Police Chief Reports Continuing Reduction in Major Crimes

Police use-of-force incidents are also down, Chief Perez tells Public Safety Committee; notes Department officer vacancies

Published : Thursday, September 19, 2019 | 4:47 AM

The number of major crimes committed in Pasadena is down three percent since 2018, and 10 percent overall since 2016, Pasadena Police Chief John Perez told the City’s Public Safety Committee Wednesday.

Most other crime categories saw double digit reductions, except for residential burglaries, domestic violence, and thefts, the Chief reported, adding, “Crime prevention is our number one priority.”

“We’re trying to be a model police force not only for Pasadena, but for the nation,” the Chief said.

Perez updated the Committee on a range of police topics during the Committee’s meeting.

He said that the number of “use of force incidents” by the Pasadena Police Department are also down since 2017. Those incidents have dropped significantly over the past year.

Commenting on staffing, Perez reported there are currently four police officer vacancies in the department but said three recruits are currently enrolled in police academies, with three additional recruits starting in November.

Overall, there are 10 recent promotions at all ranks, in the department, he said.

Noting however, the loss of senior officers to other cities, Chief Perez said, “Other cities keep taking them, because they are so well-trained.”

Perez also detailed the Department’s reorganization and restructuring, currently in progress, and due to be fully implemented by the end of the year.

The redistribution of resources and personnel will begin as office space and needed equipment is organized appropriately, Perez reported.

“The organizational structure,” said Perez, “is specifically based on the society challenges that all communities are struggling with, to include firearm violence, the impact of growing homeless populations, traffic volumes, and quality of life in neighborhoods and business districts.”

The reorganization of the Department, said the report, will include remapping of police beats based on calls for service and specific community challenges and crime trends.

The remapping of beats may not be possible with the Department’s current aging computer-aided dispatch and records management systems, the Chief said, but acknowledged in his report that “The new policing model will return the PPD to traditional policing strategies, focused on developing long-term solutions for chronic quality of life issues and crime-trends.”

According to a draft reorganization plan shared by the Chief with Pasadena Now recently, much of the time-consuming paperwork and incident data followup will be accomplished by the office of the Executive Administrator. This office would handle Records, the Jail and Property section, and Communication, freeing up officers for work in the field.

Out in the field, three separate commanders will handle Patrol, Special Operations and Criminal Investigations. The Patrol Division Commander would supervise four area lieutenants, who would handle Field Training, Canine, and the Reserve program.

The Special Operations commander, a new position, would be responsible for supervising three lieutenants handling Air Operations, Traffic and Special Event Planning.

The Criminal Investigations Commander will handle the Violent Crimes, Major Crimes, Neighborhood Action, and Special Investigations Sections.

Perez emphasized that patrol officers in the field would now handle only patrols, as opposed to other duties.

Perez also reported that the Homeless Project Committee has focused efforts over the past month in the area of the Allen Avenue Metro train station and nearby neighborhoods. The outcome provided insight as well as the continual challenges and brings outreach to those in need.

“The activity by City and community organizations such as PORT, HOPE, and Union Station and others has been positive; however, very challenging,” the Chief noted in his report to the Committee.

Perez also reported that one of the City’s three murders took place in Community Arms, among young adults.

All three suspects responsible for the murder were arrested and the task required a continual weeklong effort by the Robbery/Homicide Unit and Special Enforcement Section, in identifying and arresting all the suspects and seizing firearms, said Perez.

The investigation required Pasadena police personnel to travel outside of California to locate and arrest the suspects, Perez reported.