Crime Scene poll

In light of the seeming lack of progress experienced by Montebello PD investigating the shooting death of 12-year-old Albert Garcia and his father Juan at a graduation party two weeks ago, I’ve been thinking cities that contract with the Sheriff’s Department for their investigations probably have better results.

I have no proof of this. It’s just a thought. And clearly the Sheriff’s Department has its share of stalled investigations. The Sammantha Salas case from earlier this year in Monrovia comes to mind.

Montebello isn’t the only area city that doesn’t immediately turn to the vast resources of the Bulldogs. Others include Covina, Pomona, Pasadena and West Covina.

What do you think?



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  • Local Boy

    The question is too open ended. Many smaller agencies handle investigations where the vast resources of LASD isn’t needed. It’s not like the dectectives at these agencies are any less qualified or trained than those at LASD. Where it’s not a who-done-it, or the locals have a good relationship with those in the community that can help them than why go outside? Having LASD willing to come in and assist or take over is a great thing to have when it’s a difficult case. The locals still assist as best they can in those instances.

  • LB,
    To clarify, I’m referring to homicide investigations only. There’s a whole history of small agencies doing their homicide investigations in-house — not sharing details with LASD and ultimately preventing the quick capture of killers. The Richard Ramirez case is a good example. Agencies like Glendale didn’t share their info initially and perhaps delayed the apprehension of Ramirez.
    In the Montebello case referred to above, it seems to me that LASD would have better gang intel (especially from East LA) that might bring a swifter resolution to the case.
    You and I both know that as more time passes in a case like the probability of a solution quickly diminishes.
    I hope that helps answer your question.

  • Local Boy

    Well I guess my question would be do you know if LASD is assisting on the Montebello case? I haven’t heard either way. As for Ramirez, that was a long time ago Frank and I would bet smaller local agencies wouldn’t hesitate now to ask LASD for help if they needed it. If there’s still some perceived notion in an agency that getting credit for making a homicide arrest is more important than doing everything needed to facilitate an arrest, well that would be very wrong.

  • Anonymous Lt

    Working for a smaller agency I have to agree that LASD is a major help, especially with supplying technical resources (CSI/Crime Lab, etc.) However, the best results are achieved when the local agency and LASD work together.

    Often leads, informants, known gang suspects are gathered by the local department and supplied to LASD. Also, it seems that LASD handles so many homicides that they cannot always provide the needed time to each case; hence, the local agency plays a key role with the investigation.

  • mtb citizen who wants to know

    Can you do a story on the stats of Mtb. PD and homicide convictions? I know of a couple. The man who was buried in a backyard, the student who was killed at pizza hut a few years ago. I know the police know who did it, but no arrests have ever been made. What about the multiple murders many years ago in the warehouse on Vail st. Was that ever solved? I know that the murder of Erik Estrada on Poplar a few years back was solved. But I do believe that is few and far between.
    I have heard from an eye witness that three people were killed at the party. And the police know the name of the suspect. Why no arrests? Why all the secrecy from the police depart? Do they hope it will all blow away?
    Another unsolved murder just came to mind. The business owner that was killed in his shop on Whittier Blvd. Was that ever solved?

  • RCJP


    Just because the police haven’t trumpeted their progress to the media does not mean that there is none.

    Just because the Colombian miliary didn’t say what they were doing to get the FRAC hostages back, didn’t mean they weren’t trying.

    If you could be trusted not to print the details, I’m sure they’d be willing to clue you in. But, then you wouldn’t be doing your job (and they wouldn’t be doing theirs).

    I think you’re being very unfair to judge Montebello based on this case. I know it is a particularly eggregious one, which you’ve taken a sincere personal interest in. But that doesn’t mean that they should be revealing everything – or even anything.


  • fx

    I am predicting more gang violence in Monrovia very soon. I have seen many more MVN gang members being very visible in the Monrovia area. I know of a couple of incidents involving MVN gang members at the Gem City and Elephant Bars in Monrovia. The gang members are like cock-roaches, as soon as the pressure is off they are out like the cock-roaches they are.

    Monrovia police need to vist these local bars and do a weapons search of the MVN gang members, before the next person is killed by these idiots.

  • Willy

    Sometimes the cards are stacked against the smaller departments when it comes to investigating murders or other major crimes. Sometimes it is difficult, or impossible to get evidence processed or analyzed by the LASO crime labs. Often as not, an investigator from a small city has to fight tooth and nail in order to get items tested and so forth from the lab, sometimes told no way. This is seems to be a frequent issue when it comes to DNA. The lab quotes back log stats, even when it is known that they also contract out to several private labs. It costs about $1,500 to get one sample tested at a private lab with a three to five thousand dollar a day to testifying in court by the private lab tech. Smaller departments can’t afford the costs. So where do they go and what do they do when the LASO crime lab won’t test their evidence? Orange County S.O. will do some testing for them if letters are written on why the samples can’t be tested by LASO and etc. Even DOJ will do some of the processing up receipt of letters and etc.However these are lengthly processes and not always granted.Finely, big city detectives are always better than small city detectives. Food for thought.

  • Local Boy

    I don’t know that I agree with your last observation Willy. Best detective I ever saw worked for a smaller agency. He was well educated, went to many classes on his own to learn his craft and never left a stone unturned. He was methodical and also had the ability to get people to talk that many times wouldn’t to others. He would have stood out wherever he worked.

    I think after handling the large case loads that big city and county detectives have to handle it might get a bit too routine. It never did for the guy I knew. That’s just my opinion and not meant to take away from the job anyone does. I’ve met very fine LASD detectives who obviously were very good at their job.

  • Anonymous Lt

    Working for a smaller municipal agency I hate to say it but there is no substitute for experience. Our detectives hearts are in the right place and they may attend all the right training classes and read all the right books but if your exposure is only 1-2 homicides a year its difficult to perfect your trade. Our detectives innate abilities are equal to larger agency detectives but again experience through exposure is the key.

    In addition to the lack of exposure is the lack of available expertise. Where a LASD detective may be new to homicide they have access to dozens of seasoned homicide investigators to quickly accelerate their training.

    The only advantage the smaller agency detective has is their eagerness to solve the case without the investigation being run of the mill. Although, equally as busy as a larger department detective (just smaller cases), the smaller agency usually prioritizes the homicide(s) and allow the detective the time to run down every lead.

  • Local Boy

    Well said Lt.

  • concerned unanon

    It’s going on 7 months since Sammantha Salas was killed and it seems no arrests have been made. What can we do? Why has no one come forward. How many other children need to be taken from us before the killers are found. Was there ever even a motive???