The Pasadena Police Officers Association released a statement Friday expressing condolences to the family of George Floyd and their “strong condemnation” of how Floyd was killed while in police custody.
The statement said “the PPOA is grateful and thankful to all in the Pasadena community for their outpouring of continued support and for the mostly peaceful, non-violent demonstrations. The Pasadena Police Officers Association have worked hard for over seven years to enhance community and race relations in addition to much more.”
The statement also contained comments from key Association officials.
“The PPOA has worked collaboratively with the City Staff, Police Department, City leaders and others to do our part: time and time again whether it was to play a role reorganizing the department or continue to train our Police Officers to lead as the best in L.A. County, our State and Country we are working constantly on positive improvements and change,” said Roger Roldan, President of the Pasadena Police Officers Association.
“From focusing on de-escalation, looking for alternatives to reduce the use of deadly force, increasing verbal and interpersonal skills, developing or using methods to be able to, at times, use non-lethal techniques or de-escalation when encountering weapons and dangerous calls for service: by employing wrestling and ground techniques – Pasadena Police lead with that and more,” said Roldan, described by the PPOA as “a decorated Sergeant with 23 years of service as a police officer with the Pasadena Police Department and a proud, honorably discharged Marine Corps Veteran (1989 to 1993) of Latino descent.”
“We are not Minneapolis and proud of the work we do day in and day out to support our community and all who live, work and visit here” said David Llanes, a decorated 27-year police veteran, 24 years with the Pasadena Police Department, “who is a proud Officer of Asian Pacific Islander (API) descent.”
“The Pasadena Police strongly support the community, their elected leaders and the excellent working relationship we have with Chief of Police John Perez and City Manager Steve Mermell” said Sam De Sylva, a decorated Police Sergeant 19 years of career service with the department, who is a proud Sri Lankan member of the Indian American Community.
“We are a highly diverse, motivated, well trained and supported police association and force with overall (sworn and non-sworn) 30.73% females, 43.94% Hispanic, 12.13% African American, 8.36% Asian and more” said De Sylva.
“The public needs to know we are imperfect humans and have to make split-second decisions. Sometimes errors occur, but that is different than willful misconduct or actions that are illegal, immoral, violate department policy or go against our training and sworn oath to protect and serve,” said Llanes.
“The strong and immense bond peace officers/first-responders have with each other as do other close-quarter working professions goes both ways,” said Maclaurin “Mac” Adesina, a decorated Corporal with 21 years in law enforcement, 15 years with the Pasadena Police Department and proud member of the African-American community. “Our strong desire to do a superlative job on duty — then safely, healthy each day with minimal physical and mental injuries go home to our loving families is also balanced with the fact we just don’t stick up for other peace officers during life-threatening calls for service [with people who knowingly or unknowingly want to harm the public and/or us]: we expect each and every one of our brother and sister Peace Officers to do it better and cleaner than any other profession or department. When one does it wrong or poorly we all look bad. We believe in accountability both ways and expect leaders to lead” further said Adesina.
The statement also included a review with commentary of some highlights of “efforts the Chief, City Manager, PPOA and department put forth:
• From the Chief’s Advisory Board (made up of many community advocates, ACLU, Churches, and NAACP);
• The PPOA feeding the community through local charities and volunteering with Harvest Ministries to deliver hot meals to our seniors, during the pandemic.
• Engaging and supporting community leaders.
• Releasing critical incident BWC video.
• The PPOA Law Enforcement Consultant Peter Mitchell and Performa Labs (a Cie company) launched a pilot program with the PPOA and PPD: to lend real-world expertise in creating a technology-based training tool focused on de-escalation, keeping in mind the safety of the Community and Officers as the highest priorities.
• Internal training, de-escalation.
• Community engagement beyond most other police agencies
• Constantly exceeding state law and most police departments’ training curriculum and expectations.
• Using daily de-escalation efforts at a time when a large number of weapons are being taken off the streets. As an example, more guns were taken off the streets during a certain month than days in the month —however, that doesn’t exclude us from being accountable for our actions and our policing culture.
• Having internal discussion, ongoing training, and teaching our sworn officers the value of respect through de-escalation so we are achieving much, but that is never enough — officers are taught in the department to intervene to stop bad conduct and to report it. We have more to do, more to accomplish.
• The department mindset must be in line with the community so our goals on crime, safety, and the fear of crime, are the same and not opposite. The outcome has been positive with a 50% decline in use of force, increase in implicit bias and communication training, and a 70% drop in the use of a certain type of force techniques. This is not enough but we are continuing our efforts.
• Having a BWC video program for three years and we regularly release video as well as use it to train all personnel for review. We provide implicit bias training and closely screen our recruits as well as try and ensure they come from our local neighborhoods.”
“During these incredible troubling and dangerous times we wanted to let you the public know what we thought of the tragedy of Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis plus lending our voice to what we have done for the past, current and future improvements in Pasadena,” said Roldan.
“We stand strongly by our excellent working relationship and valued city leaders such as the City Manager Steve Mermell, Chief of Police John Perez, some other City Employees and our City Council. We have a world-class City Council with thanks to all of them for their service.”
The remarks closed with “special thanks for years working with our leaders: Victor Gordo, Gene Masuda, Steve Madison, Andy Wilson. Also on the Public Safety Committee with thanks to John Kennedy, Tyron Hampton and Terry Tornek. To incoming Councilmember Felicia Williams. Sending thanks to retiring Councilmember Margaret McAustin for her service.”