said the police department also held and attended several meetings with community members which discussed community concerns, local nuisance issues, and common crime problems. He said the department has also restarted the use of bicycle patrols in Pasadena neighborhoods and local parks to increase police visibility and safety.

“On April 19th, the City Manager and I attended an engagement at All Saints Church with many community members representing several local organizations to discuss police and community-related concerns,” Perez said in the preliminary report. “Future efforts are underway to host dialogue sessions between youth and the police as well as expand community engagement, police visibility, and prevention efforts.”

Wednesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Council Chambers Room S249 at City Hall.

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