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Police Chief Harris Highlights Modernization, Diversification, Responding to Community Needs in Year-End Review

Published on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 | 5:29 am

Pasadena Police Chief Eugene Harris delivered a wide-ranging ‘Year in Review 2023’ to the City Council on Monday, addressing his first year at the helm of the department. He emphasized modernization, diversification, and responding to community needs as key objectives. 

Chief Harris began by acknowledging the transitional challenges faced due to the retirement of former Chief John Perez and the interim leadership in 2022. He then highlighted the structural changes implemented in the department, including reorganizations and ‘Block Walks.’

In 2022, there were 106,420 Computer-assisted Dispatches (CAD) or service calls, with 61,096 initiated by citizen calls. In 2023, the numbers slightly increased to 108,788, with 66,014 initiated by citizens. The inaugural year of ‘Block Walks’ resulted in 5,138 walks and 25,033 contacts.

Pasadena Police Air Operations responded to 8,816 calls, amounting to 2,217 hours of flight time. The helicopter was first on scene 18% of the time and cleared 11% of these calls without the need for ground officer response, resulting in 188 arrests.

Notably, there were 61 gunpoint detentions without reports or incidents and 158 documented gunpoint detentions. Harris also reported 730 de-escalation events and emphasized the absence of Traffic Stops Resulting in Use of Force in 2023.

Pasadena Police conducted 14,692 traffic stops in 2023. Breakdown by ethnicity showed 35% Hispanics, 31% Whites, 17% Blacks, 12% Asians, and smaller percentages for Middle Eastern, Multi-Racial, Pacific Islander, and Native American individuals. Response times to received dispatches improved slightly, from 6:39 to 6:23.

The city witnessed seven homicides in both 2022 and 2023. There was an increase in rape cases (22 in 2022 to 34 in 2023), robberies (117 in 2022 to 167 in 2023), aggravated assaults (360 in 2022 to 487 in 2023), simple assaults (551 in 2022 to 678 in 2023), and larceny cases (2,183 in 2022 to 2,582 in 2023). Burglaries remained nearly constant, with 548 in 2022 and 551 in 2023.

Pasadena experienced 61 organized retail theft cases with a total loss exceeding $165,000, resulting in 24 arrests. There were 58 shootings, resulting in six deaths related to homicides.

Harris underscored the absence of officer-involved shootings and stressed the importance of detailed tracking of such data. There were 19 Use of Force incidents, compared to 22 in 2022, involving a diverse group of suspects.

The department reported 26 new hires, including nine females and 17 males. All new officers were male. Chief Harris reflected on the crime numbers, noting that while they were higher than the previous years, they did not significantly exceed historical norms. He also pointed to legislative changes impacting the crime landscape, specifically mentioning Propositions 47 and 57, along with Assembly Bill 109.

Chief Harris concluded with a commitment to continued improvement, highlighting what he characterized as the promising start indicated by the absence of fatal DUI-related incidents and the department’s proactive community engagement.

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