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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Citizens Police Academy Week Five -- Criminal Investigations Division (Part II)

Last week I reported on Part I of our Citizens Police Academy class about the Criminal Investigations Division, which was all about crimes against persons.

On Thursday we had Part II, which was about crimes against property.

See the bad guy in the photo above? He's entering through a doorway into the master bedroom of a Pasadena home. 


The bad guy had just gotten out of prison. The owners had been hit before so they had video surveillance equipment installed. 

Alonzo Wilkins, a detective in the Residential Burglary Unit, showed the video to other detectives and one of them recognized the bad guy, who was traced to a local hotel relatively quickly (stupid criminal syndrome). It's possible he could get three additional years on top of whatever the sentence may be because there were people in the house (in fact, we could hear one person snoring in the surveillance video).

Detective Wilkins:

Do you know the Pasadena Police Department will send someone to your home to conduct a courtesy home security check? They'll take a look at your windows, doors and other parts of your home and property and give you tips for reducing your risk of burglary. Call (626) 744-4551.

Detective Wilkins explained the difference between burglary and robbery: A burglar enters a building with the intent of stealing something; a robber uses force or fear to take something from a person.

After Part II, we learned all about a couple of task forces.

I'll explain in a minute why I cropped out this person's face.

There are two sworn Pasadena police officers who serve on the elite Fugitive Apprehension Task Force for this region, made up of sworn law enforcement officers with the U.S. Marshals Service, Secret Service and municipal and county police agencies. 

What is a fugitive? In this case it's a violent offender with an arrest warrant who has fled the jurisdiction where the crime took place or is hiding within the jurisdiction.

Congress acted quickly after 9/11 to establish 80 task forces across the U.S. so violent fugitives from justice can be apprehended as a result of these team efforts. The task forces collectively brought in 100,000 violent fugitives last year alone.

One of the Pasadena officers with this region's task force spoke to us, but I'm not using his name or showing his face because I'm not sure I'm allowed. (If someone from PD tells me otherwise, I'll include that info.)

Suffice it to say the best of the best risk their lives to hunt down the worst of the worst so the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve will be safer.

The City of Pasadena pays for all costs of the Pasadena officers on the task force with the exception of vehicles and overtime, which are funded by the U.S. Marshals Service.

The other one we learned about is the West San Gabriel Valley Anti-Crime Task Force (that's a PowerPoint screen above; I'm not sure what the wolves represent). 

Based out of the Arcadia Police Department and supervised by Sgt. Christopher Kirby of the Pasadena Police Department, the task force focuses primarily on compliance of AB 109 -- Gov. Jerry Brown's realignment plan implemented in 2011 as a way to comply with a federal court order to reduce California's prison population by shifting the monitoring and housing responsibility of lower-level offenders from the state to local counties.

This task force is made up of sworn officers with police departments in Arcadia, El Monte, Monrovia, Monterey Park, Pasadena and South Pasadena. They are able to pool resources to apprehend people on parole or probation who have violated the terms of their release from prison. They are usually high-risk and at-large. The State of California provides some of the funding.

Here's Sgt. Kirby, who heads up the task force:

The task force also includes an armed officer of the County of Los Angeles Probation Department.

Before we left class for the night, we lined up to schedule ridealongs in patrol cars. Mine will be on April 9.

Citizens Police Academy continues tomorrow evening with the Counter-Terrorism Unit, event planning and professional standards.

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