HomeCity NewsOfficials Present Public Safety Reports to Council

Officials Present Public Safety Reports to Council

During the public safety presentations at the Oct. 17 City Council meeting, Detective Sgt. Edward Retamoza with the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station presented an update on a home invasion case that included the use of a firearm and resulted in the station arresting the two suspects in Las Vegas.
Retamoza oversees the detective bureau at the station and talked about the home invasion that occurred on April 30.
“It would occur that two suspects broke into the residence in the middle of day on a Sunday, and held the victim at gunpoint, while the second suspect ransacked the residence,” Retamoza said.
After, both suspects fled with stolen property. Retamoza received the case on May 1, reviewed it and assigned it to Detective Salvador Ponce.
Through investigation, Ponce was able to identify one of the suspects and authored a location search warrant at a residence in San Fernando Valley, which was successful.
“We recovered a firearm and a handgun,” Retamoza said.
The suspects were not at the residence, but they did interview everyone else that was there and got some additional information.
“We continued the investigation, which eventually led us to Las Vegas, Nevada,” Retamoza said.
In August, Ponce arranged a meeting with the North Las Vegas Police Department and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
In September, Ponce met with the departments and shared the information that he had. As a result of that meeting, they were able to identify the second suspect.
In the same month, Ponce authored two location search warrants for residents in Las Vegas, and with the help of the Las Vegas police, both searches were successful.
“We recovered evidence from our case and also arrested both suspects,” Retamoza said.
Ponce returned home, assembled the case and presented it to the Los Angeles district attorney’s office within the Pasadena courthouse. They are now waiting for the outcome.
“But [Detective Ponce] does have a very strong case, and I’m pretty sure we’ll get positive filing on that,” Retamoza said.
Mayor Rick Gunter commended Retamoza for his efforts.
“Thank you so much for the diligent work and making sure that we’re tracking down and keeping bad folks off the street,” said Gunter. “We’re terribly blessed that this happens very, very rarely, but anytime is too many.”
Councilman Kim Bowman was also grateful for the station’s work.
“When it happened, it was obviously something taken very seriously at all levels in the community and to hear the resolution and to have you come back to us with such good news, and to be able to help us understand is invaluable,” Bowman said. “So, thank you very much to your team, and for being here and sharing with us.”
Other public safety officials from La Cañada Flintridge presented the crime, fire and traffic stats for the month of September at the City Council meeting.
Interim Assistant Fire Chief Pat Sprengel presented the public safety report, which resulted in 156 total fire responses in the month of September.
Although there were no fires reported, there were “two hazardous conditions reported, one was a gas leak that resulted in no damage and another one was power lines down,” Sprengel said.
Lastly, he shared a safety tip for the month of October since Halloween is just around the corner.
“Make sure costumes are flame resistant, and stay away from open flames,” he said. “Wear bright colored costumes and add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags, have kids carry flashlights, cross streets on corners only, don’t cross between parked cars and keep your home well-lit and clear from obstacles that could cause tripping hazards.”
Gunter asked about rain and how it affects the fuel moisture content.
“I would say at this time of the year in my 30 years with the department, I’ve never seen it as green as it is in October,” Sprengel said. “Typically, we get into trouble during the fire season or the threat during fire season when we have our heavy winds or Santa Ana winds. Between now and December, typically, we would get probably eight to 10 wind events.
“So, fire season wise, I’ll never say that we’re sitting good,” he added.
He asked residents to make sure they still maintain grass or brush.
Capt. Robert Hahnlein brought a newer member from the Sheriff’s station, Community Relations Sgt. Johanna Armstrong, to the meeting to share the public safety report for September.
There was one robbery that month, along with one aggravated assault, “where a homeless individual was invited into a house and threatened the victim with an axe and that suspect was arrested,” Armstrong said.
There were three residential burglaries, 21 thefts and two grand theft autos. Two vandalisms and four fraud identify thefts were also reported in September.
There were also 15 arrests and 14 traffic collisions that month.
Lastly, Capt. Derek Moulton presented the public safety report on behalf of the California Highway Patrol for the third quarter, which included July, August and September.
On the 210 freeway, Moulton said that CHP investigated a total of 71 traffic crashes. Thirty-eight of them resulted in property damage, while 22 involved injuries, eight involved hit-and-runs, and three of them involved DUI drivers.
“As a component to reducing that, we also issued 1,881 citations over that period,” Moulton said.
Citations were issued for speed, unregistered vehicles, driving while using a cellphone and unlicensed drivers, to name a few.
Moulton said that the CHP continues to monitor the 210 freeway at least once per quarter and send a special enforcement unit to address violations by commercial vehicles on the freeway.
CHP officers focus on speed, driving in the wrong lane and vehicles stopping on the right shoulder.
“I like to say there is no safe space to stop on the freeway,” Moulton said. “If you absolutely have to, try to get over to the right shoulder and get as far over as you can.”
The CHP also secured a grant to address traffic concerns on the Angeles Crest Highway called the CREST Highway Safety Project which began on Oct. 1.
The project is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“So, we’ve got funding for 1,000 hours of enforcement on the Crest highway, which started at the beginning of October, and it goes for a year,” Moulton said. “There’s an education element to that, as well as some others.”
He said that they are going to kick off the actual deployment of officers on Nov. 1 before the weather turns cold and there is not much traffic.
“This [grant] was in response to all the fatal traffic accidents that we’ve had on the Crest highway, and it is a challenging roadway to work because of the fact that it’s remote,” Moulton said.
He wanted to clarify their jurisdiction responsibilities within the city, which involves the 210 Freeway and Angeles Crest Highway.

First published in the October 26 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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