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Operation Shoes from Santa 2013

December 12, 2013 – With “snow” falling from the sky and carolers singing the songs of the season, Santa Claus rode in on a LAPD T-3 to greet the many families with children who attended the 2nd Annual Olympic Division “Operation Shoes from Santa”.  The event, held at one of the newest LAPD facilities, featured a real snow-patch, Santa’s Workshop (sponsored by The Home Depot), food trucks, LAPD displays and Santa Clause himself.

20131213085405406The children in attendance had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they wanted under their tree.  After the visit each child was provided with a stocking stuffed with holiday treats and a pair of new shoes.  In all, the officers at Olympic Division distributed more than 2,200 pairs of new shoes.

The success of this event is heavily reliant upon the generous donations and fundraising efforts of the businesses, non-profit and community organizations in and around Olympic area.  The Department would like to thank everyone involved in making the “Operation Shoes from Santa” event a success.  Their generous efforts went a long way in spreading holiday cheer. 


Green-eyed Shooter Identified in Road-rage Murder

Los Angeles:  Detectives have identified 24-year-old Luis Alberto Gutierrez, Jr., as the shooter in the July 13 road-rage incident that ended with the death of 22-year-old Richard Ruiz of North Hollywood.  A warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Gutierrez is a member of a local San Fernando Valley street gang, with the moniker, “Green Eyes.”  It was his striking green eyes that the dead victim’s passengers recalled seeing as Gutierrez’s gray Challenger overtook the red Kia and fired into the car, striking Richard Ruiz in the neck.  “Our victim was a nice kid, with no gang ties or criminal history,” Lt. Vernon explained.  “He and his friends were on their way to play basketball that afternoon when Gutierrez decided to rage for no good reason.”

Gutierrez has green eyes, drove the same model of gray Challenger, and he started to change his appearance in the days following the shooting.

Detectives found his Challenger abandoned, covered in dust, in Montebello a few weeks later.  “Interestingly, we impounded the car and sent notices to the owner, but he’s never appeared to claim his car back,” Lt. Vernon said.

Gutierrez has been on the run since early August.  He is on probation for carrying a loaded gun and has missed appointments with his probation officer.  Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Gutierrez in the road-rage murder.  “We believe he is still in the area, but might be going back and forth to Mexico,” Lt. Vernon added.  “Anyone with information is encouraged to call us, please.”

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Ryan Verna, Mission Homicide Unit, at 818-838-9976.  Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.


Veteran LAPD Officers arrested for Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Los Angeles:  Two veteran Los Angeles police officers have been arrested following an internal investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit.

December 11, 2013, the LAPD’s Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit initiated investigations stemming from medical claims filed by two Los Angeles Police Officers.  Police Officer John Hall and Police Officer Ralph Mendoza both filed medical claims in late 2012 prompting investigations by the LAPD Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit.  

Investigators working in partnership with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Healthcare Fraud Division established probable cause to believe that Officer Hall knowingly provided false testimony during a deposition related to his industrial injury claim under the penalty of perjury and received benefits to which he was not entitled.  In the case of Officer Mendoza, the investigation revealed that Officer Mendoza falsified medical documents related to his industrial injury claim and received benefits to which he was not entitled.  As a result of the investigations arrest warrants were obtained for both officers.

“Public trust is at the very core of the police profession, and when that trust is violated we must employ every measure to restore it,” said Chief Charlie Beck.  “I am troubled whenever our officers are accused of violating that trust.  As the Chief, it is my duty to ensure that we fully investigate these cases of alleged misconduct and to take appropriate action when the misconduct is found to be true” Beck concluded.

Police Officer II Jonathan Hall, a 19-year veteran of the LAPD, last assigned to Emergency Services Division, surrendered to authorities today pursuant to an arrest warrant listing four felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud, insurance fraud, grand theft and attempted perjury.

Officer Hall was booked for the charges with bail set at $80,000.  Officer Hall is 45 years old and resides within Los Angeles County, California.  Officer Hall is assigned home pending the outcome of both the criminal and administrative investigations.

Police Officer  II Ralph Mendoza, a 13-year veteran of the LAPD, last assigned to Hollenbeck Patrol Division, surrendered to authorities today pursuant to an arrest warrant listing two felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud, and grand theft.

Officer Mendoza was booked on the charges and held on $40,000 bail.  Officer Mendoza is 44 years old and resides in San Bernardino County, California.  Officer Mendoza is currently relieved from duty and is pending the outcome of a Department Board of Rights.   

The Workers Compensation Fraud Unit was expanded in late 2008 to investigate workers’ compensation fraud and other allegations involving abuse of benefits by employees.  The goal of the Department is to aggressively investigate fraud and abuse of benefits within the workers’ compensation system.

Anyone with information related to this case, or any other case, is encouraged to call the Los Angeles Police Department, Special Operations Division, at 213-473-5672.  During non-business hours or 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 key pads) using a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters can also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “web tips” and follow the prompts.


Brother Fatally Shoots Invalid Sister at Hospital

Los Angeles: Police officers arrested 60-year-old Lance Holger Anderson this morning after he walked into a North Hills convalescent hospital and shot his 58-year-old sister, Lisa Nave, as she lay invalid in her bed.  Anderson announced he was walking into the adjoining patio to await police arrival.  He surrendered without any resistance, and left the gun lying on a table next to his dead sister.

The shooting occurred around 9:20 AM, at the Country Villa Sheraton Convalescent and Rehabilitation Hospital, located at 9655 Sepulveda Boulevard.  No other patients or staff were threatened or confronted by Anderson during the incident.

When Mrs. Nave’s husband, son, and daughter first heard what happened from hospital staff, their first thought went to Anderson’s wife, who was suffering from medical issues as well.  “Lisa’s husband told me over the phone that he wondered, if Lance were under arrest, who would care for his wife, or worse, did he shoot her, too?” explained Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division.  “So the family called the sheriff in Santa Clarita to conduct a welfare check, and responding deputies did find a dead woman, presumed to be Lance’s wife, at the Anderson home in Santa Clarita.”

Detectives booked Anderson for the murder of his sister, and the bail amount had not yet been determined at the time of this release.  The gun left at the hospital was a small-caliber, derringer-type revolver.

According to family, Lisa Nave had been invalid since 2008, staying at the hospital where she got constant care.  Her family visited her often.  She came out of a coma four years ago, but had remained invalid and in need of close care.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is investigating the shooting death of the woman found in Anderson’s home in Santa Clarita, while LAPD detectives will handle the North Hills investigation.

“The motives and rationale for this kind of shooting can never be justified legally,” Lt. Vernon added, “Mr. Anderson made a unilateral, fateful decision to take two lives and forever alter his and so many others who loved his wife and his sister.”

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Efren Gutierrez, Mission Homicide Unit, at 818-838-9948.  Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.


Los Angeles Police Department Cracking Down on Impaired Drivers during Holidays Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Los Angeles: This holiday season, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) will be out in force cracking down on impaired drivers with special DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoints.  In anticipation of the holiday season, the LAPD has planned the following sobriety checkpoints and driving-under-the-influence (DUI) patrols:

Thursday, December 12
Checkpoint in 77th Street Area at Slauson Avenue and Buckler Avenue from 7 P.M. to 1 A.M.
DUI Saturation Patrol in Hollywood Area from 7 P.M. to 3 A.M.

Friday, December 13
Checkpoint in 77th Street Area at Vernon Ave and Hoover Street from 6 P.M. to 12 A.M.
Checkpoint in Hollywood Area at Highland Area and De Longpre Avenue from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
Checkpoint in Rampart Area at Olympic Boulevard and Blaine Street from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
Checkpoint in Northeast Area at Hyperion Avenue and Scotland Street from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.

Saturday, December 14
Checkpoint in Van Nuys Area at Sepulveda Boulevard and Vose Street from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
DUI Saturation Patrol in Southwest Area from 5 P.M. to 1 A.M.

Thursday, December 19
Checkpoint in Olympic Area at Vermont Avenue and 5th Street from 7 P.M. to 1 A.M.
Checkpoint in Northeast Area at Eagle Rock Boulevard and El Paso Drive from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
DUI Saturation Patrol in Hollywood Area from 7 P.M. to 3 A.M.

Friday, December 20
Checkpoint in Hollywood Area at Hollywood Boulevard and Bronson Avenue from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
Checkpoint in Van Nuys Area at Ventura Boulevard and Columbus Avenue from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.

Saturday, December 21
Checkpoint in 77th Street Area at Western Avenue and Slauson Avenue from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
Checkpoint in North Hollywood Area at Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Victory Boulevard from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.

Sunday, December 22
DUI Saturation Patrol in Hollenbeck Area from 2 P.M. to 10 P.M.
DUI Saturation Patrol in Devonshire Area from 5 P.M. to 1 A.M.
DUI Saturation Patrol in 77th Street Area from 5 P.M. to 1 A.M.

Friday, December 27
Checkpoint in 77th Street Area at Manchester Avenue and Hoover Street from 6 P.M. to 12 A.M.
Checkpoint in West Valley Area at Roscoe Boulevard and Gloria Avenue from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.

Saturday, December 28
Checkpoint in Devonshire Area at Woodley Avenue and Pathenia Street from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
Checkpoint in Central Area at Figueroa Street and 9th Street from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
Checkpoint in Hollywood Area at Hollywood Boulevard and Cahuenga Boulevard from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
DUI Saturation Patrol in West Valley from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M.

The LAPD is giving fair warning to all partygoers.  “In addition to DUI/Drivers License Checkpoints, you will also see us making lots of stops during this highly visible enforcement period,” said Lieutenant Katona.   “If we suspect anyone is driving while under the influence, officers will show zero tolerance for drunk or drugged driving.”

Unfortunately, the excitement and celebrations of the holiday season can lead to terrible decisions – and serious legal consequences.  Data shows that the holiday season is a particularly deadly time due to the increased number of drunk drivers on the roads, and the LAPD is prepared to stop and arrest any drunk driver they see to keep roads safe.  

Nationally in the five years from 2007 to 2011 there were 4,169 people killed during the month of December in crashes that involved drivers with Blood Alcohol Concentrations (BAC) of .08% or higher.  In California during those same five Decembers, 505 were killed and thousands seriously injured.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes across the nation in 2011, and 31 percent (9,878) of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving-related crashes.  Californians witnessed at total of 2,835 deaths with 774 killed in DUI crashes on their streets and highways.

Drunk drivers often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, to lost wages due to time off from work. Even worse, a drunk driver can cause a traffic crash that claims someone’s life, or their own.

Please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:

  - Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving
    Drunk - or worse, the risk of having a crash while driving.
  - If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving.  Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the
    party begins.
  - If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member,
    or use public transportation.
  - Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.
  - If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save
    someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.  

Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Funding for this Checkpoint provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that reminds everyone: Report Drunk Drivers!  Call 911.

MEDIA NOTES: To schedule an interview regarding the Los Angeles Police Department traffic safety efforts, please contact Officer Don Inman, Traffic Coordination Section, at 213-486-0690.  


Notes from the December 10, 2013 Weekly Police Commission Meeting

• Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said today was day 100 of the new Commissioners’ tenure on the Board.  He said a learning curve still exists but thanked the Department for their cooperation.

• Police Chief Charlie Beck informed the Board overall violent crime in the City is 11.5% lower as compared to this same point last year.  He added overall gang crime is down 17.7% for the year as well.

• The verbal presentation and update from the Commanding Officer and Community Police Advisory Board (C-PAB) representative regarding community initiated problem solving, crimes strategies, and other programs and goals within the Topanga Area was given by Captain Joel Justice and Mr. Bob Basch. Mr. Basch informed the Board the Topanga Area C-PAB currently has 28 members and has three youth programs: Cadets, Junior Cadet and the Jeopardy program. One of the goals of the Topanga C-PAB is improve the quality of the front desk service and to maintain the tree committee at the station.

• The presentation and discussion relative to the Police Orientation Preparation Program (POPP) was given by Captain Brenda Crump. Captain Crump stated the POPP program began in 2009 as a partner between the Los Angeles Unified School District, West Los Angeles College and the LAPD.  This partnership is open to high school seniors and first year college students at West Los Angeles College. The program aims to get students ready for a career in law enforcement while allowing them to receive college credit. To date, 244 four students have successfully completed the program and expansion is planned in the near future.

• The Department’s verbal presentation and discussion relative to police radio communications reception was given by Ms. Maggie Goodrich.  Ms. Goodrich informed the Board the communications system has excellent coverage with a 2001 Motorola digital radio system.  She said the reach of signal goes far beyond the City limits and the contract for the hand-held radios is up for renewal next year. Ms. Goodrich added the only issues with the radio system is only one radio at a time can broadcast.  This can become an issue in an incident where there are many officers who are trying to use the radio at the same time. 

• The Department’s verbal presentation and discussion relative to the Metropolitan Division Mounted Unit was given by Captain Vito Palazzolo. Captain Palazzolo informed the Board the Mounted Unit began as a pilot program in 1981 to perform such tasks as policing events with large crowds. The Department currently has 30 horses with numerous trucks and trailers to mobile the unit anywhere in the City. Each horse goes through 200 hours of training with funding provided by the Mounted Police Foundation. Captain Palazzolo completed his comments by stating each horse can serve between 10-18 years and this year the unit will be riding in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

• The Department’s report, dated December 6, 2013, relative to the request for approval of master services agreement with Motorola Solutions, Inc., was approved and transmitted to the Mayor.

• The Department’s report, dated December 6, 2013, relative to the first amendment to the agreements between the City of Los Angeles and RMI International, Inc. (C-122078) for security guard services, was approved and transmitted to the Mayor.

• The Executive Director’s report, dated November 26, 2013, relative to the official police garage towing & storage rates 2014 – posting completed, was approved.

• The Department’s report, dated November 22, 2013, relative to the supplemental police account second quarterly report (April through June 2013), was approved and transferred to the City Council and City Controller.

• The Department’s report, dated November 27, 2013, relative to the supplemental police account third quarter report (July through September 2013) was approved and transmitted to the City Council and City Controller.

• The Executive Director’s report, dated December 5, 2013, relative to the review and transmittal of the request for proposal for official police garage (OPG) towing and storage services, was approved and transmitted to the City Council.

• The Inspector General’s report, dated December 10, 2013, relative to the Ethics Enforcement quarterly reports, calendar year 2012, was approved. 


Chief Charlie Beck’s Response to Settlement of West Traffic Officers’ Lawsuits

Los Angeles:  Today, the Los Angeles City Council approved a settlement on two lawsuits filed by eleven current and former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) West Traffic Division (WTD) officers.  The settlement for the amount of $5.9 million among the eleven officers and their attorneys follows the payment of $2 million to two WTD officers that had prevailed at the earlier trial on similar allegations. 

"It is unfortunate that this case cost the city hard-earned taxpayers money.  The goal has always been to improve the productivity and accountability of our officers in order to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.  “We do not agree with the original jury’s findings, unfortunately the large jury award in the earlier court case made settling this case the most prudent business decision.”

The WTD case challenged the Department’s efforts to ensure productivity among traffic enforcement motorcycle officers assigned to WTD.  The primary duty assignment of motorcycle officers assigned to traffic enforcement is facilitating the safe movement of traffic and reducing serious injury and fatal traffic collisions.  Their primary tools are giving warnings and issuing citations for traffic violations that contribute to serious injuries and deaths.

In an effort to reduce serious injuries and deaths, WTD made the decision to set goals for reductions of these violations.  This was not a quota system under the law.  Specifically, the WTD traffic enforcement officers should spend 80% of their time enforcing Vehicle Code violations that could lead to serious injury or death.  The jury in the first lawsuit interpreted this as an unlawful quota and determined that the officers were retaliated against for not meeting the productivity goals.  This case involving the eleven WTD officers now being settled was filed after the jury award of $2 million in the first case.

The Department has taken steps to ensure that all divisions are using appropriate measures to evaluate officers’ productivity.   The Department is committed to maintaining a workplace free from retaliation and all other types of unlawful discrimination and we will continue to strive for that goal. 

For further information please contact LAPD Media Relations Section at 213-486-5910.


Man Struck and Killed by Metrolink Train

Los Angeles:  On Friday, December 6, 2013, around 3:50 p.m., a bicyclist was struck and killed by a Metrolink passenger train travelling southbound from the San Fernando/Sylmar Metrolink Station heading towards Union Station.

The train was carrying 58 passengers, none of which were harmed.  The bicyclist was riding west bound on Van Nuys Boulevard on the south sidewalk towards San Fernando Road when he entered into the grade crossing, which at the time the arms were down across the streets and red lights were flashing.

Witnesses stated they heard the sound of the train’s horn honking as it approached.  The bicyclist is a male Hispanic, 30-years-old, who died at scene from his injuries.

The victim has not yet been identified, waiting for next of kin to be notified.  The investigation is still ongoing.

Anyone with information about this incident, or for more information, is asked to call Valley Traffic Division Detectives, Officer Ward at (818) 644-8114. During non-business hours or on the weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers 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.

     
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Man Shot and Killed in Eagle Rock

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police Department Northeast Division Homicide detectives are asking for the public’s help in providing any information that would lead to the arrest of the suspect(s) who killed 42-year-old James Marcus Howe.

On November 27, 2013, around 10:55 a.m., Northeast patrol officers responded to an, “Ambulance Shooting” radio call in the 4400 block of Avenue 42, in the Eagle Rock area.

The victims were in their residence when the first suspect knocked posing as a solicitor. As the victims approached the front door, two suspects forced entry and a struggle ensued between the victims and the suspects.  The second suspect produced a handgun and shot both victims.

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded and pronounced James Marcus Howe dead at scene.  The second victim was transported to a local hospital and was treated.

The first suspect is described as a male Black between the ages of 16-22.

The second suspect is described as a male Black between the ages of 20-25.

The third suspect is described as a female Black.

The suspect vehicle is described as an early 2000 Ford Mustang, dark in color.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Northeast Homicide Detectives, Aguilar or Officer Watterson at (323) 344-5731.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers 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 www.lapdonline.org, and click on "Anonymous Web Tips.”



     
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