Pasadena’s first female police dog teamed with first female handler


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


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Woman injured, man arrested following Pasadena hit-and-run

PASADENA >> A 75-year-old man turned himself in to police after striking and injuring a woman with his car and fleeing the scene on Friday afternoon, police said.
Carlos Sanchez of Los Angeles was ultimately booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run in connection with the collision, which took place about 5 p.m. at Manzanita Avenue and Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
He struck the 51-year-old pedestrian with his vehicle and left the scene, the lieutenant said.
The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of head injuries, he said. An update on her condition was not available.
As officers were still investigating the crash about two hours later, Sanchez showed up at the Pasadena Police Department.
“He was identified as the driver of the vehicle involved in the collision and was arrested without incident for felony hit and run,” Goodman said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Sanchez was released from custody Friday night pending his initial court appearance after posting $20,000 bail.

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These 2 SoCal women lead effort to pay tribute to fallen law enforcement officers throughout the U.S.

For more than a year, two former Long Beach police officers have made it their mission to honor each and every law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in the Unites States by outfitting each member of the officers’ departments with personalized black “mourning bands” to be worn over their badges as a sign of respect to their departed colleagues.
badge1-thumbIn a sight that’s become all too common in recent months, whenever a law enforcement officer falls in the line of duty, fellow officers traditionally don black mourning bands over their badges in tribute. HonorBands co-founder Laura Tartaglione of Monrovia said. The bands are generally nondescript, plain black bands of black elastic worn across the front of a badge.
Starting from their kitchens and working by hand, Tartaglione and partner Julia Walling of Los Alamitos set out to make sure that every fallen officer, deputy or trooper was honored with personalized mourning bands, featuring the badge number, name, or other personal aspects of the fallen officer, Tartaglione said. The home-based endeavor grew quickly, and Tartaglione and Walling soon rented out a space and equipment in Los Alamitos to create the more than 70,000 bands they’ve made since and sent throughout the country, free of charge, to honor fallen officers from coast to coast.
“This is our way of helping that department that’s crushed,” Tartaglione said. “It cannot bring an officer back, but this is a way to honor that man or woman one last time. It’s a beautiful tribute. It’s the last thing you get to do to honor that person.”

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Armed parolee from Diamond Bar arrested after standoff at Pasadena motel

PASADENA >> Police arrested a parolee from Diamond Bar armed with a loaded handgun after he holed-up inside a Pasadena motel room on Wednesday night, officials said.
Jaime Garcia Jr., 28, was booked on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a loaded handgun following his arrest about 10:15 p.m. at a motel in the 2000 block of East Colorado Boulevard, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officers first responded to the motel about 7:20 p.m. after staff reported a guest who had failed to pay his bill, refused to check and locked staff out of the motel room, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
When officers tried to speak with him, he closed the door on them as well, the lieutenant said.
After spending about an hour negotiating with the man for about an hour, officers persuaded him to surrender, Luna said.
Inside his motel room, police found a loaded handgun, he said. Garcia is on active parole for a prior robbery conviction.
Garcia was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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Woman pistol-whipped, robbed in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Police are seeking three men who pistol-whipped and robbed a woman in Pasadena on Saturday, officials said.
A 20-year-old Pasadena woman went to the 100 block of East Orange Grove Boulevard to meet a friend about 11:45 a.m., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“Upon arrival, she was confronted by all three suspects,” he said.
One of the robbers pulled a handgun, ordered her out of her car and struck her in the back of the head with the pistol, according to the lieutenant.
The gunman then robbed the woman of her purse before one of the other two men rifled through her car and stole additional items, he said.
The woman’s cell phone was among the items stolen, Goodman said. Following the robber, she drove to a nearby store to call the police.
The victim did not wish to be taken to a hospital. Detailed suspect descriptions were not available.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Man robbed in Pasadena after making online arrangement to buy jewelry

PASADENA >> A man who drove to Pasadena to buy some jewelry after arranging a meeting with a prospective seller ended up being robbed at gunpoint, police said.
The crime unfolded about 10:15 a.m. after the victim, a 28-year-old Los Angeles man, arranged to sell some jewelry via the online marketplace, “OfferUp,” and met the purported buyer near Colorado Boulevard and Oakland Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said. A man and women met him.
“Upon meeting the suspects, one produces a handgun, the female, produced a handgun,” Goodman said.
Her male accomplice assaulted the victim and stole his money, as well as some jewelry he happened to be wearing, the lieutenant said. Police did not disclose the amount of money stolen. The victim declined to be taken to a hospital.
Police described the robbers a black woman between 21 and 23 years old, of thin build, with black hair and wearing dark gray clothes. The second robber was described only as a Latino man between 18 and 20.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Elderly woman critically injured after accidentally setting self on fire in Pasadena

PASADENA >> An elderly woman continued recovering from serious burn injuries after accidentally set herself on fire while lighting a cigarette in front of a Pasadena grocery store on Thursday, police said.
The 78-year-old woman was initially hospitalized in critical condition following the apparent mishap, which took place about 4 p.m. outside of Vons in the Orangewood Center, 155 E. California Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said. An update on her condition was not available Saturday.
The woman and her husband arrived at the store in their car, the lieutenant said. The woman stayed in the car while her husband went inside to make some purchases.
While lighting a cigarette, “It appears she may have accidentally set her clothing on fire while seated in the vehicle,” Goodman said.
Witnesses noticed the fire and pulled the woman from the car before rescuers arrived, he added.
Paramedics rushed the woman to a hospital with “significant” burn injuries, Goodman said.
Police recovered a disposable cigarette lighter at the scene.
Though the incident appeared accidental, police and Pasadena fire officials still investigating, Goodman said. “There’s nothing to suggest there was any foul play.”

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Suspects jailed after short pursuit of stolen car in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Police arrested a man and teen following a brief pursuit in a stolen car, as well as the man’s brother, who they say interfered with the arrest on Friday, officials said.
Jose Ibarra, 19, of Pasadena and a teenage boy were booked on suspicion of auto theft, while Ibarra’s brother, Rafael Ibarra, was accused of resisting police with violence and resisting or obstructing police, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
The incident began about 1:25 p.m. when patrol officers received a notification from an automated license plate reader that a Ford Escape driving in the area of Penn Street and Garfield Avenue had been reported stolen, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
The driver, later identified as Jose Ibarra, refused to pull over, initiating a chase, he said.
The teenage passenger got out of the car and ran in the area of Howard Street and Fair Oaks Avenue, but was soon captured, the lieutenant said.
The driver of the Ford Escape continued until he reached Navarro Avenue, just south of Howard Street, where he pulled over near his home, Hettema said. As officers took the driver into custody, his older brother came outside and interfered with the arrest, Hettema said. Rafael Ibarra scuffled with officers before being arrested on suspicion of resisting police with violence and resisting or obstructing police. He was treated for a minor injury suffered in the scuffle before being booked into jail.
According to county booking records, Jose Ibarra was being held in lieu of $75,000 pending his initial court appearance, while Rafael Ibarra was being held in lieu of $51,000 bail.

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Man robs teenage girl of soft drink at knifepoint in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Police are seeking a man who they say robbed a teenage girl of a bottle of soda at knifepoint on Wednesday afternoon.
The crime took place about 5 p.m. at Lincoln Avenue and Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The robber approached a teenage girl, grabber by the arm, brandished a knife and demanded her cell phone, Luna said.
When the girl refused to turn over her phone, the robber snatched a bottle of soda she was holding and ran away, according to the lieutenant.
He was last seen running west along Orange Grove Boulevard. The girl was not injured.
Police described the robber as a white or Latino man in his late-teens, about 5 feet 2 inches tall, of thin build, wearing a T-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241.

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Police: Officers involved in Kendrec McDade shooting not involved in altercation with Reginald Thomas Jr. in Pasadena prior to death

PASADENA >> Police on Sunday identified the six Pasadena police officers involved in subduing and arresting a man who ultimately died in police custody late last month, contradicting claims by the man’s family’s attorney that one of the involved officers was the same who was involved in the controversial police shooting of an unarmed 19-year-old man in 2012.
A wrongful death claim filed Friday against Pasadena police by attorney Caree Harper named two Pasadena police officers — Officer Mathew Griffin and Sgt. Aguilar, whose first name was not listed — as being involved in the arrest of Reginald Thomas Jr., 35, of Pasadena early on Sept. 29 at an apartment in the 200 block of East Orange Grove Blvd. Griffin was one of two officers who was involved in the March, 2012, shooting of Kendrec McDade.
But in a written statement issued Sunday, Pasadena police released the identities of six officers the department who “took part in the altercation” with Thomas. Neither of the two officers named in the wrongful death claim were present, according to police.
The involved officers were identified as: Officer Thomas Butler, Officer Robert Griffith, Officer Michael Orosco, Officer Phillip Poirer, Officer Raphael Santiago and Officer Aaron Villacana.
One of the two officers involved in the McDade shooting arrived on the scene after Thomas had already been detained, but it was Officer Jeffrey Newlen, not Mathew Griffin, police said.
“After Mr. Thomas had been restrained, Officer Jeffrey Newlen arrived at the location and assisted with CPR,” according to the police statement.
Pasadena Police Phillip Sanchez could not be reached for comment over the weekend.
Harper maintained her position.
“We stand behind several eye witness statements which place Officer Griffin and Sgt. Aguilar inside the apartment. We also stand behind the videotape clip that appears to be Griffin,” she said.
“Unless Chief Sanchez discloses the identity of the officer depicted in the photo and provides a specific denial that Griffin and Aguilar were not involved, we have no reason to question eyewitness’ account at this time,” she said.
Thomas died after being shocked with Tasers and taken into custody after confronting officer with a knife and a fire extinguisher, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives, who are spearheading the investigation into Thomas’ death. Police responded to calls from the home reporting that Thomas was armed with a knife, acting strangely and apparently under the influence of drugs.
Harper alleges that police punched, kicked and struck Thomas in the head and upper body with batons and “hogtied” him before he stopped breathing, causing his death. Thomas officials cause of death has not been released by coroner’s investigators, and details of the coroner’s investigation are being withheld due to a “security hold” placed on the normally public information by sheriff’s investigators.
Sheriff’s investigators said Thomas was not beaten, and that although his wrists were handcuffed and his ankled tied together, he was never hogtied with his wrists and ankles linked.
Police also disputed the allegation set forth in the wrongful death claim that police delayed providing CPR to Thomas, as well as calling in paramedics to help.
“Upon restraining Mr. Thomas, the officers observed him not breathing, at which time, they immediately began CPR and life-saving measures,” according to the police statement.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are investigating the in-custody death, along with simultaneous investigations by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner and Pasadena police administrators.

*UPDATED with comment from attorney Caree Harper

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