LA PUENTE >> City and sheriff’s officials in La Puente received an award from an international Buddhist organization championing peace this week for contributions to peace and harmony in the community.
Soka Gakkai International presented their a La Puente Mayor Dan Halloway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro — who effectively serves as La Puente’s police chief — and La Puente Recreation Services Manager Roxanne Lerma with the SGI-USA Justice Award Tuesday.
“The City of La Puente has partnered with the local SGI-USA organization and the LASD to present the National Night Out program at La Puente Park in August for the last two years, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “This cooperative effort has strengthened the organizations relationship with the City and local law enforcement.”
The efforts have been instrumental in helping La Puente rank in the top 50 safest cities in the U.S. this year in a list composed by security company SafeWise.
The sheriff’s department and city have worked to forge strong relationships with are nonprofit organizations and private companies to help with community outreach efforts, officials added.
PHOTO: Flanked by representatives of Soka Gakkai International, left to right, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro, La Puente Mayor Dan Halloway and La Puente Recreation Services Manager Roxanne Lerma receive the SGI-USA Justice Award on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (Courtesy of the City of La Puente)
LOS ANGELES COUNTY >> The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will receive a $1.5 million federal grant to combat human trafficking, authorities announced Thursday.
The funding comes from $44 million in federal grant money set aside to fight human trafficking — “a wide variety of criminal conduct involving the exploitation of minor and adult victims who are compelled to engage in sex and labor and support its victims,” U.S. Department of Justice officials said in a written statement.
Los Angeles County is one of 16 sites across the nation to receive a grant to support a human trafficking task force. Each site receives funding for both law enforcement and victim support services.
Riverside County was awarded $1.4 million to fund a task force. Some of the task forces are county-wide or regional, while others operate statewide.
The DOJ will also add additional prosecutors specializing in human trafficking cases, officials said.
More than $22.7 million have been allocated for the 16 task forces, with the remainder of the federal grant money going to support victim services and research nationwide. The grant will be effective Oct. 1. 2015, through Sept. 30, 2018.
“As those who commit this horrible crime and prey on trafficking victims become more sophisticated, we must work together to find new and comprehensive strategies,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Kim McDonnell said. “If we are to truly make a difference in combatting human trafficking, we must do more than simply prosecute the wrong-doers. We need a regional, multi-disciplinary approach that enables us to cross jurisdictional and agency lines.
“Working with other justice system and community partners, we will be able to amplify our ability to rescue and address the needs of the victim; investigate, effectively punish and pro-actively prevent criminal misconduct; and address the demand side by recognizing that buyers of sex with minors should be viewed as child molesters and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
All too often, the victims of human trafficking are children, said Eilee Decker, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.
“The devastating crime of human trafficking often is hidden behind the locked doors of a sweatshop or the supposedly ‘victimless’ crime of prostitution,” Decker said. “Law enforcement in Los Angeles is now redoubling efforts to combat this horrific offense with additional resources, improved training and a growing awareness that perpetrators are often victimizing children. I am fully committed to working with Sheriff Jim McDonnell — a national leader in this arena — to seeing that perpetrators of these offenses are brought to justice.”
VIDEO: Sheriff’s Jim McDonnell discusses freeway rescue
PASADENA >> A sheriff’s deputy less than two weeks out of the academy, along with three other good Samaritans, is credited with resuscitating and saving the life of a man found pulseless on the 210 Freeway following a car crash earlier this week, officials said.
Deputy Jason Flores who graduated the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s academy Sept. 4, spotted a car that had crashed into the center divider along the eastbound 210 Freeway near Madre Street in Pasadena as he was on his way home from work about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“The male adult driver was unresponsive inside the locked vehicle, prompting the deputy and another passerby, to spring into action as they risked their own lives by stopping on the busy freeway,” Sgt. John Glynn said in a written statement.
The young deputy forced his way into the car an unlocked a door to reach the unconscious driver, he said.
“Deputy Flores realized the driver was not breathing and did not have a pulse,” Glynn said. “Deputy Flores instructed the passerby to call 9-1-1 and request medical assistance, while he started to perform (CPR).”
As Flores continued CPR, “the driver gasped for air and had a faint pulse,” the sergeant said.
Two off-duty nurses stopped at the scene to assist before California Highway Patrol officers and paramedics arrived to take over treatment and rush the injured driver to a hospital, officials said. The victim’s heart stopped twice during the ambulance ride, but was resuscitated both times by emergency medical personnel.
Doctors rushed the man into emergency surgery, authorities said.
The driver, a 60-year-old Brea man, was listed in stable condition Friday, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
Further details regarding the circumstance of the crash were not available.
Flores had basic CPR training prior to joining the sheriff’s department, “but he credits the majority of his life-saving skills and techniques to the Sheriff’s Academy Recruit Training Program,” Glynn said.
Having just graduated the academy, Flores, 23, has not yet received his formal duty assignment, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. He will most likely be assigned to the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles.
PHOTOS: [TOP] – LASD Deputy Jason Flores (courtesy). [BELOW] – Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Jason Flores receives his badge from his grandfather, retired Deputy Jimmy Jackson, upon graduating the sheriff’s Academy on Sept. 4, 2015. (Courtesy)
SOUTH WHITTIER >> Hundreds of loved ones, friends and community members marched through South Whittier Friday in a call for justice for the murder of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Scout Cesar Rodriguez, who was gunned down four years ago along with a friend in a double-slaying that remains unsolved.
Led by a young relatives of Rodriguez carrying his picture and a banner stating, “We want justice,” the group met at Laurel Avenue and Beaty Street before marching through the neighborhood, past the scene of the shooting, and heading to Amelia Mayberry Park for a candlelight vigil.
Rodriguez, 19, was shot to death along with friend Larry Villegas, 24, on Aug. 28, 2011, as they left the home of a friend in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue.
Rodriguez’s loved ones have held the march each year since the double-slaying.
“We’ll be here every year until that person, or persons, come to justice,” Rodriguez’s mother Lupe Rodriguez said. “Cesar will never be forgotten.”
Also marching was Rodriguez’s father, Jorge Rodriguez, as well as brothers George and Hector, along with numerous other family members.
The group came to a stop and stood in silence when the procession reached the driveway where Rodriguez and Villegas were shot. Immediate family members laid flowers and candles at the spot, as dozens of sheriff’s Explorer Scouts stood in a stoic salute.
All along the march route, Explorers handed out fliers seeking information on the unsolved killings, with messages in both English and Spanish.
Lupe Rodriguez said she looks forward to the day when her son’s killer is arrested and the march will no longer be necessary.
But in the meantime, she said she felt encouraged by the strong show of community support.
“I think it gets bigger every year,” she said, adding that she was grateful to the community.
Homicide detectives have been left with few clues to work with, and the case remains unsolved, said Sgt. Michael Rodriguez of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. The sergeant took part in the march, as he has done each year since the shooting.
“As you can see, the support for Cesar and this investigation has not waned,” he said.
Sgt. Rodriguez said he remains optimistic that he and his fellow investigators will ultimately bring Cesar Rodriguez’s killer or killers to justice.
“This case ha not gone cold,” he said.
Both the investigator and Lupe Garcia said they believe there are people who know who killed Cesar Rodriguez and Villegas, but have yet to come forward. They both implored any such witnesses to do so.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LA CRESCENTA >> Homicide detectives are investigating the death of an elderly man Friday in a La Crescenta home.
Few details were initially available regarding the investigation, which began about 1:30 p.m. in the 3000 block of Frances Avenue.
Detectives responded the scene, “to investigate the circumstances surrounding the suspicious death of a man,” Deputy Sara Rodriguez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
Deputies first responded to the home after a local resident asked them to “check the welfare” of a neighbor, who had not been seen for several days, Lt. Mohrhoff of the sheriff’s Crescenta Valley Station said.
After discovering the body of a man inside the home, deputies summoned their counterparts in the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau to take over the investigation, Mohrhoff said.
The man, who was in his 70s, appeared to have suffered “blunt force trauma,” according to deputy Trina Schrader.
“The identity of the victim and the cause of death will be determined by the coroner,” Schrader said.
No further information was released. Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LOS ANGELES >> Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced an investigation into more than a dozen deputies accused of leaving an inmate handcuffed and depriving him of food for 32 hours following a June 19 arrest.
Ten deputies have been relieved of duty and “a number of others” have been reassigned to other duties pending further investigation, officials from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“I expect every member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to perform at the highest standards of professionalism,” McDonnell said.
“Immediately upon learning of troubling allegations of possible neglect of an inmate at the Inmate Reception Center, my Department’s executives relieved ten jail employees of duty, including supervisors,” the sheriff said. “The investigation into this incident is ongoing and will be thorough. It will not only focus on employee actions, but also on corrective policies and procedures.”
Those relieved of duty include two lieutenants, a sergeant, a senior deputy, four deputies and a two custody assistants, sheriff’s officials said.
The alleged misconduct stem from the arrest of an unidentified inmate who was booked at the Inmate Reception Center June 19.
“Allegations included the inmate not being provided food and being handcuffed for a lengthy period of time following a force incident during which the inmate reportedly assaulted a female deputy,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “The inmate ate upon entry to the jail, but was allegedly restrained for approximately 32 hours; during that time he received medical attention and a cup of water.”
The inmate filed a complaint June 27, initiating an investigation, officials said. McDonnell learned of the complaint Thursday and placed the involved deputies on leave or reassignment within 24 hours, officials said.
The sheriff’s department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau and Intern Affairs Bureau are looking into the matter, sheriff’s officials said. The Office of the Inspector General and the FBI were also notified of the investigation.
Custody officials at the Inmate Reception Center have been reminded of protocols regarding restraint, checks and feeding of inmates, and additional training was ordered, the sheriff’s department statement said. “Further corrective action is pending.”
“I am deeply committed to providing the highest levels of constitutional care to those in our charge and will quickly address and remedy any conduct, policies or practices that do not meet this expectation and high standard,” McDonnell said.
Further details were not available Saturday.
IRWINDALE >> Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies stood in 24-hour guard Wednesday over the site where fellow deputy David March was fatally shot during a traffic stop 13 years ago.
Afternoon temperatures climbed into the mid-90s as deputies have continued the stoic tradition each year since March was gunned down along Live Oak Avenue, just east of Peck Road, on April 29, 2002.
Sheriff’ Jim McDonnell visited the memorial site to pay his respects.
“These deputies from Temple have taken the time to pay tribute to the life of Deputy David March,” McDonnell said. “This tribute exemplified the belief that’s shared throughout the law enforcement community that we will never forget, and that we want to respect the memory and the sacrifice through the year.”
March, 33, who was assigned to the sheriff’s Temple Station, was fatally shot after pulling over Jorge Arroyo Garcia, also known as Armando Garcia. After being captured in Mexico and extradited back to the U.S., Garcia pleaded guilty to the deputy’s murder in 2007 and received a life sentence in prison.
Two by two, deputies, primarily from the sheriff’s Temple Station, took turns standing half-hour shifts over the spot where March was fatally shot, which is marked with a permanent memorial plaque. After standing frozen in place for 30 minutes, deputies changed guards with a brief ceremony.
ARCADIA >> Community members sought subpoena power, transparency and accountability Wednesday during a town hall meeting to discuss the formation of a new citizen’s oversight committee to oversee the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“Transparency shouldn’t be dependent on the sheriff’s cooperation,” Evan Bunch of Los Angeles told the working group. “Time and time again, we have seen that the sheriff’s cooperation does not mean transparency.”
Subpoena power would give the committee the right to obtain documents and other information from the sheriff’s department, even when department opposes disclosure.
Paul Jong, a staff attorney for Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, agreed. “Subpoena power is something that is essential for true accountability and transparency,” he said.
The meeting at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden was the sixth in a planned series of nine town hall meetings for residents to offer suggestions on what their believe should be considered to help shape the oversight board, which the supervisors approved late last year in a 3-2 vote.
Throughout the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, cops have been working to brighten the holidays of needy and disadvantaged kids.
Police and California Highway Patrol Officers, as well as Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, have been busily playing the roles of elves distributing toys, food and cheer to young people in need of some holiday spirit.
The California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have run large-scale toy drives to collect gifts for kids who might otherwise go without this holiday season.
And sheriff’s officials even brought Santa Claus, via helicopter, to meet with kids in Compton Saturday as deputies took them on a special Target shopping trip. Sheriff’s deputies also hosted an annual party Dec. 7 for abused and neglected children.
Police officers from both the Irwindale and Covina police departments have delivered toys to the young patients at the City of Hope in Duarte this month.
Police agencies including those in Whittier and West Covina, as well as some sheriff’s stations, joined Target stores for the “Heroes & Helpers” program, in which officers take needy youths shopping for gifts, officials said.
In La Puente, deputies visited schools and churches and neighborhood to hand out about 300 bags full of groceries Friday, sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said. And more food giveaways are planned this week.
Baldwin Park police attracted an estimated 2,000 kids to their police station Friday as they handed out more than 3,500 toys, according to the Baldwin Park Police Association. And of course, Santa Claus was on-hand as well.
PHOTOS: (top to bottom) 1.)Covina police officials deliver toys to children at the City of Hope in Duarte on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. (Courtesy) 2.) Whittier police take children shopping at Target in Whittier as part of the “Heroes & Helpers” program on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. (Courtesy) 3.) Principal Mona Diaz of Workman Elementary School in La Puente stands in front of a patrol car as Sgt. John Suh unloads bags of groceries to be handed out to families to help out for the holidays on Friday, Dec. 18, 2014. (Courtesy) 4.) Children meet with Santa Claus at the Baldwin Park Police Station as the Baldwin Park Police Association handed out more than 3,500 toys. (Courtesy) 5.) Irwindale police and city officials from Irwindale and La Puente deliver donated toys to City of Hope in Duarte on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. From left to right: La Puente City Councilman David Argudo, Irwindale police Officer Shawn Cory, Irwindale police Officer Diego Cornejo, Irwindale police Detective Jose Vargas, Irwindale police Capt. Ty Henshaw and Irwindale Mayor Mark Breceda. (Courtesy) 6.) West Covina police take children shopping at Target in Whittier as part of the “Heroes & Helpers” program on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. (Courtesy)
PICO RIVERA >> Families are invited the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station Saturday as officials once again host their “Haunted Jail” and open house.
The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the station, 6631 Passons Blvd., sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
A “scary and fun-filled day” is in store for guests, complete with lots of decorations along with treats and goodies, according to the statement.
Guests are encouraged to support the station’s holiday food drive by bringing canned goods and other non-perishable items to donate.
The event is being hosted in conjunction with the Pico Rivera Parks and Recreation.
For more information, contact the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421.