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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Citizens Police Academy Weeks 11 and 12 -- Heliport, Ridealong and Role Playing

I got so busy that I fell behind on blog posts about Citizens Police Academy so I decided to post a brief recap of the last two classes. 

On April 10 (Week 11) we met at the Pasadena Police Department heliport, located midway between JPL and the Rose Bowl Stadium. We learned all about the Air Operations Section.

The video at the top of this post will give you details about Air Ops.

Surplus helicopters are donated by the U.S. military and are just shells when they are received. They become Pasadena police helicopters after a lot of mechanical and body work and a nice paint job.

We also learned about the K-9 program. Figo, a Belgian Malinois, is one of the Pasadena Police Department canine officers. He and his partner, Officer Steve Arcand, participate in patrol and narcotics operations. During a really interesting exercise, Figo successfully sniffed out some small, hidden boxes of narcotics.

The SWAT team drove the BearCat up to the heliport and told us about their operations. Officer Tai Wotherspoon is one of only two female members of the SWAT team.

Park safety and the gang unit rounded out week 11.

On April 9 I had my ridealong in a patrol car. I had been on patrol, paramedic and helicopter ridealongs when I was the Pasadena PIO; a patrol ridealong is required for everyone in the Citizens Police Academy class.

I rode with Officer Bill "Ship" Shipman. I knew him from his 12 years on the HOPE Team when I was the Pasadena PIO but hadn't seen him since I retired in 2012.

At 7:30 I sat in on the morning briefing.

Just before we left, my partner checked the equipment, weapons and systems in the patrol car, and I put on a bulletproof vest.

Then we headed out in the Midtown Service Area. Geographically it is the smallest area, but it includes Old Pasadena, the Playhouse DistrictSouth Lake and the Civic Center, so it is often the busiest service area.

Our time together included a couple of residential alarm calls...

...a trip back to the Civic Center to transport a prisoner from the Pasadena Jail to the courthouse across the street...

...a stop at the South Raymond Substation across from Central Park...

...and a call about a man trying to kick in the door of his estranged wife's apartment (I redacted the address and phone number below).

I stayed n the car for that one and watched as my partner walked up to the apartment complex, where another officer had arrived as well.

The time passed much more quickly than I anticipated. I really appreciated the opportunity to accompany Ship for the day.

On April 17 I was back at the Police Department for Week 12 of Citizens Police Academy -- the role-playing session.

Two to four of us at a time were selected to play the role of police officers in specific scenarios.

Three young people from the Police Explorer Program were brought in to play the role of suspects in the scenarios. Cpl. Glenn Thompson (left) introduced them and walked us through what to expect generally, without telling us what the specific scenarios would be.

Each class member assigned to role-play was given an orange faux gun.

In this scenario, a wife had physically attacked her husband shortly before a couple of "officers" arrived.

Other scenarios included people gambling in a park (one had a gun, as it turned out) and a vehicle stopped because of suspicious activity.

Retired Pasadena Police Lieutenant Rodney D. Wallace joined us, sitting in the back of the room. It was great to see him! I thought he was just stopping by for old time's sake; little did any of us know he would suddenly assume the role of a suspect who was drunk in public and refusing to obey "officers'" commands while at the same time overtly flirting with them..

All of these scenarios provided an opportunity for a hands-on learning experience during which we did our best to follow protocols. But at the end of the day, we're not trained police officers. There was constructive criticism about each of our scenarios, followed by sworn police officers demonstrating how each scenario would be handled on their watch.

This evening of role-playing really helped us gain insight into the often intense, daily challenges sworn officers face and the split-second decisions they sometimes have to make in the protection of life and property.

My favorite photo of the night:

The son of Officer Joe Reinbold, one of our co-facilitators, was there. Like father, like son!

See all of my blog posts labeled "Citizens Police Academy" by clicking here.

On April 24 we graduated! I'll write a separate post about our graduation evening in the next couple of days.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events April 25 to April 30

Here are my top picks for events scheduled from Friday, April 25, to Thursday, May 1.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

College Night at Norton Simon Museum is Friday, April 25, from 7 to 9 p.m., including curator- and conservator-led tours for a behind-the-scenes look at the museum's inner workings. Be sure to bring your student ID.

The 14th annual Caltech Jazz Festival Saturday, April 26, from 1 to 5 p.m. outdoors at the Gates Annex (Building 26 on this map) will feature the Caltech Monday Night Jazz Band, Pasadena City College Jazz Ensemble, Lounge-O-Rama and the Nick Broten Quartet.

Thirty plein air artists will paint views of Arlington Garden in oils and water colors Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come view Arlington Garden through their eyes and stroll through the garden at its spring best!

The Caltech-Occidental Symphony, Caltech Glee Club and Occidental Glee Club will perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and Mozart's Requiem Sunday, April 27, at 3:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church.

The ground at the future site of the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial will be blessed Sunday, April 27, during a 6 p.m. public ceremony at the north side of Memorial Park.

Children will meet Ruger the first response dog and learn what his duties are Monday, April 28, at 3:30 p.m. at Santa Catalina Branch Library.

Join adventurer and photographer Pierre Odier, who spent 16 days in the jungles of Papua, New Guinea, Monday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m. at Distant Lands.

Pasadena Presbyterian Church presents violinist YuEun Kim and pianist Jiayi Wednesday, April 30, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. for the popular Music at Noon concert series.

This week's film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library is the 1943 comedy "The More the Merrier" starring Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea Wednesday, April 30, at 1 p.m.

The 25-minute film "My Mother's Voice" will be screened Thursday, May 1, at 7 p.m. at Pasadena Central Library. Based on the novel by Kay Mouradian, the film tells the story of a 14-year-old girl orphaned in the Armenian Genocide and how she found her way to America to marry a man she knew only from a photograph. Mouradian will answer questions from the audience following the film.

Photo credits: Norton Simon Museum, Sherry Schmidt, Beatz, Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee, City of Pasadena, The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles, Concurso Internacional de Violin, IMDB, Kay Mouradian

Friday, April 18, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Aprll 19 to 24

Here are my top picks for events scheduled from Saturday, April 19, to Thursday, April 24.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare tell me there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

Saturday, April 19, at 2 p.m. is the opening reception for "Celebrating Women," a juried art exhibition of original art works at the historic Blinn House, sponsored by the California Art League and the Women's City Club of Pasadena.

Face painting, special treats and a visit from the Easter bunny are among the activities for children Saturday, April 19, from noon to 3 p.m. at Paseo Colorado.

How does one survive being held hostage by an orangutan? What is the proper way to drink cobra blood? Learn the answers to these questions and many more when Justin Rubin, who spent 16 months vagabonding across Asia, speaks Monday, April 21, at 7 p.m. at Distant Lands.

Jules Massenet's opera "Thaïs" is a romantic tragedy set in fourth century Alexandria and the the Egyptian desert. An L.A. Opera community educator will take you through the opera's timeless struggle between earthly desire and spiritual redemption that challenges the resolve of the monk Athanaël and the purity of heart of the courtesan Thaïs Monday, April 21, at 1 p.m. at the Pasadena Senior Center. You don't have to be a member to attend.

The Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized our understanding of stars, galaxies and the nature of our vast universe. Dr. Alan Dressler, staff astronomer at The Carnegie Observatories, will present "Beyond Hubble: New Space Telescopes to Explore the Cosmos" Monday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. at A Noise Within as part of the observatories' 2014 Astronomy Lecture Series.

The Lancer Jazz Big Band will perform Tuesday, April 22, at noon on the west patio at PCC's Center for the Arts.

Pasadena Police Department's Curbside Coffee & Chat get-togethers are quite popular and take place at a different location each time. Chat it up with police officers and park safety specialists, connect with other Pasadenans and enjoy some refreshments Tuesday, April 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at La Pintoresca Branch Library.  There's never an agenda or speech; discuss whatever you want with officers who will be happy to chat with you.

Pasadena Presbyterian Church presents Divan Consort for the popular Music at Noon concert series Wednesday, April 23, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m.

This week's film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library is the 1942 romantic comedy "The Palm Beach Story" starring Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea Wednesday, April 23, at 1 p.m.

It's National Poetry Week! Budding teen poets and their families are invited to a Roaring '20s-themed open mic night at Pasadena Central Library Thursday, April 24, at 6 p.m. 

A filmed documentary interview with the late Wanda Coleman, unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles, will be screened Thursday. April 24, at 6:30 p.m. at Pasadena Central Library.

See the documentary film "MedoraThursday, April 24, at 7 p.m. at Crawford Family Forum about a down-but-not-out varsity basketball team whose struggles to compete parallel the small Indiana town's own fight for survival, then be part of the conversation with producer/director Davy Rothbart. 

Photo credits: Women's City Club, Pinterest, Geography Guide Maps, Metropolitan Opera, National Geographic, Pasadena City College, Christine Medina, Divan Consort, Greenbriar Picture Shows, Rollins College, Poetry Foundation, Medora Film, 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events April 11 to 17

Here are my top picks for events scheduled from Friday, April 11, to Thursday, April 17.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare tell me there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

You don't have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to see "Nebraska" (2013, R) there Friday, April 11, at 1 p.m. starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte.

Ground-breaking research at JPL has impacted everyday life on Earth and can be found everywhere from farms to hospitals to our very own homes. For example, complementary metal oxide silicon (CMOS) camera technology developed at JPL for remote sensing instruments is now in many digital and cell phone cameras worldwide. Join Indrani Graczyk, manager of commercial programs at JPL, for a discussion titled "For the Benefit of All Mankind Friday, April 11, at 7 p.m. in the Vosloh Forum (Building UU on this map) at Pasadena City College. 

Young musicians from schools and conservatories across the U.S. and abroad will perform for a distinguished panel of judges during the 64th annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition Saturday, April 12, beginning at 9 a.m. in Caltech's Ramo Auditorium.

Teens will enjoy an afternoon of anime and Japanese snacks Saturday, April 12, at 2 p.m. at Pasadena Central Library

Teens will learn how college scholarships work, who can get them and where to find them Saturday, April 12, at 2:30 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library

Do you know that members of the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena get free music lessons? See them perform in recital there Monday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m.

If you own a small business or are thinking about starting one, meet with an expert business professional from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) Tuesday, April 15. Appointments are required for these slots from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

Pasadena Presbyterian Church presents classical guitarist Michael Anthony Nigro for the popular Music at Noon concert series Wednesday, April 16, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m.

See the 1941 film "The Lady Eve" starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda Wednesday, April 16, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library.


In commemoration of National Garden Month, Pasadena's very first seed library will be launched Saturday, April 19, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Hill Avenue Branch Library. You'll learn how to check out seeds from the heirloom and open-pollinated collection, enjoy a fun film about the evolution of the seed library and enjoy healthy snacks. There will also be special seed crafts for kids. 

Photo credits:    Chamber Music America, California's Children, Telecomm CorridorWorld Cultures Austin and Rare Seeds