SIERRA MADRE >> After spending nine months reinforcing its depleted ranks to full force, the Sierra Madre Police Department resumed full patrol responsibilities for the city Sunday, ending an arrangement in which the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department handled nighttime law enforcement duties in the city, officials said.
In a written statement, Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone said the transition started “another chapter in the history of the Sierra Madre Police Department.”
“After a trying 9 months of rebuilding and restructuring, the police department is back to full force and once again able to police this fine community on a full-time basis,” Giannone said.
Following the sudden departure of nearly half the Sierra Madre Police Department’s force in 2015, and with recruitment challenged by looming concerns over potential slashed revenues looming in the form of a ballot measure to cut utility tax fees on the April, 2016, ballot, Sierra Madre partnered with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to supplement police services.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station have bee providing patrol service to Sierra Madre between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily.
Giannone said he was grateful for the help.
“Our thanks go out to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for their commitment to keep our community safe while they assisted us with coverage,” the chief said. “They treated the community as their own and for that we are appreciative.
The chief also thanked the community for its patience, support and understanding as the department faced its recent challenges.
“Your unwavering support, kind words, cards, letters, and friendly waves have inspired the new personnel to embrace the community and make it their own,” he said.
Sierra Madre had first reached out to its neighbor, Arcadia, to assist with supplementing police services, but city officials there declined the idea, saying the Arcadia officers were needed in Arcadia.
But with utility tax revenues maintained by the voters in the April election, the department was once again able to focus on beefing up its dwindling ranks.
“We are ready to move ahead and look forward to serving you,” Giannone said.
The department will face another significant change later this year, as Chief Giannone is scheduled to retire Dec. 10 after 44 years in law enforcement, 9 of them with the Sierra Madre Police Department.
WHITTIER >> A man died after he was struck by two cars while crossing Whittier Boulevard at the east end of the city late Saturday, officials said.
The man, estimated to be 60 years old and believed to be homeless, died following the collisions, which were reported about 8:25 p.m. along Whittier Boulevard, just west of Valley Home Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical-Examiner Coroner Investigator Anthony Lopez said.
The initial investigation indicated the man was walking south across the boulevard, not within a crosswalk, when he was struck by a westbound Buick Sentry sedan, according to Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis.
Following the initial impact, the pedestrian was struck by a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV, the lieutenant said.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.
The drivers of both vehicle remained at the scene and cooperated with police, Ellis said. No arrests were made as the investigation continued.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information can reach Whittier police at 562-567-9200.
A San Bernardino man died after his van struck the back of a parked big rig along the 605 Freeway in Bassett early Sunday morning, authorities said.
The identity of the man, 32, was not released pending notification of his family, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
The crash was reported about 5:45 a.m. in the southbound lanes of the 605 Freeway at the Valley Boulevard offramp in the unincorporated county area just outside of Industry, according to CHP logs.
The San Bernardino man was driving a 2010 Chevrolet Express Van in the right-hand lane at an unknown speed just prior to the crash, Officer D. Parsons of the CHP’s East Los Angeles area office said in a written statement.
“For unknown reasons, the Chevrolet veered towards a gore point to the right where a tractor trailer was parked within the gore point,” Parsons said. “The Chevrolet subsequently struck the left rear of the trailer.”
The driver of the van ended up trapped in the wreckage and was pronounced dead at the scene, CHP logs show.
Officials issued a Sig Alert that effected the two right-hand lanes of the southbound 605 Freeway for more than four-and-a-half hours as a result of the crash.
Anyone with information can reach the CHP’s East Los Angeles area office at 323-980-4600.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> The search for a La Puente man who disappeared during a hiking trip in the Angeles National Forest north of Sierra Madre came to a tragic end Saturday when officials discovered the man’s body near the base of Hermit Falls, authorities said.
Avid outdoorsman John Richard King, 63, left his home in La Puente on Thursday morning and never returned, according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
His family reported him missing after he failed to return home Thursday night, as planned, officials said.
King’s car was found in the parking area of Chantry Flat, and sheriff’s search and rescue team members launched a search of the area that continued all day Friday.
The searchers discovered King’s body near the base of Hermit Falls about noon, Sgt. Alan Lie of the sheriff’s Temple Station said.
Homicide detectives and coroner’s officials were summoned to the scene to continue the investigation.
“Detectives report his body was found in the water below Hermit Falls by the Antelope Valley Search and Rescue Team,” according to Deputy Ruan Rouzan of the sheriff’s information Bureau. “It appears Mr. King, while hiking, slipped and fell approximately 40 feet into the water.”
“There appears to be no foul play, and the fall was accidental,” Rouzan said. “Mr. King’s family arrived on scene to positively identify his body.”
No further details were available.
PHOTO of John King, 63, of La Puente (courtesy)
AZUSA >> Police used a Taser to subdue and arrest a man who had been threatening his roommates with knives in Azusa early Saturday, officials said.
Vincent Pauley, 25, was ultimately booked on suspicion of brandishing a knife, as well as an outstanding burglary warrant, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said in a written statement.
Officers first received a report about 3:45 a.m. that Pauley was standing in their living room in the 500 block of North Dalton Avenue, brandishing a knife in each hand, the sergeant said.
“He refused the residents requests to put the knives down, and according to them, had not slept for four days and was behaving irrationally,” Sutcliffe said. “Officers also discovered he had an outstanding no-bail arrest warrant for burglary.”
Two residents of the home exited when officers arrived, he said. But one man remained inside, and was last seen inside the living room with Pauley.
“It was unclear to the officers if this man was at risk of being stabbed,” Sutcliffe said.
After Pauley refused commands to surrender, officers made their way into the home.
“Officers found Pauley standing in the middle of the living room, motionless and staring intently at them. He carried a fixed blade knife in his hand with the blade pointing at the officers,” Sutcliffe said.
“Although he dropped that knife after being told to do so, the location of the second knife was unknown, and he refused officers’ directions to raise his hands and walk outside,” according to the sergeant. ”One officer deployed the Taser, which immediately incapacitated Pauley and allowed officers to safely take him into custody without injury to anyone. The other male in the living room was found uninjured.”
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Pauley was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Monday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
PASADENA >> The Pasadena Police Department’s first female police dog has taken to the streets with the city’s first female K-9 handler.
Kyra, a 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd from the Netherlands, is partnered with Officer Lynda Mercado.
“(Kyra) is skilled in both suspect apprehension and finding explosive devices,” Pasadena Police Foundation officials said in a written statement.
The team began serving Pasadena earlier this year, officials said.
“At a slim 55 pounds, Kyra has been trained to negotiate a variety of obstacles that are presented to officers that work in the field,” according to the statement. “Currently, she is being trained to detect explosives in open areas as well as confined spaces. This is particularly important since Pasadena is home to a large stadium like the Rose Bowl and hosts the world famous Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. These venues host large audiences and therefore Kyra is taught to alert police quickly to save lives.”
Pasadena police now have four four-legged officers on duty. In addition to Kyra, they include a German shepherd, a Belgian Tervuren and a Belgian Malinois.
Each dog has unique traits and duties.
German shepherds, for example, tend to conduct searches slowly and methodically, Mercado explained. Belgian Malinois tend to be more aggressive in their search tactics, immediately running deep into the search area.
“Kyra is like both of these breeds combined into one and is very adaptable under these extreme situations,” Mercado said.
The police dogs and their handlers train weekly, officials said.
“As part of the training, we practice a variety of scenarios in a variety of terrain so the dogs get used to the differences,” Mercado said.
The purchase of Kyra, along with the specialized SUV to transport her, was funded by the Pasadena Police Foundation.
When not on duty, Kyra lived with her human counterpart.
“I enjoy working with this very smart, reliable dog,” Mercado said. “I bring her home with me at night and she is more than ready to go to work the next day.”
PHOTOS courtesy of the Pasadena Police Foundation
POMONA >> Police are seeking an attacker who stabbed an Ontario man as he tried to break up a fight in a Pomona parking lot early Saturday morning, officials said.
Police responded about 1:50 a.m. to reports of a stabbing at Garey Avenue and 2nd Street, Pomona police Lt. Marcus Perez said in a written statement. Officers encountered an Ontario man in his 40s who had been stabbed in the upper torso.
“The victim was coherent and stated that he received the injuries while trying to break up a fight in the parking lot,” Perez said.
Officials flew the wounded man to a hospital for treatment by helicopter, police said. He was listed in serious but stable condition.
The attacker was described only as male. He was believed to have fled the scene in a gray Chevy Cruze with paper license plates.
Anyone with information can reach Pomona police at 626-620-2085. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
AZUSA >> An 11-year-old Azusa girl who never returned home from school on Friday has been found safe, police said Saturday.
Crystal Martinez attended Foothill Middle School and was released at the normal time about 3 p.m., Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said in a written statement.
“She was last seen with a school friend in the area of Fifth Street and Rockvale Avenue around 3 p.m. that same day,” he said.
Her father called police to report her missing about 1 a.m. on Saturday.
“He said his daughter occasionally stays out late, but has never stayed out this late, and she has no history of running away from home,” Sutcliffe said.
The girl returned home shortly before noon on Saturday, Sutcliffe said.
“Detectives are currently interviewing her, and it appears no crime had been committed,” he said
SOUTH WHITTIER >> A 10-year-old boy died after being struck by a car while riding a scooter in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier on Friday afternoon, authorities said.
Eduardo Jara of Whittier succumbed to his injuries at a hospital, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Mario Saenz said.
The collision was first reported about 4:45 p.m. on Sunshine Avenue, just east of Painter Avenue, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
An 18-year-old Whittier man was heading east on Sunshine Avenue at about 15 mph in a 1996 Ford Mustang, officials said.
“The pedestrian, a 10-year-old male on a scooter, traveled north from the south sidewalk from behind a parked vehicle and crossed directly in front of the path of the Ford,” according to the statement. “The driver of the Ford was unable to bring his vehicle to a complete stop in time before colliding with the 10-year-old pedestrian.”
Jara, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered major injuries, CHP officials said. He was flown to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center by helicopter for treatment.
CHP officials were notified about 8 p.m. that the boy had succumbed to his injuries, Officer Stefan Brandt said.
Authorities said the driver of the Ford remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.
The incident is under investigation by the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs-area office. Any witnesses, or anyone with information, can reach the office during normal business hours at 562-868-0503.
PICO RIVERA >> A gunman fled with money and two cellphones after robbing a Pico Rivera wireless store on Friday, authorities said.
The heist unfolded just before noon at Sela Wireless, 8535 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Noe Garcia said.
A robber entered the store, brandished a handgun and demanded all the money from the store’s cash register, the lieutenant said.
After obtaining about $350, as well as two cell phones, the robber fled and was last seen running south along Phaeton Avenue, he said.
He was described as a Latino man in his 30s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and of medium build.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.