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

January 4, 2021
Law Enforcement News

A Year Like No Other For L.A. Crime: Homicides Surge, Robberies And Rapes Drop
As commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s data-driven Compstat division, Capt. Paul Vernon’s job is to track crime trends in L.A. — highlighting problems and pinpointing solutions in order to optimize the department’s effectiveness. It has not been easy this year, he said, as crime — like so much in 2020 — went absolutely haywire. Homicides, shootings and car thefts spiked, while robberies, rapes and lesser property crimes dropped off. The swings were dramatic, too, with killings hitting a decade high after years of sustained reductions, and shootings increasing nearly 40%. Meanwhile, robberies declined by 17%, and reported rapes fell 25%. The COVID-19 pandemic — which has kept many businesses closed and many people at home — was clearly a major factor, though analysts say the full explanation is more complex. Eager to understand what was happening, Vernon plotted the largest shifts along a timeline of major 2020 events, including the arrival of COVID-19 in California, the government’s stay-at-home orders and this summer’s mass protests against police brutality. He landed on several theories as to what may be driving the changes — such as a reduction in overall movement, strains in illicit drug markets, more gunmen opening fire on rivals at close range and police officers being stretched thin in high-crime areas amid citywide emergencies, operational changes and officers quarantining or missing work due to illness.

Man Found Dead In Reseda Mobile Home, Suspects Sought
Police asked the public Sunday, Jan. 3, to help them identify whoever shot a man found dead on Thursday in a trailer in Reseda. Officers were summoned to a mobile home parked on the 18800 block of Strathern Street at about 7:45 p.m. on Dec. 31, Los Angeles Police Officer Mike Lopez said. They found the body of a man who had been shot multiple times. His identity was withheld pending the notification of his relatives. Neighbors reported he had lived at that location for over a year, police said. Investigators do not believe the man’s death was a suicide, Lopez said. No arrests were immediately announced, and no further information was available Sunday. Detectives urged anyone with information regarding the shooting to call them at 818-374-9550.

2 Wounded In Car-to-Car Shooting On LA Street
A man and a woman were wounded in a car-to-car shooting on a Los Angeles street, authorities said Sunday. The shooting was reported at 6 p.m. Saturday at Central Avenue and 20th Street, said Officer D. Orris of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center. A 21-year-old woman and 40-year-old man were sitting in a car when another car approached and someone inside fired shots at the victims’ car, Orris said. Paramedics took the two victims to a hospital where their vital signs were stable, he said.

Boy Tagging Wall Shot In Reseda
A 16-year-old boy who was spray-painting a Reseda wall was wounded in a drive-by shooting, authorities said Sunday. The shooting was reported at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Reseda Boulevard and Saticoy Street, according to Officer D. Orris of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center. The boy was spraying paint on the wall when suspects inside a vehicle drove up and shots were fired, wounding him, Orris said. The teen was taken by paramedics to a hospital where his vital signs were stable, the officer said. The shooting was believed gang related, he said.

Man Sought In Boyle Heights Hit-and-Run Crash That Left Woman Severely Injured
A man is being sought in connection with a hit-run crash that left a woman severely injured in Boyle Heights earlier this month. The crash occurred about 5:35 p.m. Dec. 19 as a couple was crossing the street at the intersection of Soto Street and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The driver of a white pick-up truck was heading west on Cesar E. Chavez and turned left onto Soto Street, crashing into the woman and knocking her onto the street. The driver did not stop and continued south on Soto, police said. The woman was taken to a hospital with severe injuries. She was hospitalized for three days and is recovering at home, police said. Detectives later found surveillance video of the driver filling up his truck with gasoline before the crash. The truck is described as a white 1998 to 2004 Chevrolet S10. It has an aftermarket light bar on top of the cab, smoked rear-light lenses and a distinct dent on the rear top corner of the driver’s side of the cab, police said.

Hours-Long Standoff With Man Barricaded In Van Ends With Arrest
A nearly three-hour standoff between police and a man barricaded inside a van in Palm Springs ended peacefully just after midnight Sunday. Police initially responded to a call that a man had threatened to shoot another man at about 9:20 p.m. Saturday at the Agua Caliente Spa Resort Casino, according to the Palm Springs Police Department. When officers arrived at the casino, they spotted a suspect who drove away in a white van and eventually barricaded himself inside the vehicle about a half-mile away at East Alejo Road and Hermosa Drive, police said. For the next few hours, police negotiated with the man to come out of the vehicle as a SWAT team and K-9 unit arrived at the scene. At around midnight, police set off a device that caused a loud boom and spewed smoke, the Desert Sun reported. A few minutes later the man exited the van and was arrested. It was not immediately known if the man was armed.

Man Found Fatally Shot Inside Crashed Pickup Truck In East LA
A man was found shot to death early Monday in a pickup truck that crashed in East LA. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were called to the 1200 block of South Hicks in East Los Angeles just before 3 a.m. to investigate a crash. At the scene, the deputies found a man who had been shot inside a crashed pickup truck. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. No further information was released about him. Authorities say they have no suspect description at this time, and the investigation is ongoing.

LA Sheriff Superspreader Task Force Detains 900 During NYE Party Busts
The LA County Sheriff Department’s Superspreader Task Force shut down at least five New Year's Eve parties across the county, resulting in at least 900 people being detained, 90 arrests and/or citations, and the recovery of at least six guns. FOX 11’s cameras were at three of the parties, including Malibu, downtown LA, and Pomona. The Malibu party was held at a large, upscale home on Moonrise Dr. after it had been promoted on Instagram. LASD showed up outside the home in the middle of the party, warning the crowd on a loudspeaker that "this is the LA County Sheriff’s Department. This superspreader party is now over. Anybody who refuses to leave will be subject to arrest." Hundreds of people were ordered to leave the party immediately, those who refused were cited. There were at least two arrests, and LASD says two guns were recovered. "We are actively enforcing the superspreaders to protect against COVID," said Captain Holly Francisco. "Once we confirmed there was a party here, we had our super spreader task force respond and detain the occupants."

244 Suspected DUI Drivers Arrested In California On New Year’s Eve, CHP Says
California Highway Patrol officers arrested 244 suspected DUI drivers across the state on New Year’s Eve, a dramatic increase over last year in the number of arrests made during the agency’s maximum enforcement period. Thursday night’s arrests came in just the first six hours of the New Year’s enforcement period, CHP tweeted. During the same operation last year, the Highway Patrol took 491 alleged impaired drivers into custody in the entire 30-hour period, according to a CHP news release. In addition to an increase of DUI arrests, more fatal traffic collisions were reported on California roads this New Year’s Eve. Thirteen people were killed in crashes on Thursday night, a figure that is more than four times higher than the entire 2020 New Year’s maximum enforcement period, authorities said.

New Year Rings In New Public Safety And Driving Laws In California
An assortment of new traffic laws will take effect in 2021 that could change the way Californians travel local and state roadways. The laws include measures to curb distracted driving, ensure emergency vehicles in action have proper space on local streets and to eliminate liabilities for anyone rescuing a child from a locked car. Another measure, not directly tied to traffic, explores new ways to alert the public when a need to evacuate arises. While some new laws begin Jan. 1, others won’t take effect until later in the year and some are still under development. Beginning July 1, any handheld cell phone use caught more than once in a 36-month period will result in a point on your driving record. The assembly bill that was approved in October 2019 will be an extension of the law that would previously only result in a fine for handheld cell phone use, according to Officer Mike Lassig, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol’s Temecula area. “I guess people didn’t mind paying a fine,” Lassig said. “Now with a point, hopefully that would make people focus on the roadway a little better.”

Houston Reaches Grim Milestone With 400th Murder Of 2020
Just before the end of a harrowing, exhausting, virus-ridden year, Houston police were dispatched to the city's 400th murder — a 15-year-old boy who was shot at an apartment complex in the Alief area. Police found the teen's body around 8:30 p.m. Monday in a parking lot outside the complex in the 8000 block of Cook Road. Investigators found witnesses to the shooting, police Lt. Larry Crowson said, and authorities are hunting for the two men believed responsible. Investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a narcotics deal and that the unidentified boy did not live at the apartment complex. The killing solidified the year's murder rate — calculated by the number of known murders per 100,000 people — as one of the worst in three decades. The number is a sharp increase from the 281 deaths last year but the rate is comparable to those of 2006 or 2007, according to a Chronicle analysis of Houston Police Department statistics.

NYPD Ends 2020 With 97% Jump In Shootings, Nearly 45% Surge In Murders
New York City endured a 2020 crime surge straight out of hell: a 97% jump in shootings and a nearly 45% surge in murders, including 15 weeks straight of gunfire as COVID-19 ravaged the city. The NYPD released the sobering preliminary year-end stats Friday, eager to turn the page on a tally that recorded more shootings from mid-May through mid-September than in all of 2019, a soul-crushing surge that never let up — with 1,868 people hit by bullets. When the ball fell in Times Square, the NYPD had responded to 1,531 shooting incidents across the five boroughs, 754 more than in all of 2019, officials said. The NYPD Detective Bureau investigated 462 killings around the city — 143 more than the year before. There hasn’t been such alarming violence since 2006, when 1,565 shootings were reported, according to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

Public Safety News

FEMA calculates riskiest counties in US: Los Angeles ranked the most dangerous
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has calculated the risk for every county in America for 18 types of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, volcanoes and even tsunamis. And of the more than 3,000 counties, Los Angeles County has the highest ranking in the National Risk Index. The way FEMA calculates the index spotlights places long known as danger spots, like Los Angeles, but some other places highlighted run counter to what most people would think. For instance, eastern cities such as New York and Philadelphia rank far higher on the risk for tornadoes than tornado alley stalwarts Oklahoma and Kansas.

LAFD Captain Becomes 2nd Within Department To Die From COVID-19 Complications
A Los Angeles Fire Department captain became the second of the department's firefighters to die from complications due to COVID-19. Chief Ralph M. Terrazas issued a statement on Friday night, saying Captain George Roque had passed away earlier that day at an area hospital from complications of the virus. The 57-year-old was a 22-year veteran of the LAFD, assigned to Fire Station 97 in the Laurel Canyon/Mulholland area, Terrazas added. Roque is survived by his wife and four children. "On behalf of the men and women of the LAFD, I send my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the Roque family and his friends and colleagues throughout the department," Terrazas said. Firefighter paramedic Jose M. Perez, 44, was the department's first employee to succumb to complications from the virus. He died in July.

L.A. County’s Coronavirus Case Tally Doubled In Little Over A Month
With hospitals scrambling and mortuaries filling up, Los Angeles County’s coronavirus infection tally doubled in a little over a month, officials said over the weekend. After the first known coronavirus infection on Jan. 26, 2020, it took ten months for L.A. County to hit 400,000 recorded cases on Nov. 30. But it took just over a month for the county to record the next 400,000 cases, topping 800,000 Saturday. “This is the fastest acceleration of new cases than at any other time during the pandemic,” L.A. County Department of Public Health officials said. While it is true that coronavirus testing has significantly ramped up compared to the early days of the pandemic when supplies were scarce, public health officials say more people are now being infected, falling ill and dying of COVID-19 in L.A. County — and it’s happening at an unprecedented rate. State and local officials reacted to the new surge with a return to stricter restrictions — like banning outdoor dining at restaurants — and with pleas to avoid gatherings.

L.A. County’s New Mandatory Quarantine Order For Travelers Is Now Official. Here’s How It Works
Los Angeles County has become the latest county in California to impose a mandatory quarantine on long-distance travelers. At least two other counties — Santa Clara and San Francisco — have similar mandatory orders. The California Department of Public Health on Nov. 13 issued an advisory urging Californians to stay home or in their region and avoid nonessential travel, including for tourism or recreation. The regional stay-at-home order prohibits hotels and other lodging companies from offering rooms to people visiting for tourism and leisure. The moves are part of a desperate effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, which is pushing hospitals to the breaking point. L.A. County has seen an unprecedented surge in both cases and deaths since November and has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hot spots. Travel at airports picked up dramatically during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and officials fear that could cause COVID-19 to spread even more.

U.S. Surpasses 20 Million Cases Of Coronavirus On First Day Of 2021
The U.S. has started 2021 with a grim milestone: Within hours of the new year, the country surpassed 20 million reported cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, an increase of more than 1 million cases in a single week. The U.S. has maintained the international lead for the number of cases and deaths for months. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins reported that more than 346,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19. India ranks second in the world for coronavirus cases. Despite having a population more than 1 billion people greater than the U.S., according to the World Bank, it has roughly half the amount of COVID-19 cases and less than half the number of deaths. More than 83,752,00 people have been infected worldwide. Several states in the U.S. have topped 1 million cases in the past two months, and more are on the verge of doing so. California became the first to top 2 million cases on December 23, and on Thursday, became the third state to surpass 25,000 COVID-19 deaths. California hospitals have reported that 1 in 5 COVID-19 tests are coming back positive, and health care workers have told CBS News that "it's just utter chaos." Hospitals in the state have been seeing more patients who are in their 20s and 30s.

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: