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 25, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Detroit Commanding Officer Dies Of COVID-19
A Detroit Police Department commanding officer has died due to complications from COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. The death was reported Tuesday. Circumstances surrounding the death were not provided. Earlier Tuesday, officials announced the department’s first death -- a 911 operator. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said over the weekend that eight officers had been diagnosed with the virus, while more than 200 were quarantining. As of Tuesday afternoon, the state has confirmed that there are 1,791 cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and 24 people have died.

Washington Trooper Struck, Killed During High-Speed Pursuit
A Washington State Patrol trooper was struck and killed by a fleeing driver Tuesday afternoon while he was placing spike strips on Interstate 5 in Chehalis during a police pursuit, according to the State Patrol. The trooper, Justin R. Schaffer, was struck just before 4 p.m. and taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Trooper Will Finn said on Twitter. All southbound lanes of I-5 south in Centralia were temporarily closed after the crash. Lt. Ray Brady, a spokesman for the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, said officers began pursuing the suspect, a 39-year-old man from Thurston County, on Monday afternoon after he allegedly stole a bottle of lighter fluid from Pacific Mini Mart in Lacey. The convenience-store clerk followed the man into the parking lot intending to take a photograph of his license plate when the man pulled out a stun gun and pointed it at the clerk and a customer, Brady said.

3 LAPD Employees Test Positive For Coronavirus, Bringing Total To 12
The Los Angeles Police Department announced Tuesday that three more employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The new cases bring the department’s total to 12 confirmed positive cases — 11 sworn officers and one civilian. The department said all 12 of the employees were quarantined at home and recovering. On Monday, the department reported six employees had tested positive for the virus. “The Department has strict protocols for any employee who experiences symptoms of the virus,” LAPD said in a previous release. “They are instructed to go home and their workspaces are sanitized.”

LAPD Readies For Coronavirus Response
The Los Angeles Police Department prepared for enhanced patrols and new assignments related to the spread of the coronavirus, and it set up a "rest and recovery" space near Downtown where officers assigned to long shifts with few days off can shower and sleep. An auditorium at a police facility was converted into a dormitory, with dozens of cots lined up, each prepared with blankets and other personal care items, several LAPD officials told NBC. As of late Tuesday, a dozen police department employees had tested positive for coronavirus, according to a department statement. The LAPD said a senior member of the command staff was recovering at home, and several law enforcement sources said additional members of the command staff had also tested positive. The Department has not identified any of the employees, but confirmed Saturday one of the officers worked a patrol assignment at the Central Division in Downtown LA. The sources said there were multiple positive tests at Central with a number of other officers there awaiting test results.

Man Sought In Stevenson Ranch Driveway Robbery, Shooting Captured After Tip To L.A. CrimeStoppers
A man who was wanted for allegedly robbing and shooting a woman in the driveway of a Stevenson Ranch home has been captured thanks to a tip from the public, authorities said Tuesday. After asking for the public’s help over the weekend, detectives were able to follow the tip submitted through L.A. CrimeStoppers and track down Jeremy Hernandez, 19, according to a bulletin from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He was taken into custody Monday in Lancaster. The shooting and robbery took place on the afternoon of Saturday, March 21, on Bracken Lane, sheriff’s officials said. Deputies responded to a call at the home for a report of a woman who was robbed at gunpoint in a driveway. The woman’s injury was not life threatening, officials said. Hernandez is being held on $1 million dollar bail.

Reseda Man Arrested In Alleged Storage Unit Thefts, Illegal Gun Sales
A Reseda man faces trial May 19 on federal charges alleging he and two others broke into self-storage units in Los Angeles County, stole dozens of firearms and sold at least some of the weapons to convicted felons. Rick Eric “Loyal” Herst, 34, was arrested Monday by special agents with the FBI and deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, pursuant to an eight-count indictment unsealed at his arraignment in Los Angeles federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Herst is named in the indictment along with Jeffrey James LaFraniere, 37, of the San Fernando Valley, and Alan Elperin, 29, of Mission Hills, both of whom were arrested by local law enforcement in June on separate cases and are now in federal custody, federal prosecutors said. All three defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of dealing firearms without a license, and two counts of selling stolen firearms.

California Social Worker Allegedly Killed By Teen She Was Trying To Help
A Sonoma County family is grieving the killing of a mother, sister, daughter. Sylvia Bracamonte, 33, was a social worker allegedly killed by a teenager she was trying to help. "She wasn't even supposed to work that day, said sister-in-law Lauren Ambroselli. But with everyone staying inside, they needed groceries and supplies so she went on her day off to drop things off for them." The fatal attack happened at a group home in downtown Cotati Friday afternoon. Suspect Anderson Quinonez-Cabeza, 18, surrendered at the scene. Bracamonte's family says he had previously made verbal threats against her, although she was trying to help him. 

California Police Using Drones To Patrol During COVID-19 Lockdown
Some police departments in California plan on using drones to enforce a coronavirus lockdown and to, in part, monitor the homeless population, according to a report on Friday. The Chula Vista Police Department, located just south of San Diego near the California-Mexico border, recently purchased two $11,000 drones — doubling its fleet — that will be outfitted with speakers and night vision cameras. “We have not traditionally mounted speakers to our drones, but…if we need to cover a large area to get an announcement out, or if there were a crowd somewhere that we needed to disperse — we could do it without getting police officers involved,” said Capt. Vern Sallee, according to the Financial Times. “The outbreak has changed my view of expanding the program as rapidly as I can,” he added. 

Domestic Abuse Victims In ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ During Outbreak, Providers Say
One evening last week, a 38-year-old woman showed up in the emergency room of a Los Angeles hospital. She had been beaten by her boyfriend. Under normal circumstances, the hospital would contact a domestic violence advocate, who would meet with the woman in person and help her find shelter and other services. But that night, because of limitations on visitors and health guidelines due to COVID-19, an advocate had to connect by phone. About a dozen calls later, the woman was placed in a shelter. “We got lucky this time,” said Yvette Lozano, the chief program and operating officer for Peace Over Violence, a nonprofit focused on ending interpersonal relationship violence. “It’s really hard to find an immediate placement for someone in need.” 

In Pandemic, Rumors Of Martial Law Fly Despite Reassurances
Millions of Americans have been ordered to stay home. Businesses and schools are shuttered. And National Guard units have been activated in more than half the states. Yet despite what you may have read in a text message or on social media, there are currently no plans for a national quarantine, let alone martial law. Those National Guard units? They’re busy distributing food and medical supplies. Rumors of a military-enforced national lockdown have been debunked repeatedly by state and federal authorities who say their recurrence shows just how persistent false claims can be during an emergency, and why it’s vital to find reliable sources of information. “I hear unfounded rumors about National Guard troops supporting a nationwide quarantine,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “Let me be clear: There has been no such discussion.” 

Public Safety News

2 LA City Firefighters Test Positive For Coronavirus
Two firefighters from the Los Angeles City Fire Department have tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19 and 79 department firefighters have been tested for the virus, a spokesperson for the LAFD said Tuesday. "Last Friday the LAFD began offering COVID-19 tests to our firefighters who had symptoms consistent with the Coronavirus," the LAFD said in a statement Tuesday evening. "As of today, 79 individuals have been tested. Two firefighters have received positive test results and are both home at this time recovering from the illness."

L.A. County Reports First Death Of A Possible Coronavirus Patient Under 18 As COVID-19 Cases Top 660
Mayor Eric Garcetti warned Los Angeles on Tuesday that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was still to come and that residents should be prepared for more loss of life. Garcetti said L.A. could be six to 12 days from seeing similar numbers to the outbreak in New York City, where the death toll has dramatically increased in recent days. “It’s coming,” Garcetti said. “The peak is not here yet. The peak will be bad. People will lose their lives.” The mayor also rebuffed President Trump’s earlier comments suggesting restrictions might be eased quickly and said that Angelenos should be “prepared for a couple months like this.” “I know that everybody is hopeful, and some are putting out that hope of us being back in churches by Easter or synagogues by Passover, of restarting the economy in a couple weeks,” Garcetti said. “I think we owe it to everybody to be straightforward and honest that we will not be back to that [level of] normal in that short period of time.” Garcetti’s warning came on the same day that Los Angeles County confirmed four more deaths linked to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, including what might be the first fatality of a person younger than 18.

L.A. County Offering Mental Health Services 24/7 Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Provides Tips To Stem Anxiety
Los Angeles County is offering mental health services for those suffering loneliness or anxiety amid the coronavirus pandemic and have set up a number to call for resources. Officials on Tuesday also provided tips on how to stem anxiety during these difficult times. The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-854-7771. If you prefer texts, you can message “home” to 741741 to be connected with a trained counselor. Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger continued to emphasize the importance of social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19, but said that people don't have to feel lonely. “I want to reaffirm, social distancing does not mean isolation," she said during a news conference Tuesday. "As we are spending more of our time in our homes, it requires us to be extra intentional to stay connected to our friends, family and our neighbors. Caring for our health and reaching out to others is more important now than ever."

California Scrambling To Obtain Virus Protection Gear For First Responders
California is scrambling to obtain protective gear for healthcare workers and first responders, reaching out worldwide and working with locals to ratchet up production as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through the nation's most populous state. The state is trying to acquire about 1 billion sets of gloves and hundreds of millions of gowns, surgical masks and face shields, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday. “It's going to take an heroic effort" to procure the personal protection equipment, or PPE, needed to prepare for an expected surge in COVID-19 cases, Newsom said. Among other things, he said the state would charter flights from China with gear and had heard from companies wanting to use 3-D printers to make surgical masks. 

Local Government News

Garcetti Says City Will Close Businesses That Violate Coronavirus Orders
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday that the city's neighborhood prosecutors will investigate complaints of "nonessential" businesses that are still operating despite orders to close due to the coronavirus. The Safer at Home Business Ambassadors Program will deploy neighborhood prosecutors assigned to police stations around the city to help enforce the closure orders. "Believe me when I say nobody wants to be punitive at a time like this," Garcetti said. "My ideal is 100% self-compliance, and we all hope for the same thing -- we want fewer people to get sick and die. ... We can achieve those goals but only if we all do our part." Garcetti said the move is intended to initially remind businesses that they need to close, but noncompliance could result in citations or the city could cut off utilities to the business. He asked people to remind nonessential businesses to close as a preemptive measure.

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: