Police Chief Reports Lower Crime, Use of Force and Citizen Complaints Numbers in Continuing Trend

Public Safety Committee laments rise in bridge suicide leaps; Mayor may ask for barrier reinforcement

Published : Thursday, July 19, 2018 | 5:45 AM

Pasadena Interim Chief of Police John Perez, at center, during the July 18, 2018 Public Safety Committee meeting.

Interim Police Chief John Perez reported new lower numbers to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee Wednesday, piling onto a trend that he said has seen an eight percent decrease in total crime for the year to date and a 21 percent decline since 2015.

Chief Perez told the Committee that the year has seen a 40 percent decline in robberies, a 13 percent reduction in assaults, and a 35 percent reduction in residential burglaries. Perez also noted a 28 percent drop in commercial burglaries, but an increase in general theft with 80 more this year than last year.

Mayor Terry Tornek and Interim Police Chief John Perez, at left, with Commander Cheryl Moody (center front) and a number of other Pasadena police officers at the Public Safety Committee meeting on July 18, 2018.

Perez also cited a reduction in Police Use of Force Incidents, with 14 this year as compared to 26 at this time last year. He reported that there have been two Use of Force incidents since the previous Public Safety meeting in June,

Along with fewer Use of Force incidents, the number of citizen complaints about the police force has also dropped, he said, compared to last year, from 19 at this time last year to six this year.

The Chief announced that the Police Department will begin developing a protocol to begin releasing body worn camera footage “after critical events.”

Perez added that “the department will be focusing our community effort to educate the public on policing issues through a series of interactive sessions with the local media referred to as “Policing 101.” Topics would include “History of a Crime Gun,” as well as prevention, intervention and engagement issues.

Chief Perez commented on the rapidly rising number of suicide attempts on the Colorado Street Bridge, with one on Wednesday just hours before the Committee meeting and a total of three in the last week. The tally included two jumps in one day.

“This is so frustrating for us,” Perez told City Manager Steve Mermell, who talked about the possibility of reinforcing the temporary barriers that are now in place.

‘We need a more permanent solution,” said Mermell.

As Committee member Mayor Terry Tornek pointed out, however, there are many places where the bridge can still be climbed on to, in order to jump from.

“It’s alarming and terrible,” Tornek said, noting that he would ask Public Works Department Manager Ara Maloyan to reinforce the existing temporary barriers on the structure.

“And the problem is, that the problem feeds on itself, ” said Tornek. “Each jump seems to inspire others. And nothing is 100% effective.”

Councilmember Steve Madison then raised the suggestion that the sidewalks on the historic bridge could simply be removed, leaving just a highway. Mayor Tornek responded that he sees numerous people walking on the bridge every day, and discouraged the idea.

City Manager Mermell also spoke to the importance of reinforcing the temporary barriers soon, saying that the City would be sending out design requests for new permanent barriers in the fall, but that actual construction of any new permanent barriers would not take place or be completed, until 2020.

In other news, Chief Perez also congratulated six new Pasadena Police officers on their promotions to lieutenant. The new lieutenants are Marcia Marcia Taglioretti, Kim Smith, Sean Dawkins, Brad May, Jon Buchholtz, and Chris Burnett. The Chief will also announce new corporal promotions in the coming weeks, he said.

 

Editor’s Note: This article originally reported there had been six suicide jumps from the Colorado Street Bridge in one week, from July 11 to 18, 2018. That was not correct. There were actually three suicide jumps in that period. We apologize for this error. The article has been corrected.

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