Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch
LA Police Protective League


Los Angeles
Police Protective League
the union that represents the
rank and file LAPD officers

  Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch

Daily News Digest
from LA Police Protective League

March 20, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Officer, Shopper Take Down Shooter In Omaha Grocery Store
Deputy Omaha Police Chief Scott Gray stepped out from behind a Gatorade display and leveled his gun at the armed man who had fired shots at a west Omaha Hy-Vee supermarket. Nearby, a shopper named Thomas Wenzl crouched behind a stack of bottled water. Gray yelled at the shooter to drop his gun. “Almost simultaneously, that’s when Tom jumped out and tackled the guy,” Gray said. Gray joined the fray. He wrestled the shooter’s gun away. The unplanned, fast-thinking, quick action of a dynamic civilian and police officer duo thus ended an active shooter situation in a crowded supermarket without anyone being shot. Police arrested the shooter, a 21-year-old Omaha man, on suspicion of firing a gun inside Hy-Vee, 17810 Welch Plaza, on Tuesday night. 

Santa Monica Motorcycle Cop Hospitalized With Minor To Moderate Injuries After Collision
A police officer on a motorcycle was hurt in a collision with a car in Venice Thursday afternoon. The officer was traveling along Main Street near Sunset Avenue around 3 p.m. when a Ford Fusion turned in front of him, according to Santa Monica Police Department Traffic Division Sgt. Mike Boyd. The officer, whose name was not released, sustained minor to moderate injuries and was taken to a hospital for treatment, he said. Santa Monica police went to the scene because the accident was just over the Los Angeles city border. The Los Angeles Police Department was also investigating the collision. Robert Tomasch, 42, had been out for a run and returned to his parked car to find it had been hit. Standing next to the police motorcycle laying on its side, he said police told him the motorcycle slammed into his vehicle after being hit by the Fusion.

High-Ranking LAPD Member Becomes Second Department Official To Contract Coronavirus
A high-ranking member of the Los Angeles Police Department has contracted the coronavirus, marking the second time an LAPD employee has tested positive for COVID-19 this week, officials said. In a news release issued Thursday, the LAPD said the employee began exhibiting flu-like symptoms last week. The person, who was not identified, is expected to make a full recovery. The person was described as a member of the “senior staff” in a department memo obtained by The Times. A law enforcement source said the person is a high-ranking police official. Cleaning crews were dispatched to disinfect the South Bureau and 77th Division on Thursday, according to the memo. “This is a sobering reminder that anyone is susceptible to this virus,” the department said in a statement. “The LAPD encourages all Angelenos to follow local and state guidelines of hygiene and social distancing.” Earlier this week, a supervisor in the LAPD’s Pacific division also tested positive for the coronavirus. That employee is also expected to make a full recovery.

Victim In Lincoln Park Homicide ID’d
The victim of an unsolved Lincoln Park-area homicide was publicly identified Thursday. Timothy Stewart, 21, was attacked by an unidentified assailant in the 5000 block of Logan Avenue on Monday evening, according to San Diego police. He died in a hospital of upper-body injuries early the next morning, Lt. Andra Brown said. Police have not disclosed the nature of the injuries suffered by Stewart and have released no suspected motive for the slaying. The killer has only been described as a dark-skinned man in dark clothing. No arrests in the case have been announced.

More L.A. County Jail Inmates Released Over Fears Of Coronavirus Outbreak
Law enforcement officials speeded up efforts to release inmates from Los Angeles County jails over fears a coronavirus outbreak could afflict scores of individuals and strain the overburdened system. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has reduced its inmate population by 6% in the last three weeks and Dist. Atty Jackie Lacey said her office will consider reducing bail for thousands of nonviolent offenders. As of Thursday morning, there were no confirmed cases of the virus inside L.A. County jails, where the number of inmates was down to 16,017 inmates from 17,076 on Feb. 28. “We anticipate the count is going to go further down,” said Cmdr. Jason Wolak of the Sheriff’s Department’s Custody Division. “The reason why we’re doing it is so we can have flexibility in the jail in case we’re going to lose a part of it.” 

Scammers Using Coronavirus Worries As Cover For Fake Messages
"Your prayers have been answered! We have approved you for $5,000!" Scam messages like these come from people trying to take advantage of others through bogus phone calls, emails or text messages. They nearly always include a link – though not to a real offer. They can, however, be dangerous. "The goal is to get their victim to open that attachment or to click on that link," said Jim Stickley, a cybersecurity expert and CEO of Stickley on Security. "Unfortunately, if [users] do, they’re actually going to be installing malware on their computer." That malware can potentially track a victim's every click and keystroke, giving hackers access to accounts and passwords. They also make use of current events that might affect the behavior of potential victims, Stickley said – including the coronavirus. Some are even setting up fake websites claiming to sell items in shortage, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. "The criminals are thriving on this right now because they realize that everyone is paranoid. Everybody's kind of freaking out," he said.

LA County Courts To Delay Traffic Infraction Hearings For A Month Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
All traffic and non-traffic infraction hearings in Los Angeles County Superior Court scheduled between Tuesday and April 16 will be delayed for at least 30 days, Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile announced Wednesday. “It is imperative that we, the nation’s largest trial court, continue to prioritize time-sensitive and essential functions to serve our most vulnerable as we reorganize and reduce our trial court operations and focus on ways we can slow the spread of COVID-19,” Brazile said. On Tuesday, Brazile ordered a three-day closure of all courts through Thursday, and a separate closure through April 16 with the exception of 31 “time-sensitive, essential functions.” “We will continue to operate our court and reorganize our responsibilities based upon balancing public health directives and meeting our statutory and constitutional due process requirements,” Brazile said.

Police Training In New Jersey Continues As Departments Prepare For Possible Staff Shortages
New police recruits are continuing to train as departments throughout New Jersey grapple with policing in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic. “We’re trying to get them through in case we do need reinforcements,” Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said. On Wednesday, Farwood’s mayor announced that a cop was self-isolating after testing positive, raising the specter of more first responders being taken off the front lines. Departments are limiting face-to-face contact, and the state attorney general recently told police to lean on other towns and “Special Law Enforcement Officers” if quarantines leave patrols in any particular town short-staffed. Special officers are sometimes cops pulled out of retirement, and are often stationed at schools. Dozens of special officers are currently training outdoors with the Monmouth County Police Academy, Golden said. An additional 18 new recruits are scheduled to graduate in May.

Public Safety News

L.A. County, City Officials Announce ‘Safer At Home’ Order Requiring People To Stay Home, Most Businesses To Close
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city and county officials on Thursday announced the "safer at home" public order in response to COVID-19, requiring more than 10 million people to stay at home and most businesses to close. The order will go into effect in L.A. County — the nation's most populous county — at midnight. It is tentatively set to last until April 19, according to the city of L.A.'s website. All businesses that require workers to be present must stop operations by 11:59 p.m. Friday, Garcetti said during a news conference. Businesses that provide "essential services" are exempt. Minutes after the announcement, Gov. Gavin Newsom instated a similar measure for all of California, saying people should stay at home as much as possible. Mayor Garcetti said that "today is a day that will be seared into the story and the streets" of the city and will be a "moment when everything changed." The only time people should leave their home is for essential activities like getting food or taking care of a loved one, according to the mayor.

675 Positive COVID-19 Cases Reported In California
The California Department of Public Health has released the latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state. There are currently 675 positive cases in California. The department says 16 deaths have been reported, including one non-California resident. According to public health officials 181 cases are related to community transmission, 97 cases are travel related, 92 cases are transmitted person to person and 281 cases are currently under investigation. Majority of the confirmed cases are in a focused age group of 18 to 64 years old. 24 confirmed cases are related to federal repatriation flights, the department stated. Health officials say the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, stay away from social gatherings if you become sick and to cover your cough and sneeze.

Californians Ordered To Stay At Home: Here Are The New Rules
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s sweeping order for Californians to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak will dramatically restrict public movement. The governor’s office provided a list of how the order will play out: What stays open: pharmacies, food: grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, banks, gas stations, laundromats/laundry services, and essential state and local government functions including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services. What is closed: bars and nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms and fitness studios, public events and gatherings, convention centers, and dine-in restaurants. 

About the LAPPL Formed in 1923, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents the more than 9,900 dedicated and professional sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPPL serves to advance the interests of LAPD officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. The LAPPL can be found on the Web at: