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Weekly Message from Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip L. Sanchez

Published on Sunday, September 30, 2012 | 10:54 am

The following is excerpted from “Touching Base: A Message From the Chief,” by Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip L. Sanchez, as he reviews recent community involvement and actions by officers and employees of the Pasadena Police Dept. It was published September 30, 2012.

Community Involvement:
On September 9, Pasadena Police Lieutenant Tracey Ibarra and Sergeant Jesse Carrillo attended the Zonta Club of Pasadena (an international women’s organization) end of summer BBQ. The event was well attended and promoted positive interaction between Tracey, Jesse, and the Zonta Club of Pasadena members. Zonta Club of Pasadena member Carol Numrich coordinated Tracey and Jesse’s participation.

On September 18, Commander Chris Russ and Lieutenant Pete Hettema attended a 710 Freeway Informational Forum, which was held at the Pasadena Convention Center. The forum was hosted by Councilman Steve Madison and featured a panel of subject matter experts who discussed issues associated with the 710 freeway proposal. The forum was very interactive and well attended (about 300 people). VIPs included Mayor Bill Bogaard, Councilman Terry Tornek, and City Manager Michael Beck.

On September 21, Pasadena Police Department members Commander Chris Russ, Forensic Section Administrator Gena Persons, and Communications Supervisor Kathy Russ attended the Golden Plate Awards, hosted by the Foothill Unity Center at the Pasadena Convention Center. Monrovia Mayor Mary Lutz, and KABC-7 Eye Witness News Sports Anchor, Rob Fukuzaki, served as the Masters of Ceremony for the well-attended event. This year’s honorees were Joan Whitenack and Ray Wheeler, Humanitarians of the Decade Awards; Lorraine Bernstein, Heart in Hand Humanitarian Award; Wells Fargo, Neighbors Helping Neighbors Corporate Award, and Gary Harrigaian and Bruce Laughton, Neighbors Helping Neighbors Advocate Awards. Foothill Unity Center is a multi-faceted resource center assisting local families with food, crisis assistance, and health care. Services are free to their clients. In 2011, they served 4,320 families. For more information, visit their website at Foothill Unity Center offices are located in Monrovia, at 415 West Chestnut Avenue, and in Pasadena, at 191 North Oak Avenue.

On September 22, Lieutenant Cheryl Moody, Sergeant Christopher Kirby, and Special Enforcement Section (SES) Officers Tai Wotherspoon and Jacob Carey, attend the Washington Square Neighborhood Annual Block Party, hosted by Councilman Victory Gordo and the Washington Square Neighborhood Association. Neighbors gathered and socialized with the officers who patrol the neighborhood.

On September 22, The North Arroyo Neighborhood Association hosted a Curbside Coffee & Chat. Sergeant Ed Calatayud and CAPPs Volunteer Oren Gray attended the meeting. After a brief neighborhood safety chat, Oren provided the residents with an overview of the extra services volunteers perform to bring safety to the neighborhoods. Oren also provided a brief orientation about the Citizen Police Academy (CPA) program and the benefits of participation.

On September 26, I meet with Southern California Leadership Network (SCLN) about their programs and marketing strategies. Brian Williams is the SCLN Executive Director.

On September 27, Commander Chris Russ attended the American Red Cross Fundraiser Dinner. Guests attending the fundraiser had the opportunity to tour the Red Cross facility, bid on auction items, and listen to the keynote speech by Dr. Randii Wessen, who is a Senior Member of the JPL Innovation Foundry. Dr. Wessen talked about the Mars Curiosity Rover mission.

On September 27, I attended the Pasadena Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy (CPA) to lecture on the use of force. Program participants spent a full day at the Pasadena Police Range where they experienced firearms training, use of the Force Simulator, and listened to several lectures on force as part of the citizen’s academy. The following PPD officers and employees helped with the range day: CSOs Arlene Ramos and Laura Morris, Officer Patrick Polimeni (primary course facilitator), Corporal Alonzo Wilkins, Range Master Don Amerman, Officers Anthony Russo, Sean Dawkins, Sahak Nersesyan, Louis Luevano, and Pasadena Police Volunteers John Kendall, Ledo Cheung, Sergio Fajardo-Acosta, Julie Selders, and Harry Kazarian.

On September 28, Deputy Chief Darryl Qualls, Commander Lisa Rosales, and I attended the State of the Schools Address, which was held at Blair Middle School. The event was very well attended by public and school officials, community leaders, parents, and City staff. Opening remarks were provided by Blair School Principal, Trudell Skinner. Blair ROTC posted the Colors, Ms. Benita Scheckel sang the National Anthem, and VIPs were introduced by Pasadena Educational Foundation Executive Director Patrick Conyers. Later, PUSD Superintendent John Gundry spoke on the 21st Century Learning model and shortly thereafter, PUSD Board of Education President Renatta Cooper provided the state of the schools address.

Pasadena’s Finest:
In July 2012, Pasadena Police Communication Dispatchers participated in “Pencils for Peru,” which is a program to support education. Police dispatcher Melody Cardenas and her family delivered the supplies in person. Our dispatchers aided in contributing over 100 pencils and markers to this worthy cause. The school supplies will help to enrich the lives of many Peruvian school-aged students.

On September 10, I received a letter from Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca, commending Pasadena Police Officers Cesar Aguilar, Christian Allen, Kimberly Baecker, Robert Christian, Robert Dubois, Michael Herrera, Ivis Moran, Charles Reep, Joel Tkach, and Sergeant Christopher Kirby for their dedication and unwavering support of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies assigned to the Altadena Station. The Altadena deputies responded to a large party (in excess of 100 people) and quickly needed support. They called PPD for assistance and our officers responded. Sheriff Baca wrote, “Their assistance proved invaluable in the overall positive outcome of the incident. No significant injuries occurred and the party ended by most patrons peacefully departing and the host and his family returning to their residences.”

On September 12, I received a copy of a letter commending Pasadena Police Specialists Laura Morris for her role in the department’s Citizen’s Police Academy. Among other duties, Laura is responsible for coordinating the Pasadena Police Department’s Citizen’s Academy. The author wrote, Thank you again for all that you did, both in front of and behind the scenes, to make our experience both educational and enjoyable. I’ve told many people about my experience of going through the CPA and will continue to recommend it to others…”

On September 16, I received an email from State Farm Insurance Consultant, Patricia Arrocha, commending the Pasadena Police Department Traffic Section for assisting with the National Celebrate My Drive Event. The program is a highly sophisticated virtual driving simulator which is used to educate participants about the hazards associated with driving while intoxicated. Patricia said in her email, “Your professionalism and leadership made this extraordinary event a great success.” The program was facilitated by Lieutenant Randell Taylor, Sergeant Vasken Gourdikian, and Officer Derek Locklin.

On September 17, I received an email from a Pasadena community member commending the Pasadena Police Traffic Section for their problem-solving initiative during a major event at the Rose Bowl. The author lives in close proximity to the Rose Bowl and was frustrated with the traffic associated with the event. The author wrote, “We love Pasadena and our cops are a big reason why. We feel much safer here than we did in Los Angeles and we know it is because of PPD.”

On September 18, I received a letter from International Association of Chiefs of Police Program Manager, Rosemary DelMenno, commending Pasadena Police Officer Nicole Bazzo for her participation in the pilot program, Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS). Nicole currently serves as the department’s Volunteer Coordinator, supervising about 190 police volunteers. Rosemary wrote, “It was great to have Nicole there – she is truly committed and we look forward to working with her on our National program.” The VIPS State Advocate Network was featured on the IACP blog. The following link will take you to an informative article:

On September 20, about 35 Chinese Citizens from the Guangdong Providence visited the Pasadena Police Department to hear lectures and see presentations on Emergency Management and Crowd Control. The group of visitors consisted of high-ranking officials including: their Mayor and Vice-Mayor, City Administrators, and Economic Leaders. The group had been in the United States for approximately two weeks as part of an educational exchange program facilitated by Stanford University. Commander Chris Russ, Sergeant Vasken Gourdikian, Sergeant Jason Clawson, and Pasadena Fire Department’s Emergency Manager, Lisa Derderian, were the primary presenters. The entire visit was coordinated by Pasadena Police Lieutenant Randell Taylor.

On September 20 and 21, the Pasadena Police Department’s Special Enforcement Section (SWAT) participated in the 20th Annual Best in The West SWAT Competition, which was hosted by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, in San Jose, CA. The 2012 competition showcased 29 SWAT teams from various agencies including San Jose PD, San Francisco PD, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department (last year’s winners) and many more. The Pasadena Police Department was the sole representative from Southern California this year. Las Vegas Metro SWAT was the sole out of state team.


The event spanned over 2 days and consisted of 7 events including the Physical Challenge, Jungle Trail (grueling 10-mile trail run involving steep terrain, numerous obstacles, and shooting stations), Two-Man Combat, Top Gun, Vehicle Assault, Team Assault, and Team Sniper. Pasadena PD was represented by Mike Gligorijevic (Team Leader), Jack Rappuchi, Chris Sharma, Dustin Gomez, Anthony Russo, and Sergeant Bobby Crees. Anthony McGlade served as the alternate. The team was commanded by Lieutenant John Dewar. Pasadena Police placed 3rd overall this year. Our placement was based on the team’s combined scores, which were awarded following each event. As part of the scoring, PPD SWAT secured 2nd Place in the Two-Man Combat. Las Vegas Metro placed 1st, while San Ramon PD landed in 2nd. The achievements of our SWAT Team underscore the skills, dedication, and passion possessed by each member. As you might suspect, these events are highly competitive and require exceptional individual tactical knowledge, firearms proficiency, and team work. The lessons learned at the Best of the West SWAT Competition have practical application in Pasadena by making our tactical operators safer and contemporary. Those lessons are often passed on to other enforcement sections at Advanced Officer Training (AOT) and Tactical training.
On September 26, I received a copy of an email sent by a community member commending Pasadena Police Officers Shannon Reece, Steven Rappuchi, Raquel Hammerstrom, Linda Mercado, and Corporal Alejandro Peinado for their professionalism at a recent homicide scene. The author of the email was at a local hospital awaiting treatment, when he observed the officers interacting with family members associated with the incident.

On September 24, I received an email from Toronto Police Sergeant Jose Camacho commending Lieutenant Bruce George, Sergeant Art Chute, Corporal Julie Finney, and Officer David Thomas (Event Planning Section) for their professionalism and leadership while facilitating a class on Event Planning. Among their many duties, the Pasadena Police Event Planning Section hosts a comprehensive event planning class about three times a year. The class is usually well attended and this session was no exception.

On September 27, I received a card from a community member commending Pasadena Police Officer Sammy De Sylva for his patience and understanding during a hit and run traffic investigation. The author wrote, “I really appreciated your professionalism and advice.”

Phillip L. Sanchez
Chief of Police

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