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LAPD Officer arrested for Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Los Angeles:  Officer Robert Yanez, an 11-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), was arrested today pursuant to an arrest warrant listing six counts of workers’ compensation fraud.  

Officer Yanez surrendered this morning to LAPD investigators from the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit.  The investigation stemmed from a claim filed by Officer Yanez in late 2008.  Investigators working in partnership with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Healthcare Fraud Division established probable cause to believe that Officer Yanez had received benefits to which he was not entitled.

Officer Yanez was booked at the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail and is held in lieu of $30,000.00 bail.  Today’s arrest was made at Parker Center and occurred without incident.  Officer Yanez is 38 years old and resides in northern Riverside County.  Officer Yanez is assigned to home without pay pending the outcome of both the criminal and administrative investigations.

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.  After-hours and on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “CRIMES” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips.  When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.


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Cameras Meant to Reduce Accidents Have Not Been Placed at Most Dangerous Intersections

Blog Photos 007 September 29, 2010 – City Controller Wendy Greuel was joined by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and City Councilmember Dennis Zine to release an audit of the effectiveness of the City’s Photo Red Light Program (PRLP). The City currently has 32 cameras installed at intersections throughout Los Angeles, which as intended to reduce traffic accidents by catching drivers who break the law running red lights.

However, the audit found the red light cameras have not been installed at the City’s most dangerous 32 intersections. There were numerous reasons for this, including placing at least one red light camera in each of the Council Districts, weak infrastructure at some locations and not wanted to conduct the additional analyses required for State controlled-intersections.

Blog Photos 012 “If public safety is the number one priority of the Photo Red Light Program then the most dangerous intersections should be selected, period,” said City Controller Greuel. “Regardless of the reasons, the cameras are only effective if they are placed at the most dangerous intersections. If we don’t use them effectively we are putting Angelenos lives in danger.”

While there have been no fatalities at monitored intersections since the current contract was implemented in 2006, the audit found the PRLP cannot document conclusively an increase in public safety and a more comprehensive approach to evaluating the PRLP is needed. There was only a reduction in traffic accidents at 50% of the intersections with red light cameras for the six months after a camera was installed when compared with the six months before it was installed.

“I believe any program that can prevent accidents and prevent even one fatality from occurring is worthwhile,” Controller Greuel said. “However, we must be transparent about the cost to the City during these dire economic times.”

In addition the City has expended $2.6 million to operate the red light camera program over the past two years. However, having these cameras allows police officers to help fight crime in other parts of the City. If the cameras were not installed it would require more than 100 motor officers with salaries in excess of $10 million dollars to monitor the 32 PRLP intersections.

Operation Save Our Streets Joint Task Force

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Los Angeles: Operation Save Our Streets was a great success in identifying homicide investigations and targeting violent suspects in the South Los Angeles.

Blog Photos 014 The Operation Save Our Streets Joint Task Force started on July 1, 2010, and concluding on September 30, 2010. During that time, the homicide rate for South Los Angeles decreased by 17 percent and the homicide clearance rate rose by 26 percent. No doubt the arrests made by the agents and detectives saved lives from being lost by these repeat violent offenders.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department, Criminal Gang Homicide Division (CGHD) targeted violent suspects during a three-month long operation.  The task force focused on unsolved homicides as well as more recent investigations examining well over 100 cases. The investigators identified and interviewed over 250 witnesses and 24 suspects. Surveillances were conducted and information was shared between the two agencies. Twenty eight search warrants were served and over 25 felony arrests were made.

For more information, contact Detective III Sal LaBarbera, Criminal Gang and Homicide Division at 213-485-4341 or Laura Eimiller, FBI Press Relations at 310-996-3343.

Anyone with information on these crimes is urged to call Detective III Sal LaBarbera, Criminal Gang Homicide Division at 213-485-4341. 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.

Caught on Tape: Violent Attempt Purse Snatch in Venice Area

Los Angeles. Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division detectives have released video today of a man wanted in a violent attempt purse snatch robbery on September 19, 2010 in Venice.

The incident happened around 7:45 a.m. when a white van entered the alleyway near Bernard  and Rose Avenues.  According to investigators, a man got out of the vehicle, approached a lone woman from behind as she walked down the street and attacked her as he tried to grab her purse from under her arm.

The suspect violently threw the victim to the ground and punched her numerous times as she clutched her purse. When the victim refused to let go of her purse, the suspect continued to punch her and dragged her on the sidewalk, then into the street.

The suspect gave up, ran into the alley where he entered a getaway car driven by his accomplice.

The victim suffered minor cuts and bruises to her eyes, shoulders and hips.

The suspect is describes as a male Hispanic.  He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, black shorts, long white socks, and white tennis shoes with thick black shoe laces.

Surveillance video tape of the suspect is available at www.lapdtv.org. 

Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call Pacific Division Robbery Unit Detective Alicia Elliott at 310-482-6395.   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.

Notes from the September 28, 2010 Weekly Police Commission Meeting

•    Police Commission Vice-President Alan Skobin stated he attended “LAPD Day” held by the Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County.  He remarked at the speech Police Chief Charlie Beck gave as the keynote speaker of the event.  He added it was a wonderful ceremony.

•    Police Chief Charlie Beck informed the Board the “Critical Mass” bike ride took place over the weekend with 1,500 – 2,000 participants in attendance.  He said it was a well self-policed event and thanked West Bureau and Central Bureau for their efforts in staffing the event.  Chief Beck also attended the Community Police Advisory Board (C-PAB) Summit held at the Police Administration Building.  He said it was well attended and the topic of focus was Emergency Preparedness.  In addition to the Summit, Chief Beck attended the Deaf Festival in the Valley.

•    The Executive Director’s report, dated September 22, 2010, relative to response to Office of the Controller’s audit report, dated July 1, 2010, was approved and transmitted to the Office of the Controller.

•    The Department’s report, dated March 30, 2010, and Inspector General’s report, dated September 7, 2010, relative to Complaint Form 1.28, Investigations Audit – Phase I (IAID No. 09-003) as given by Commander Richard Webb and Inspector General Nicole Bershon, was approved.  Ms. Bershon informed the Board 12 of the 13 objectives of the audit were met with 99% accuracy and the Inspector General’s office concluded appropriate compliance.

•    The Inspector General’s report, dated September 9, 2010, relative to the Department’s Complaint Form 1.28, Investigations Phase II Audit, Fiscal Year 2009/2010, as given by Inspector General Nicole Bershon, was approved. Ms. Bershon said a total of 32 objectives were reviewed and 28 of those 32 received 95% -100% compliance. She finished by saying she concurred with the findings and the report was of very good quality.

•    The Department’s report, dated September 20, 2010, relative to DNA monthly report for August 2010, was approved and transmitted to City Council.

•    The Department’s report, dated September 14, 2010, relative to Hollywood Area Gang Enforcement Detail Command Accountability Performance Audit (IAID No. 10-057), as given by Captain Beatrice Girmala, was approved.  Captain Girmala stated she has seen consistent improvements with GED personnel and gang crime in her area is down 14% as compared to last year.  She added her unit still has a Consent Decree Coordinator in place.

•    The Department’s report, dated September 20, 2010, relative to Field Training Officer Training Inspection – First Quarter FY 2010/2011 (IAID No. 10-070), was approved.

•    The Department’s report, dated September 22, 2010, relative to classification and investigation of head strikes – revised, as given by Captain Carol Aborn, was approved. Police Commission President John Mack stated the Board has had good collaboration with the Department on this issue and added the Board has the public’s best interest in mind.  Chief Beck added he takes any changes and issues dealing with use of force very seriously and said the revisions made perfect sense. 

•    The Executive Director’s report, dated September 23, 2010, relative to transfer/sale of ownership interest in Bruffy’s, Inc. DBA Bruffy’s Del Rel Tow, official police garage for service area 14, to Kevin and Christi Brough, Contract No. C107145, was approved and transmitted to the City Council.

Missing Hiker Found Dead Staggering Heat a Likely Factor in Hiker’s Death

Los Angeles:  The body of missing hiker Sally Menke was discovered early this morning after a massive search was launched to find her.  Menke’s loyal Labrador retriever was found at her side and will recover from his long day in the canyon on the City’s hottest day in recorded history.

On September 27, 2010, at about 6:30 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Hollywood Division patrol officers responded to a critical missing person investigation in Griffith Park near the hiking trails in the 2800 block of Canyon Drive.  Menke, 56, set out on a hike with a friend Monday morning but turned back on her own when she began feeling fatigued from the heat.  She never returned to her car, which was locked in a parking lot, and she failed to contact family and friends.

The LAPD Metropolitan Division’s K-9 Unit, LAPD Air Support, Los Angeles Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue personnel and the Los Angeles City General Services Police assisted Hollywood  LAPD officers with the search.  Just before 2 a.m. this morning, Menke was found dead in a rugged area of Griffith Park north of the 5500 block of Green Oak Drive.

Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office staff also responded along with LAPD detectives and determined  there was no evidence of foul play.  It appears Menke had become disoriented due to the extreme heat, which was possibly a contributing factor in her death, but the official cause of death will be determined by the Coroner’s Office.

Hollywood homicide detectives are investigating the death as an apparent accidental/natural death.  For further information please contact LAPD Media Relations Section at 213-486-5910.

Travel Agent Arrested for Scam in Northeast Area

Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Northeast detectives are asking for victims who may have been scammed by 48-year-old Alvard Davtyan to come forward.

On September 9, 2010, LAPD Northeast Area detectives arrested Davtyan at her home in the 1700 block of Golf Club Drive in Glendale for Grand Theft involving fourteen victims between April 2010 and September 2010.  The detectives’ investigation revealed the victims purchased airline tickets from Davtyan, who was acting as a travel agent.  Davtyan then failed to purchase the tickets for the victims, leaving the victims stranded at the airports.

Generally, the victims discovered the fraud when they arrived at the airport while trying to fly out to their vacation destination.  Several of the victims were stranded in other countries because their airline tickets back to the United States were never purchased.

Davtyan is described as a female Armenian with brown hair and brown eyes.  She stands about 5 feet tall and weighs about 130 pounds.  She was arrested and booked for Grand Theft 487 P.C. and held on $20,000 bail.  Her arraignment is scheduled for September 29, 2010

Detectives believe there could be additional victims and strongly encourage anyone who has more information or may have been subjected to Davtyan’s fraud to come forward and call Northeast Detectives Wells or Hovhanessian at 213-485-2566.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at1-800-222-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 “web tips” and follow the prompts.

COMPSTAT Citywide Profile

Crime Statistics September 25, 2010

                 2010**           2009**          % Chg

Homicide                              213*                241           -11.6%
Rape                                     565                 621          -9.0%
Robbery                               8131               8108           -10.0%
Agg Assaults **                     6803               7933          -14.1%
Total Violent Crimes           15873             17997         -11.8%


Burglary                               12265            13377          -8.3%
BTFV                                    20418            21139          -3.4%
Personal/Other Theft            19153            20600          -7.0%
Auto Theft                            12277            13332          -7.9%
Total Property Crimes       64,113         68,448          -6.3%
Total Part I Crimes            79,986         86,445          -7.5%

* Numbers reflects a change in reclassification for Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) guidelines and numbers are adjusted accordingly.

** Prior to 2005, Aggravated Assaults included Child/Spousal Simple Assaults

September 2010 COP message


This year marks the 100th Anniversary of sworn Policewomen on the Department.  During the month of September, the Department will be hosting events to commemorate the history, achievements and leadership of women in the LAPD as well as the Department’s commitment to the next generation of women officers.  Throughout my career, I have worked with many hard working and exceptional women in different assignments.  I can proudly call them my partners.  It’s not the gender, rather competency that makes a great partner.  This Department has women in every rank with the exception of Chief of Police.  And the competition last fall included two women who were eligible and competent.  The LAPD has come a long way! 
As I reflect on the history of women in the Department and how jobs for our women have transitioned greatly during the last century, I am very proud.  Now in 2010, we boast of almost 1,900 sworn women of varying ranks and approximately 2,100 female civilian support personnel of the rank of Police Administrator III to Clerk Typist and everything in between.  The doors to specialized units, traditionally dominated by males, have been opened for good and opportunities are greater than ever.  From our Cadets, Reserve Officers, SWAT, Air Support, Bomb Squad, Mounted Unit, K-9, Motors, Gangs, Narcotics to Robbery-Homicide Division.  I, like many of you, have seen firsthand how this Department has transformed and diversity is one of the hallmarks of this Department.  Our women and men together demonstrate daily leadership in law enforcement.   

I hope all of you have the opportunity to attend some of the scheduled events commemorating this historic milestone.  Please check our LAN for additional information and visit the PAB lobby to view the “LAPD On Display” dedicated to The Women Sworn to Protect and to Serve during the month of September.   The exhibit, made possible by the Los Angeles Police Historical Society, will feature a historic photograph display and female officers’ uniforms dating back from the last 100 years.  It is truly impressive to say the least.  

I believe this milestone is of national importance for law enforcement therefore we will appropriately honor the brave women who paved the road during difficult times in our profession.  From the hiring of Alice Stebbins Wells in 1910 to the retirement of the last Policewoman in 2007, Policewomen have contributed greatly to the safety of this community.  In the early 1970’s the Department ceased to hire Policewomen.  Nonetheless, women have continued to serve in major roles within the Department.  The implementation of the Unisex Program in the 1970’s, was the beginning of the Department’s transition from hiring men and women under separate job titles, (Policewomen and Policemen) to the single job classification of Police Officer.

Over the years, women have had to overcome many obstacles including the disparity of equal pay, rank, and work assignments.  Their struggles are often briefly stated but rarely elaborated.  Specifically, the struggles of women have included legal, societal and physical barriers.  Each transition was forged with blood, sweat and tears and unfortunately lawsuits.  Society itself set the tone.

In the 1800’s women were not legally able to hold the job of policeman. Those hired as police matrons were restricted in their job assignments with no career path.  Their duties were confined to the jail or dealing with juveniles.  As society progresses the Department allowed women to progress to the Policewoman, whose duties were initially restricted to assignments in the jail, juvenile divisions, desk duty and/or administrative.  In the early 1930’s their assignments expanded to include vice assignments and detectives. 

Although Policewomen were not ever “field certified”, they were able to promote to the rank of Sergeant but only allowed to supervise other Policewomen, not male patrol officers.  Although policewomen were hired under civil service rules and vested with powers of arrest, they were not assigned and/or deployed to patrol cars as the men.  They were not viewed as equal to policemen.  Policewomen assigned to detectives worked in conjunction with the [male] detectives.  They were expected to handle issues of women and children within the purview of their job description.  It was not until the 1960’s when the Department assigned two women to work in a detective assignment that woman were finally allowed to “try” real detective work.

The job classification of Policewomen as we knew them for 97 years has been retired as part of our history.  It was not until 1973 when the Department responded to pressure from City Council that the Unisex Program was instituted and our badge changed from two (policeman and police woman) to police officer.  At that time police women were offered the opportunity to go through a “field certified” academy and become police officers.  Some chose to do so, others did not.  Despite these changes, women were still prohibited from promoting to the rank of Lieutenant.  It was a brave police woman named Fanchon Blake who sued the Department so women would have the right to promote to any rank within the organization.  In 1981 her law suit was settled, she had retired, however her legacy cleared the way for LAPD women today.  

COMMENDATION: 800 TASK FORCE MEMBERS assigned to the “Grim Sleeper” Case

Last month, I reminded all of you why we do this job and referenced a significant arrest.  On July 7th, 57-year old Lonnie Franklin Jr., the “Grim Sleeper” was arrested in 77th Division, ending a serial killing spree that had lasted over 20-years.  Today, I want to recognize the significance of the case and openly praise those involved by name. 

RHD Cold Case Detectives, who were part of the 800 Task Force, worked tirelessly since 2007 to identify and capture Franklin.  Working with the California Department of Justice, DNA from Franklin’s son, who is also a convicted felon, established a familial connection between the family member and DNA that had been collected at the murder scenes.  That connection was used to identify Franklin and once we had a sample of his DNA, there was no question we had our killer.  This investigation and use of familial DNA that led to this arrest has become a landmark case that will change the way policing is done in the United States.  

I want to congratulate everyone who worked on this case, sworn and civilian, who worked so hard and with as much conviction from the first day the case was re-opened in 2007 to the days following the arrest.  You worked many long hours collecting evidence at the scene of arrest, which speaks volumes of your remarkable work ethic.  Each and every one of you has made me proud and is an outstanding reflection of this Department and community of which you serve.  You never gave up during times when you thought all leads had been exhausted, only to look for more stones that may have been left unturned.  You worked together with the community, acting on every tip and lead you received.  You worked together as a team, sworn and civilian.  And your relentless drive to take a murderer off the streets of the city of Los Angeles is remarkable.  You have clearly demonstrated that cops count, community counts, character counts…..and YOU made a difference. 

The following personnel who have been assigned to the Task Force over the past three years are commended:

Lieutenant II Thomas Thompson, Serial No. 22054, Task Force OIC
Detective III Dennis Kilcoyne, Serial No. 21818, Lead Investigator
Detective II Paul Coulter, Serial No. 21892
Detective II William Fallon, Serial No. 23135
Detective II Clifford Shepard, Serial No. 21297

The following SID personnel involved in key procedures for arrest are commended:
Criminalist II Supria Rosner, Serial No. N4508
Criminalist II Angela Zdanowski, Serial No. N2504
Criminalist II Guy Holloman, Serial No. N1959
Criminalist II Sherille Cruz, Serial No. N3467
Criminalist III Mike Mastrocovo, Serial No. G8517
Criminalist III Jennifer Francis, Serial No. N1417
Acting Supervising Criminalist, Criminalist III  Kristina Takeshita, Serial No. V8485

The following detectives are commended for their hard work and diligence while assigned to the Task Force one time or another over the past 3 years:

Detective II Silvina Yniguez, Serial No. 31541
Detective II James King, Serial No. 30479
Detective II Daryl Groce, Serial No. 24864
Detective II Rodrigo Amador, Serial No. 25344
Detective III Kevin Becker, Serial No. 25941
Detective III Gina Rubalcava, Serial No. 26814

Fight Breaks Out at a Party Leaving One Dead and Ten Injured

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police Department Hollenbeck Homicide detectives are asking for the public’s help with providing any information about a birthday party that left and one man dead and ten others injured.

On September 25, 2010, around 2:10 a.m. LAPD Hollenbeck Area patrol officers responded to a shooting call in the 1200 block of Los Palos Drive in the Boyle Heights area.  When the officers arrived they discovered a man laying on the ground unresponsive.  There were also others at the location who appeared to be suffering from a multitude of injuries.

Los Angeles City rescue personnel responded and pronounced the unresponsive man dead from multiple gunshot wounds.  Two other people suffering from gunshot wounds were transported to a local hospital.  The officers at the scene were advised that other victims went to the hospital on their own volition prior to their arrival.
LAPD Hollenbeck Homicide detectives’ investigation revealed that a large birthday gathering was held at the house at around 9:00 p.m.  Around 2:10 a.m., the party ended and some of the partygoers assembled in groups and a dispute ensued.  In the midst of the encounter, gunfire and fighting erupted.  Eight victims were shot and three were stabbed.  Among the victims that were shot was 22-year-old Steven Lopez, who was fatally wounded.