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The Los Angeles Police Department’s Mental Evaluation Unit’s Mental Illness Project is selected as a Bright Ideas Recipient

Los Angeles: On March 29, 2011, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized 36 government initiatives as Bright Ideas recipients.

This cohort of Bright Ideas addresses a host of pertinent issues including health care, education, performance management, civic engagement, and service delivery, and represents the creative and innovative programming of school districts, county, city, state, and federal agencies, as well as public-private partnerships. The programs were selected by an evaluation team of policy experts comprised of both academics and practitioners.

“Government is struggling to deliver quality services with strapped resources and diminishing budgets,” said Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center. “These 36 government programs demonstrate that creative solutions to some of our nation’s most intractable problems can be generated and succeed in even in the most challenging of environments.”

The Mental Illness Project is a co-response model, utilizing specially trained Los Angeles Police Officers and Clinicians from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, who manage incidents involving persons suffering from a mental health crisis. The goal is to minimize violent encounters with law enforcement and to provide a safe and humane treatment for the most vulnerable members of our society. The Mental Evaluation Unit (MEU) consists of the Triage Desk, the Systemwide Mental Assessment Response Team (SMART), the Case Assessment Management Program (CAMP), and the MEU Training Unit.

As a specialized mental health- law enforcement response unit, the greatest challenge was to take professionals from diverging disciplines working towards similar goals and develop them as a team. It is this unique development of the team that allows the officers to think like a mental health clinician and a mental health clinician to understand the role of law enforcement. Ultimately, this has developed into a holistic approach to managing calls for service involving persons suffering from a mental illness and/or a mental health crisis. Officers and clinicians develop management schemes which employ an array of options from referrals for service, hospitalization and or management of the subject within the jail system.Its recent selection by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, and Bureau of Justice Assistance as one of six Specialized Policing Responses: Law Enforcement/Mental Health national learning sites coupled with the Bright Ideas Award, supports the MEU strategy as being among the national models and leaders in the development of a humane law enforcement response to persons with mental illness. Information regarding the Bright Ideas Award can be obtained by contacting Lieutenant Lionel M. Garcia, LAPD, Mental Illness Project Coordinator at 213-996-1300. Additional information about the learning sites project is available on the project’s website at www.consensusproject.org/learningsites.


Collision with Tractor-Trailer Kills Pedestrian

Los Angeles: A 63-year-old resident of Los Angeles was killed Wednesday morning while crossing the street after being hit by a tractor trailer rig.

On Wednesday March 30, 2011,at about 10:40 a.m., Kelly Shimizu was walking westbound on Santa Monica Boulevard at Cotner Avenue,in a marked crosswalk. A 64-year-old driver and resident of Whittier was driving a 1990 Volvo tractor with a double trailer westbound on Santa Monica Boulevard, making a right turn to northbound Cotner Avenue.  As the driver made the turn one of the trailers struck and killed Shimizu.

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded and pronounced Shimizu dead at scene.

Investigators do not believe there was any crime involved; there was no evidence of alcohol or drug intoxication. The collision appears to be a tragic accident.  

Anyone with information about this incident, please contact LAPD, West Traffic Detective Section, Detective Hernandez at 213-473-0222. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


LAPD Detectives Investigate Stolen Cargo

UPDATE
April 19, 2011

The stolen cargo has been identified as Sephora® products being sold on Ebay® and at three perfume shops located in downtown Los Angeles, Huntington Park and the City of Commerce.  Anyone who may have purchased these products is asked to contact LAPD to assist with the investigation.  Sephora® is offering a reward for the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for this crime.

 

Los Angeles:  LAPD Commercial Crimes Division detectives are investigating a cargo theft case that occurred in Utah.  The stolen product was being stored and sold in the Los Angeles area.

In mid-March 2011, LAPD detectives from the Commercial Crimes Division’s Commercial Auto Theft Section (CATS) Cargo Unit were notified by a cosmetics company that a container load worth $4 million was stolen in Utah in mid-February 2011.  The load was bound for Washington state.  The company lost two previous loads, one in 2009 and another in 2010.  The company’s loss prevention detail traced the stolen 2011 product to Los Angeles and CATS detectives took over the investigation.  Several possible locations were identified and surveillance evidence was gathered.  

On March 24, 2011, detectives observed material being loaded into a delivery truck from a large warehouse in South Gate.  Fearing evidence may be lost, detectives went into the open warehouse business and saw what appeared to be the stolen product.  After obtaining consent from the business, detectives searched the area.  Employees of the company confirmed the product as the items stolen in February 2011.  The detective immediately secured the location and detained eight employees.

Further investigation revealed four additional locations containing stolen product from the company: 9th and Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, Pacific Boulevard in Huntington Park and East Washington Boulevard in the City of Commerce.  Stolen product was recovered from all four locations, totaling approximately $2 million.  

No arrests have been made at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call Commercial Crimes Division Cargo Hijack Unit Detective Zavala at 213-847-3787.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) using a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters can also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


2011 Recognition Award Ceremony

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Today, the Los Angeles Police Department recognized forty six sworn and civilian men and women for their dedication and commitment to the people of Los Angeles at the 2011 Recognition Award Ceremony.  The recipients were recognized by the Department for numerous awards. 

Before the awards were presented, Chief Beck stated, “This is a great organization, I’m proud to be part of it, I’m proud to be its leader.  However what I’m most proud of is, the men and women that make up the ranks of police officers.”

One recipient was given the “Community Policing Medal.”   The Community Policing Medal is awarded to Department personnel who have solved a significant community problem, included the community in the problem solving process, and/or shown a commitment to the Department's Community Policing philosophy.  The Community Policing Medal may be awarded to an individual or to an organizational entity within the Department.

One recipient was given the “Police Distinguished Service Medal.”  The Police Distinguished Service Medal is the Department's highest award for service and may be awarded to employees who distinguish themselves by performing exceptional service in a duty of great responsibility or of critical importance to law enforcement.

Seven recipients were given the “Lifesaving Medal.”  The life saving Medal is awarded to recognize the actions of Department personnel that result in the saving or preservation of human life that otherwise would have been lost without the employee's direct involvement.  An employee can receive only one lifesaving award per incident, regardless of how many victims were involved.  The award consists of a medal, lapel pin, and ribbon.

Thirty seven recipients were given the “Police Star.”  Employees who distinguish themselves by bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of duty, but to a lesser degree than required for the Police Medal. Employees who distinguish themselves by performing in stressful situations with exceptional tactics and/or judgment. The award consists of a medal, lapel pin, and a ribbon.

The ceremony was held in the Ronald Deaton Auditorium.  The auditorium was filled with members of the Department, family, and friends sharing in the special moment with their loved ones.

 


Notes from the March 29, 2011 Weekly Police Commission Meeting

•    Police Commission Vice President Alan Skobin attended the annual SWAT Officers banquet which celebrated their 40th anniversary.  He said it was a very special event and was humbled to be around such an elite and heroic group.

•    Chief Charlie Beck informed the Board he attended a meeting with Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, at Staples Center last week regarding the “See Something, Say Something,” “iWatch” campaign.  He also attended the memorial services for former Secretary of State Warren Christopher.  He said it was a dignified ceremony for a dignified man and was well attended.

•     The Department’s report, dated March 14, 2011, relative to transmittal of the grant application and award acceptance for the 2010 California Coverdell Program, was approved and transmitted to the Mayor and City Council.

•    The Department’s report, dated March 21, 2011, relative to motorcycle training contract – agreement No. 0112109, was approved and transmitted to the Mayor.

•    The Department’s report, dated March 23, 2011, relative to professional services agreement with Celplan Technologies, Inc. for the LAPD wireless camera surveillance system – Foothill Area, was approved and transmitted to the Mayor.  Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese informed the Board the issues of concern have been resolved and during years 2-5 of the contract the tech company has agreed to cover all maintenance of the system.

•    The Department’s report, dated March 21, 2011, relative to analysis of Jay Beeber’s report entitled Safer Streets in Los Angeles: Why Engineering Countermeasures are more effective then Photo Enforcement in Reducing Red Light Related Crashes (City Council Motion 11-0125), was withdrawn and rescheduled for presentation to the Board on April 19.

•    The Department’s report, dated March 21, 2011, relative to destruction of obsolete duplicate records, was approved and transmitted to the City Clerk, Records Management Officer.

•    The Department’s report, dated July 29, 2010, and Inspector General’s report, dated March 23, 2011, relative to the Ethics Enforcement Section quarterly report, second quarter 2010, as given by Inspector General Nicole Bershon, was approved.  Ms. Bershon stated the audit was well conducted and it was completed and up to standards.  She added they are looking for a way to have complaints, which are currently submitted via email to the Department website, re-routed directly to Professional Standards Bureau.


Sex Crime Suspect Arrested in East Los Angeles Detectives Seeking Additional Victims

Los Angeles:  The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Hollenbeck Area, Sex Crimes Unit Detectives have arrested 28-year-old Edward Gonzalez for Unlawful Sex with a Minor.

On March 25, 2011, at around 7:50 p.m., Hollenbeck Patrol Officers responded to a radio call of a kidnap in progress in the 300 block of Cornwell Street in LAPD’s Hollenbeck area.  The officers were flagged down by community members who were holding down the suspect of the alleged kidnap.

Detective’s further investigation revealed that Gonzalez was seen earlier, approaching several small children, who were playing in the area with the promise of giving the children money. He then lured a 6-year-old girl to accompany him to a local school.  Once at school, the suspect sexually assaulted the victim inside a utility closet.  The victim was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment and later released.

Gonzalez is a male Hispanic with brown hair, brown eyes, 5 feet 7 inches tall, and weighs approximately 160 pounds. He is currently on Parole and a resident of the area.  He was booked into Men’s Central Jail on March 26, 2011 and is facing charge for a sex crime against a minor under 10 years of age or younger and is being held on $250,000 bail.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department, Hollenbeck Area Sex Crime Unit detectives at 323-342-8994.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD”.  Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


Fatal Hit-and-Run Leaves one Man Dead and Four Injured

Los Angeles:  LAPD West Traffic Division detectives are asking for the public’s help in providing any information about a fatal traffic collision that occurred in Koreatown.  

On Saturday, March 26, 2011, at around 2:28 a.m., a fatal traffic collision occurred on James M.Wood Boulevard and Ardmore Avenue in LAPD’s Olympic Area.  Ricardo Leos, a 19-year-old resident of Los Angeles, was driving a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse eastbound on James M. Boulevard.  As Leos approached Ardmore Avenue, he was directly behind a 2004 Toyota Camry, also eastbound on James M. Wood.  At the intersection, The Camry was turning left onto   Ardmore Avenue.  Leos drove the Eclipse into the oncoming lane and tried to pass the Camry’s left side, causing both cars to collide.  After the collision, the Camry continued southbound and came to a stop at the northeast corner.  The Eclipse rolled upside down and slid into a power pole, then collided with a parked car.  The Eclipse finally came to rest in the westbound lane of Ardmore Avenue.

After the collision, Leos left the scene without rendering aid or identifying himself as required by law.  

Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedics responded and pulled out Jacento Ojeda, a 41-year-old Los Angeles resident from the front passenger seat of the Eclipse.  Ojeda was pronounced dead at the scene. Another passenger was also pulled out from the rear passenger seat of the Eclipse and rushed to a local hospital where he was treated for injuries.  The driver of the Camry and two other passengers were transported to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Leos was later arrested at his residence and he was booked on suspicion of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter. He is being held at Men’s Central Jail in lieu of $100,000.00 bail. The initial investigation conducted at scene indicates that alcohol was a factor in this traffic collision.

Anyone with information about this incident, please contact LAPD, West Traffic Detective Section at 213-473-0222.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


LAPD Southeast Area Officer-Involved Shooting

UPDATE
March 31, 2011


The officer who fired his weapon in the incident below has been identified.  He is Police Officer II Carlos Lozano; he has been an officer in the Department for nine years and 11 months.

 

Los Angeles: On March 24, 2011, at around 11:20 pm, LAPD officers working patrol in the Southeast Area saw suspect Akil Francis walking at 95th Street and Maie Avenue.  As the officers walked toward Francis, he spontaneously ran away from the officers and a foot pursuit occurred.        

The officers followed Francis to the rear alley west of Grandee Avenue.   During the foot pursuit the suspect pointed a stainless steel revolver at one of the officers, at which time an officer-involved shooting (OIS) occurred.  The suspect dropped the revolver and jumped over a fence to the rear of a residence located in the 9500 block of Grandee Avenue and ran away, but was later taken into custody without incident when he surrendered to officers just prior to a K-9 search.  

A loaded stainless steel revolver handgun was recovered at the OIS scene.  Akil Francis, is a documented gang member.   Neither the officers or suspect were injured.  

LAPD Force Investigation Division (FID) responded and is investigating the officer-involved shooting.  The FID Criminal Apprehension Team is coordinating the criminal prosecution of the suspect.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call FID Detective Robert Solarza at 213-486-5230. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


San Diego Woman Missing from West Los Angeles

                            UPDATE
                            03-25-11

Vanessa Brewer has been found and is with her family.

 

Los Angeles:  The family of Vanessa Loftus-Brewer and the Los Angeles Police Department are asking for the public’s help to find Ms. Brewers who was visiting the West Los Angeles area from San Diego.

On March 22, 2011, at around 5:00 p.m., Vanessa Loftus-Brewer, was visiting a Self Realization Center in the 17100 block of West Sunset Blvd, West Los Angeles.  The missing person left her vehicle, purse, car keys and all possessions for unknown reasons and walked away from the location.  Her family and friends say that it is uncharacteristic behavior for her not to have contact with them and are concerned for her well-being.  

Vanessa Loftus-Brewer and is described as a 28-year-old white female, with reddish brown hair and brown eyes.  She stands 5’07” tall, weighs approximately 135 pounds and has an “athletic” build.  Ms. Brewers was last seen wearing a long sleeve turquoise shirt and blue jeans.  

If you have seen, or have any information regarding the whereabouts of Ms. Brewers, please contact the Los Angeles Police Department’s  Missing Persons Unit: (213) 996-1800 or West Los Angeles Division at 310-444-0702.  

During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


 


Officers Threatened by Armed Suspect after Traffic Stop Resulting in an Officer Involved Shooting

UPDATE
March 30, 2011

The officers who fired their weapons in the incident below have been identified:  Police Officer III Clement Toscano, 16 years and two months with the Department and Police Officer I Ryan Quiroga who has been with the Department for one year, 2 months.

 Los Angeles:  On March 23, 2011, at about 2:25 p.m., uniformed Harbor Division officers were on routine patrol when they conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle at King Avenue and F Street in the City of Wilmington.      

Immediately after the Ford Mustang stopped, a male suspect later identified as 26-year-old Eduardo Velasco, got out of the front passenger seat armed with a stainless steel semi-automatic handgun and ran south on King Avenue away from the officers.   The officers gave chase and followed Velasco to the 500 block of King Avenue where he jumped over a wrought iron fence.  The officers verbally ordered Velasco to stop and drop the gun.   Despite the officer’s orders to drop the gun, Velasco raised the handgun pointing it at the officers, resulting in an officer involved shooting.  Velasco dropped the gun and ran through an apartment complex where he was taken into custody without incident by responding officers.  

There were no injuries as a result of the OIS.  A semi-automatic handgun was recovered at the scene.            

Force Investigation Division (FID) responded and are investigating the officer involved shooting.  The FID Criminal Apprehension Team is coordinating the criminal prosecution of the suspect.

The investigation will ultimately be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Office of the Inspector General and Board of Police Commissioners for compliance with the Department’s use-of-force policy which states that an officer’s use of force actions must be objectively reasonable.  Additionally, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division will conduct a comprehensive review of the facts of the officer-involved shooting.