Gardena Police Department
District Policing Newsletter
June 25, 2012
Message from the Chief
The Gardena Police Department strives to maintain a strong relationship between our Department and the community we serve. We continually reevaluate our crime control methods to create new and innovative ways to enhance the safety of our community and improve your quality of life. With the recent changes in state legislation regarding parole/probation realignment (Assembly Bill 109), the Gardena Police Department felt there was a need to reevaluate our specialized units to better monitor and track parolees returning to our City and prevent an increase in criminal activity. As a result I have created a new specialized unit to handle these challenges. The unit called the Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) will model our community oriented policing and problem solving methods.
The SEU will begin its work mid-August. This unit will consist of one (1) supervisor and four (4) officers who will specialize in Gang Intelligence/Enforcement, Parole/Probation Realignment compliance checks, sex registrant compliance checks, graffiti and vandalism, Section 8 housing issues, and hotel/motel issues.
This unit will deal with issues within the City that may not fall directly under the regular scope of our Detective Bureau and/or the Crime Suppression Unit (CSU). Our CSU team deals with criminal investigations such as high-level narcotics investigations, seizures, and the apprehension of numerous wanted fugitives.
Our mission is to continually build on our community partnerships and maintain a high quality of life for our residents. I am certain the new SEU unit will do just that. If you have any questions regarding this new unit please contact Lieutenant Vince Osorio at 310-217-9612.
Chief Edward Medrano
The Importance of Community Leadership
Recently, we were asked about the importance of community leaders in our community, specifically in our Neighborhood Watch program. The Department knows that community leaders are the pillars upon which our District Policing program was built. Community leaders serve as doorways to the community. Doorways allow for two-way communication.
First, information is given to the police department by community leaders. This information usually consists of performance feedback, suggestions for policing programs, and crime information. Essentially, the information gives us an immediate and accurate perspective as to the needs and wants of our community.
Secondly, community leaders enable our messages to be spread to the community. These messages include safety tips, event information, city service information, community meetings, and crime information. Because of our community leaders’ connections with the public, this information is disseminated in a timely and accurate manner.
This two-way communication process builds trust between the Department and the community. The more interaction between the community and the Department, the stronger our relationships become. We have seen the value of this process over the last five years in the success of our District Policing Program. Community leaders complete our vision of community-partnerships.
This relationship produces a safe, well-informed community and a highly effective Department. The more community leaders we have, the more information that passes through the doorway. The more information we have, the more responsive and effective our city-services become.
We encourage you all to get involved. We have several programs that require community leaders, such as the Chief of Police Citizen Advisory Panel (COPCAP), the Gardena Police Volunteer program, Adopt-a-Block program and Neighborhood Watch groups. If you would like more information regarding these programs, please call 310-217-9601 or visit www.gardenapd.org.
Lieutenant Russ Temple - District 1
My name is Lt. Russ Temple; I am the new District-1 Lieutenant. I replaced Lt. Saffell who was with District-1 for over five years. Lt. Saffell did a great job and I know I have big shoes to fill. I hope to maintain the lasting partnerships and relationships created by Lt. Saffell since the inception of the District Policing Program. I am truly honored to take on this responsibility.
I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that only the names have changed, our mission is still the same. I am committed to supporting our partnership with the community and will continue to provide responsive professional service. We will continue holding monthly Neighborhood Watch Meetings in District-1 as usual. The Adopt-A-Block program will also continue to flourish and grow, thus keeping our neighborhoods looking and feeling clean and valued.
My goal is to create new Neighborhood Watch groups throughout District-1 and increase crime trend awareness. With continued partnerships in the community, both private and business, we can make Gardena an even a better place to live, work, and play. If you need information on any existing meetings, please take time to view our Department website at www.gardenapd.org. Our website is very interactive and contains a wealth of information regarding district news and current crime trends.
If you need any direction on starting a new group in our Neighborhood Watch program, or have any questions regarding policing or quality of life issues, I am always available. I can be reached by telephone at (310) 217-9686 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to working with everyone in 2012 and am excited for what the future holds.
Lieutenant Russ Temple
Lieutenant Mark Rickerl - District 2
Since our last newsletter your District-2 Officers have been working hard to improve our community. We have focused on the issues that affect our residents but still need your help to continue our mission to make Gardena the best place to reside. I would like to encourage you all to remain involved and vigilant; together we can reach our goals.
As community members who CARE about the quality of life in your neighborhood, I highly recommend you get involved in order to make a difference. When you see individuals who don’t belong in the neighborhood, solicitors, those loitering about and/or scavenging, you should call us (310-323-7911). The police cannot be everywhere at once, so we must rely on the community for assistance. You are the extra eyes and ears as to what is occurring in your neighborhood; don’t rely on someone else to make the call. Charlotte Lynch is a great example of an involved community member. She is very involved and makes a difference! Imagine multiplying that type of effort many times over in a community. The quality of life can only become better. Please think about how you can help make Gardena a place where criminals abstain from entering because they know they are being watched by everyone, not just the police.
Remember, you can’t ever call the police too much when reporting unsual or suspicious activity(ies). I ask that you become and stay involved! If you are interested in hosting or attending a Neighborhood Watch Meeting, please call me.
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly recognize Charlotte Lynch, our own D-2 Watch Leader, who exemplifies the qualities of an involved community member. She was honored for her dedication and commitment in making Gardena a great place to reside. Charlotte was recognized in April by the City Council as a top producer for the Adopt-a-Block Program. She is consistently reporting the quality-of-life issues such as graffiti, overgrown vegetation, dilapidated buildings and illegal dumping. Charlotte was also recognized by the Gardena Valley Chamber of Commerce at the “Outstanding Woman Awards” Luncheon in May. She is the President of the Gardena Beautiful Committee as well as the lead organizer for our Flag Day Ceremony in June. Congratulations and “a HUGE” thanks to Charlotte for her proactive efforts in keeping Gardena safe and clean.
If you should have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call. I can be reached by email email@example.com or by telephone at 310-217-9651.
Lieutenant Mark Rickerl
Lieutenant Vince Osorio - District 3
Since becoming the District-3 Lieutenant I have been asked questions regarding officers and their training, specifically related to emotionally and psychologically disturbed individuals. The Gardena Police Department (GPD) knows that training is one of the most important aspects of a law enforcement officer’s job. Without proper and updated training, an officer cannot maintain the level of service that is expected by the general public. At the GPD, training ranges from the very basics of police work (arrest and control, emergency driving, etc.) to customer service. One area of training that we are now concentrating on is dealing with special circumstances, ranging from emotionally disturbed persons to those who have some type of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). April was Autism Awareness Month. The GPD and its officers understand the need to be able to deal with and serve those with ASD and the Department has been getting out information on ASD for quite some time now. Every few months, officers and other employees are sent emails with information regarding Autism and its symptoms. This information will help officers work with Autistic individuals and can actually help when dealing with individuals who may have other types of psychological diagnoses.
Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects a person’s behavior and communication. Today, almost one in every 88 children is diagnosed with Autism. It is more prevalent in boys, as one in every 54 boys is diagnosed. It affects every individual in differing degrees. The following is from the Autism Speaks website (www.autismspeaks.org) :
“Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of Autism Spectrum. For others, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life.”
Our training staff is currently working with a certified and well-known trainer who will be coming to the Department to train our officers on how to deal with autistic individuals they may encounter while on duty. We are also working with our officers and giving them as many resources (referral services, regional centers, etc.) as possible to help them deal with these special circumstances. We even have several officers who are active in fundraising for several autism-related charities. It is our hope that through training and experience, our officers will be able to successfully deal with citizens in any given situation and help them to bring these situations to successful conclusions.
If you would like more information regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder, I would be happy to give a presentation at your next neighborhood watch meeting. Please contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 310-217-9612.
Lieutenant Vince Osorio
The Gardena Police Department and Gardena Municipal Bus Lines Working Together to Ensure Public Safety on Public Transportation
Did you know, for several years now the Gardena Municipal Bus Lines has partnered with the Police Department to ensure safety and security while using Gardena’s public transit system? It is true, and it works. We have two full-time officers dedicated to serve as the “Metro Unit”. Their responsibilities are to ensure that our public transit system is as crime free as possible and operates in a friendly, safe environment. In 2011, these officers conducted over 3,000 bus checks alone in an effort to keep the City Transportation system safe. Since the start of 2012, over 80% of the total Metro Unit activities were self-initiated by our officers. These officers are constantly in direct communication with the Transit dispatch and drivers. When they are needed they can respond immediately to mitigate any type of situation. It is partnerships like these that make the City of Gardena a beacon when it comes to providing services for the community. So the next time you are driving around town, keep an eye out for the police SUV with the Gardena Police Transit Detail decal and wave hello to our elite Metro Unit Officers.
Gardena Police Department - K-9 Team
Every metropolitan police department has special teams to help deal with special circumstances that officers may encounter. These teams range from Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) to the Crime Suppression Units (CSU). One of Gardena Police Department’s special teams is our K-9 Unit. This unit is currently comprised of two K-9 officers, two police working dogs, a sergeant and a lieutenant. The K-9 officers and their partners work different shifts and are subject to call-out at anytime. Our current K-9 teams are Officer McReynolds with K-9 Duko, and Officer Alarcon with K-9 Gus.
The K-9 teams train regularly with a main trainer and also with a South Bay K-9 training group. Our K-9’s are trained to search for suspects, articles and narcotics, among other things. Over the last few months, these K-9 teams have been instrumental in several searches/apprehensions, both in the City of Gardena and in other surrounding cities (when called for mutual aid). The K-9’s can often be deployed in situations where it would not be safe or prudent to send a human officer. One of the main benefits of the K-9 teams is that they can search a greater area than their human counterparts. One team of three dogs and handlers can thoroughly search an area of one square mile in approximately three and a half hours. It would take twice as many humans to search the same size area in the same amount of time, with the same amount of success. The next time you see a GPD K-9 officer and his partner don’t hesitate to say “hello,” unless they are searching for a bad guy, of course.
Safety Measures to Prevent Residential Burglaries
As we roll into the summer, it’s once again time to think about residential safety. With the current economy, criminals are becoming very ingenious in the ways that they try to take property from unsuspecting victims. Some daring criminals are actually posing as employees of various utility companies (ie: SCE, The Gas Company, etc.).
In a very common scenario, a suspect posing as a utility worker will knock on the door and contact the homeowner. The suspect will usually identify a problem in the house that needs to be worked on (a water pipe or gas line, for example) that the utility company has chosen to work on. Once the victim is engaged in a conversation with the suspect, they will distract them by leading them to the area where the problem or work to be done is supposed to be. They usually spend a few minutes with the victim away from the front door. While this is happening, a second suspect enters the residence, takes miscellaneous valuables, and then exits the residence before the victim can realize anything is amiss.
Here are a few tips to properly identify utility company employees:
View Crime Stats
Fourth of July - Firework Safety
The Gardena Police Department will be conducting strict enforcement of firework laws this Fourth of July season in an attempt to educate the public on the dangers of using illegal fireworks, and thereby preventing injuries caused by the possession and/or mishandling of fireworks, both legal (safe and sane) and illegal. There are many restrictions regarding the use of Safe and Sane fireworks. These restrictions can be found on the City of Gardena website (http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/Gardena) and then looking under section 8.16.020 of the Gardena Municipal Code. Illegal fireworks (not safe and sane) are not to be used at anytime.
Primarily, Safe and Sane fireworks may be possessed from Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM until Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at 10:00 PM. Safe and Sane fireworks may be discharged from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM on June 28th, and 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM on June 29th through and including July 4th.
When using “Safe and Sane” fireworks please remember to:
We caution all parents to familiarize themselves with the City of Gardena regulations regarding fireworks in order to protect their children and for all our citizens to use extreme caution when handling fireworks to prevent injuries. If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact Lt. Vince Osorio at 310-217-9612 or by email email@example.com.
Security Checklist and Home Inspections
The Gardena Police Department is always looking for ways to reduce crime in our City. We know that we need to be proactive to prevent crimes before they happen. In order to reduce the number of residential burglaries, the Detective Bureau has created a home security checklist. The checklist is just another way we build partnerships between the residents of Gardena and our Department. The main goal of the checklist is to assist in preventing residential burglaries and other related crimes.
The resident can either use the checklist to conduct a safety inspection of their home themselves, or can request an officer to assist by completing a walk-through with the resident. The checklist covers a variety of areas around and within the home to be inspected. Some of these areas include doors, windows, lighting, landscaping and other suggested areas to help secure your home.
The goal of the checklist is to provide suggestions on the best construction material for doors and door frames, and recommended measurements for deadbolts and locks. Through the City of Gardena’s Handyman Program, our residents might be able to have their locks replaced at no charge, if they qualify.
The checklist will be available to Gardena residents through the Department’s website or at the Department’s front desk.
For further information on the checklist or to schedule an officer assisted inspection, please contact our office at 310-217-9601, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your District Lieutenant directly.
Home Inspection Checklist
District Policing and Grafitti Intelligence
In 2007, the School Resource Officer (SRO)/Graffiti Intelligence and District Policing Programs were launched. The goal of the District Policing program was to partner with the Community to focus on crime prevention strategies. One of the most important issues facing District Policing was the reduction of graffiti and blight. The collaboration between District Policing and the SRO/Graffiti Intelligence programs has served as the City of Gardena’s vehicle to facilitate the recognition, elimination, and prevention of graffiti.
The primary focus of the SRO/Graffiti Detective was to detect and arrest the individual(s) involved in vandalism. Based on investigations of graffiti, the Department determined that most of the “Hit Ups”, or “tagging”, was committed by school-aged juveniles. The District Policing and SRO/Graffiti Intelligence have attributed to the successful arrest and prosecution of the vandalism offenders. The partnerships between the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, District Policing and the SRO/Graffiti programs resulted in verifying over $400,000 in graffiti-related damages, hundreds of prosecutions and over 100 search warrants served. The City of Gardena has received approximately $200,000 in restitution.
In 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) chose the Gardena Police Department as the first law enforcement agency to have access to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s “TAGRS” graffiti system. This program incorporated the City of Gardena’s Public Works graffiti abatement process with the Sheriff’s “TAGRS” program. Since taggers are transient in their “Hit Ups”, the new system allowed the Gardena Police Department, Gardena Public Works and LASD to document, geographically code and track taggers/crews from the Mexican Border to Ventura and San Bernardino to the beach cities. “TAGRS” will allow for multiple law enforcement agencies to share and gather intelligence on the tagger/crews and increase prosecutions.
If you identify any graffiti near your home or business please contact Public Works (310-217-9568), Monday-Thursday 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM or Friday 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM. If it is after hours, you can call the Graffiti hotline (310-217-9560).
Gardena Police Department Employee Recognition
On May 20, 2012 the Gardena Police Department celebrated its 6th Annual Employee Recognition Day. This year’s event was sponsored by the Gardena Police Officers’ Association and the Gardena Police Foundation to thank our employees for their hard work and dedication to this Commuity throughout the year. This year’s event was a family style picnic, complete with a dunk tank, games for the kids, and great food.
The Department took the time to recognize the individuals who made exceptional contributions to the Department and our community. The awardees were selected by both their supervisors and co-workers. The Department awarded one individual from the following categories: Officer Nathan Jones, Officer of the Year; Code Enforcement Officer Ben Awe, Employee of the Year; Horacio Carranza, Part-Time Employee of the Year; Richard Luna, Volunteer of the Year; and Carlos Gutierrez, Explorer of the Year (not pictured).
GPD Newsletter June 2012