Police Chief Sanchez Responds to Northwest Commission Inquiry

Commission asks for details regarding arrests, officer training and racial profiling policy

Published : Tuesday, February 13, 2018 | 6:43 AM

Police Chief Sanchez Responds to Northwest Commission Inquiry

The City of Pasadena’s Northwest Commission today will review a lengthy response by Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez to questions the Commission put to him and his department in a wide-ranging January 9 request for information.

The Commission’s inquiry to the Chief comes at a time when some in the Northwest Pasadena community have levelled criticism at Pasadena police for what they believe is racial profiling by its officers, and, in the wake one highly publicized incident, police misconduct and brutality.

Sanchez was asked to detail the gender and racial statistics of people arrested in Northwest Pasadena.

Of the 1,029 males arrested in Northwest Pasadena in 2016, 340 were African-American, 606 were Hispanic, 27 were “other,” and 56 were white. Meanwhile, 198 of the arrestees in 2016 were female, of which 82 of those were African-American, 100 were Hispanic, and 13 were white, according to Sanchez.

In 2017, of the 278 arrests of females in Northwest Pasadena, his report continued, 124 of those arrests were African-American, 118 were Hispanic, seven were “other” and 29 arrestees were white. Of the 1170 males arrested in 2017, 430 were African-American, 640 were Hispanic, and 78 were white.

In his email response to the Commission, Chief Sanchez noted that “the Pasadena Police Department divides the City into multiple service areas. Calls for service are recorded by service area. There is no distinction made between the manner of policing in any portion of the City.

“We police the community equally, with honor, dignity, and respect,” continued Chief Sanchez, “following the tenets of the Pasadena Way, the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, California law and the United States Constitution.”

According to Sanchez’s responses to the Commission, Pasadena officers are highly trained, with entry-level Pasadena police officers attending the Orange County Sheriff’s academy for 6 months. Upon completion, they then go through another six months of Field Training Officer Program (FTOP) at the police department.

Sanchez wrote, “Lateral police officers already have the basic academy experience and typically advanced officer training. California Peace officers are required to attend, at a minimum, 24 hours of Police Officer Standards Training (POST) training every two years.

The Chief also provided a link to the details of Pasadena officer training, at https://post.ca.go v/legislatively-mandated.aspx.

In addition to the field training, said Sanchez, psychological training is required by The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) for all Pasadena Police officers.

Wrote Sanchez, “The evaluation is conducted by a psychologist that meets the statutory education and experience requirements and be familiar with relevant research literature and state and federal law. The psychological examination is to determine whether a police officer candidate is psychologically capable of exercising the powers of a peace officer and withstanding the psychological demands of the position.”

The Commission also asked Sanchez whether the Department tracked the impact of training with arrests by officers who were hired prior to any amendments to the department’s training practices, in comparison to arrests by officers who were hired and trained with the amended training program.

Responded Sanchez, “The Pasadena Police Department follows the guideline provided by POST to ensure that State mandates are met with the hiring of police officers. The Department has a robust training matrix to ensure policy and procedure guidelines are understood and adhered to by all employees. Training is ongoing at every level of the organization to ensure POST mandates are being met.”

Asked to provide data on the use of force for incidents in the Northwest for the last five years, Chief Sanchez reported that, “The Department reports to the Public Safety Committee twice per year on use of force incidents as well as internal affairs complaints, which are posted on the Police Department’s website at https://ww5.cityofpasadena.net/police/.

According to a Use of Force presentation by Sanchez to the Public Safety Committee last week, Pasadena police were involved in 44 force incidents in 2017, compared to 36 in 2015, and 45 in 2016.

The 2017 incidents involved 60 department employees and 66 applications of force. Breaking the incidents down, Sanchez reported that there were 35 strikes against a suspect, 13 taser uses, one use of OC pepper spray, 11 uses of a baton, 2 uses of a handgun, and one carotid hold.

Between 2010 and 2017, Sanchez’ report noted that uses of force varied between a low of .15% of all arrests in 2015, and a high of .78% of all arrests in 2011.

As part of his report to the Public Safety Committee, which he also presented to the Commission, the Department’s 2017 Discipline Overview said the department had investigated 13 internal complaints against its officers, meaning those filed as administrative or internal review actions, and 15 external complaints from civilians.

The Department also tracked 16 collisions, in which officers driving police vehicles caused property damage or personal injury in the course of performing law enforcement duties.

The total number of administrative investigations for 2017 is 44. (The department recorded 48 investigations in 2016 and 54 in 2015.) Twenty-five of the 2017 cases are still active or are still being investigated, and one case from 2016 still remains active, according to the report.

In addition to the arrest breakdowns, training, use of force and discipline, Sanchez also provided to the commission “a list of efforts, initiatives and activities routinely undertaken by the Pasadena Police Department to engage with the community it serves.”

The list of nearly 50 programs included Neighborhood Watch, Business Watch, Curbside Coffee & Chat, Residential Safety Checks, Conflict Mediation, the Police Athletic League, the Police Explorer program, Parks after Dark, and National Night Out, along with social media., using Nixie, Twitter, Facebook, lnstagram, and Nextdoor.com.

Sanchez also quoted the Pasadena Police Department policy on biased-based profiling, saying, “(The department) is committed to providing law enforcement services to the community with due regard for the racial, cultural or other differences of those served. It is the policy of this department to provide law enforcement services and to enforce the law equally, fairly and without discrimination toward any individual or group.

“Race, ethnicity or nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, economic status, age, cultural group, disability or affiliation with any other similar identifiable group,” the report continued, “shall not be used as the basis for providing differing levels of law enforcement service or the enforcement of the law.”

According to Pasadena Police policy section 204, “Racial- or bias-based profiling is strictly prohibited. However, nothing in this policy is intended to prohibit an officer from considering factors such as race or ethnicity in combination with other legitimate factors to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

“To the extent that written documentation would otherwise be completed (e.g., arrest report, Field Interview (FI) card),” the policy continued, “the involved officer should include those facts giving rise to the officer’s reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the detention, as applicable. Nothing in this policy shall require any officer to document a contact that would not otherwise require reporting.”

According to the California Penal Code, “Each sworn member of (this) department who received initial racial- or bias-based profiling training will thereafter be required to complete an approved refresher course every five years, or sooner if deemed necessary, in order to keep current with changing racial, identity and cultural trends.

In addition, the Penal Code states that, “The Professional Standards Unit Lieutenant or his/her designee and the Records Administrator shall ensure that all data required by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding citizen complaints of racial bias against officers is collected and reported annually to the DOJ.”

The Northwest Commission meets today at 6:30 p.m. at the Jackie Robinson Center at 1020 North Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena.

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