Covina church honors, prays for first responders


COVINA >> A Covina congregation offered special prayers and blessings Sunday for police, firefighters and others in harms way during a small but heartfelt special mass to honor first responders.
It was the third annual first responders ceremony hosted at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 3rd Avenue and Badillo Street, with a strong showing from Covina police, including the family of fallen Covina police Sgt. Scott Hanson. Parishioners also reflected on the sacrifice of Covina police Officer Jordan Corder, killed in an on-duty motorcycle crash less than a year ago on Sept. 30.
Led by the Rev. Steve De Muth and the Rev. William Peyton, the parish asked God’s protection and guidance for those who stand in watch over society.
“It is our sincere hope that by recognizing the work you do, and by offering our prayers and out fellowship, we will strengthen the bonds of community,” De Muth said. “For this is the job of religion, to support one another in our particular vocations 0928_NWS_SGT-L-RESPONDERS2to love god and to love our neighbors.”
De Muth cited the book of Isaiah, which calls upon the faithful to “Go set a watchman” to serve as a moral conscience of a society. The verse inspired the title of the recently published sequel to Harper Lee’s, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
He likened the role of first responders to the biblical watchmen.
“Did you know that when an officer dies, they say his watch has ended?” De Muth said.
De Muth also called on the congregation to pray for firefighters and all other first responders who regularly risk their own safety to protect others.
“Be with them today and protect them always as they continue their diligence on the streets of our nation,” Peyton prayed. “For those who have given their lives, we ask that their families are healed and protected from more harm, and that your healing balm may bring them peace.”
Police officers lined up to receive a blessing from the priests. Several offered up their duty belts to be blessed as well.
Officer Hanson’s widow, Allison Hanson, attended the ceremony with her children Sarah and Andrew.
0928_NWS_SGT-L-RESPONDERS4Andrew has followed in his father’s footsteps. Having recently graduated a law enforcement academy, the young police officer is now undergoing training with the Glendale Police Department.
Allison said she and her family are grateful for the ongoing show of support from the community.
“To have the department here, and the city, and our family, it’s pretty amazing,” she said.
Sunday’s ceremony coincided with the church’s Feast of St. Michael of All Angeles, De Muth explained.
Following Mass, the church presented attending officers with certificated of appreciation and medallions depicting St. Michael, known as the patron saint of first responders.
“What a blessing it is when our church communities come together to raise up our officers — those who, as Father Steve said, stand watch on our behalf. And we’re so thankful,” Covina Mayor John King said.
“We have officers who care, who stand up on our behalf, and who we should say thank you to every single day,” he said. “God bless each and every one of them.”

PHOTOS: [TOP, BOTTOM] – Courtesy of David Clarke/Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. [CENTER] Staff photo by Brian Day

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Deja Vu: Pasadena’s new police chief comes from Santa Monica

The last chief Barney Melekian erned his striped in Santa Monica. Now Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck has reached out to the westside to choose Phil Sanchez as Pasadena’s next chief, sources close to the process said Wednesday,

PASADENA – Santa Monica Deputy Chief Phil Sanchez will be named the next Pasadena police chief, according to a source familiar with the hiring process.

City officials have not yet named Sanchez, but have said that the candidate for the job is undergoing a psychological exam this week, and will be revealed to the public next Tuesday.

The city manager was given the task of selecting Pasadena’s new police chief but has never released the names of the finalists for the job.

Sources close to the selection process named the three finalists as Sanchez, interim Police Chief Chris Vicino, and Covina Police Chief Kim Raney.

The 53-year-old Sanchez has served his entire career in the Santa Monica Police Department and was a candidate to become chief in that city during the last hiring process in 2006.

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Taxpayers fund West Covina PD junket at beach resort

Some would call this living large. The timing is questionable considering the state of West Covina’s finances are such that the city can’t even afford to pay to televise its council meetings and still faces lawsuits from two employees that could cost $100,000s. 

Here’s Tom Himes investigative piece:

WEST COVINA – The city’s police commanders started a three day and two night team building workshop on Monday at a four star resort and spa in Orange County.

Police Chief Frank Wills said 21 officers and two civilian staffers participated in the first day of the retreat at Marriott’s Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa in Dana Point.

“We need to develop a plan for the future,” Wills said. “We’re going to have to downsize (because of fiscal challenges) and we have to develope a plan for that.”

The resort offers two outdoor heated pools, whirlpools, yoga classes and full-service spa, according to its Web site.

The taxpayer funded California Commission on Peace Officer’s Standards and Training (POST) will reimburse the city for about $8,000 in expenses associated with the retreat, City Manager Andrew Pasmant said.

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“No to secrecy” in Pasadena Police Chief selection process

I’m going to reprint the Star-news editorial from this morning here, because it’s an appropriate call for open government in a process that has  so far been a perversion of California open public records law:

WE applaud Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck for convening a second, more inclusive and open police chief selection advisory panel.

Criticized by many in the community, including ourselves, for keeping his initial panel shrouded in secrecy, Beck apparently now sees the real need for openness in city government.

Perhaps the city manager had to scramble a bit to finally understand the reasons such openness is important. And we do strongly wish that the names of those on the original committee had been made public, the same as every other commission and committee in City Hall, before its members met, not after. But Beck can’t unring that bell. It would seem that he has heard the criticism, and responded in an appropriate manner.

One of the most telling things to come out of the after-the-fact naming of those who did serve on the panel was the panel’s clear lack of economic and geographical diversity among its members – a front-loading of insiders and bureaucrats with not even a sprinkling of regular folks.

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El Monte cops worried about budget cuts

El Monte cops say longer response times, less cops on the street and higher crime will be the end result of proposed budget cuts. They took their message to City Hall Tuesday night in hopes of impressing the City Council that no matter how cash poor the city might be it still needs its police force.

Here’s Bethania Palma’s story:

City officials have warned the police department that 14 to 17 officers could be laid off in an effort to manage a ballooning budget deficit. POA officials said Tuesday they hoped President Barack Obama’s signing of the stimulus bill and the possible pending resolution of the state budget could help resolve the need for such lay-offs.

“It’s going to kill the police department and it’s a slap in the face to the people that live and work here,” said El Monte police Detective Eric Walterscheid, the association’s vice president. “It’s going to disrupt the department’s ability to protect the city.”

Some said losing more than a dozen officers could jeopardize public safety and result in a longer wait before help arrives in some types of calls

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