Category Archives: Tustin Police Department
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I expect everyone to look a little Irish at the polls Tuesday. And, if you plan to drink beer, do me a favor and don’t let them put the food coloring in it to make it green. Real Irishmen don’t drink green beer.
It looks like another short session for the Tustin City Council Tuesday evening. I hope everyone takes the time to vote in the election to replace Mimi Walters for the California Senate. With any luck, we wil have a clear winner and forego another runoff election in May. That doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t have another election this year. If Don Wagner is elected, there will be yet another state office to deal with in his vacant Assembly seat.
The Closed Session Agenda is fairly short with the usual litigation issues up for discussion and only one real property negotiation for what looks like MCAS property.
Likewise, the Consent Calendar is short with only six items. Aside from the usual items, the city will ask for approval on:
Item 4 – Approval of Consultant Agreement with Risk Management Professionals Inc. to update the city’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. This is a pro forma requirement for federal funding. The plan is required to be updated every five years. The $29,000 cost has been budgeted according to the staff report.
Item 5 – Approval of Amendment to Joint Agreement for 800 Megahertz Countywide Coordinate Communications System. As far back as I can remember, even in the old days of the low band police radio system, the Orange County Sheriffs Department has provided communications services for virtually all police and county services. About 12 years ago or so, the county converted to an 800 Mhz system that was designed to provide cellular service similar to cellphones. It took a few years for the bugs to be worked out (there are still some, in my opinion) but, overall, the system seems to be working well. It is expensive though and Tustin is required to pay its fair share for services rendered.
That cost is $2.7 million dollars over a five year period, placing us 16th in highest cost out of 54 agencies that use the system. For our money we get new police consoles and new software for all our radios. The Chief uses cool terms like “P25 compliance” and “System Extension” to sell the city council on a system we have no choice but to support. And, the truth is, we do get our money’s worth. Today’s communications system is light years ahead of the old system used when I was chasing down police calls with my CHP surplus radio in my ’68 Charger. Ah, the good old days.
If there was a reason for attending the city council meeting this Tuesday, it would be to hear the sole item on the Regular Business Agenda.
Item 7 – Tustin Police Department Year in Review is the annual presentation to the community on how our police department is doing. Looking at the Power Point presentation Chief Celano has prepared, I would say they are doing a bangup job for us.
Some highlights inlcude:
- Continuation of Accredited Status with CALEA. Tustin is one of only three county departments and twenty statewide departments to gain accreditation.
- Exceeded crime reduction goals due to CTAP (crime analysis) implementation
- 176 DUI arrests
- 57 Felony gang arrests
Add to that the community efforts made by Chief Celano since taking office. His “Coffee with a Cop” program has been well received and he previously told me plans to continue the program. According to the presentation, Tustin is also looking at body-worn camera for its officers and upgrading the Emergency Operations Center.
We are fortunate to have a great police department that we can be proud of. Yes, there are outside detractors that have attempted to disrupt and discredit. Overall, the record speaks for itself. Celano has a great community philosphy that works well for a man who likes to maintain a low-key status.
As we said, it is a short evening, hardly worth going to city hall for. Of course, if you have cable TV, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. Now, if we could just get Councilman Bernstein to learn how to Tweet from the dais.
Don’t forget to vote. If you haven’t sent in your ballot, drop it in the mail today or drop it off at the local polling place to have it registered. I’ll be at the poll bright and early so I can vote on the way to work. That way, I get my cool “I voted” sticker.
On December 6, 1972, Tustin Police Officer Waldron “Wally” Karp was on patrol when he answered a call to backup an Orange County Deputy Sheriff who was responding to a “man with a gun” call. As they approached the residence, they heard rustling in the bushes outside. They called for the suspect to come out. Instead, the suspect fired and hit Officer Karp and a sheriffs deputy.
On January 7, 1973, Officer Karp succumbed to his injuries and passed away. He was a Marine combat veteran and a family man who left behind a grieving wife and children.
For years, Karp’s photo hung in the lobby of the Tustin Police Department as the sole reminder of his sacrifice. But, in 2001, the work and planning of a group of employees led to the construction of a proper memorial for the only TPD officer to die in the line of duty. The memorial stands outside the department’s entrance as a reminder to all not just of Karp’s sacrifice, but the dedication of each police officer that enters the door of the Tustin Police Department.
The memorial ceremony will take place on the 42nd anniversary of Karp’s death, January 7, 2015 at 5;30 pm. The memorial is located in front of the police department, 300 Centennial Drive, Tustin CA.
Barring emergencies, the Tustin City Council and Planning Commission will not meet again this year. In fact, the city has closed shop until after the new year. Hopefully, the police department will see a calm end of the year and we won’t see any firey crashes or folks too unhappy with their Christmas gifts.
Although the year passed quickly, we did have our fair share of problems. I don’t think the folks on Nisson Road will forget the sudden gathering of SWAT vehicles and cops looking for an armed suspect in a shooting near their apartment buildings.
In February, Tustin PD responded to a domestic violence call at apartments in the same area and were confronted by an armed suspect. The suspect was subsequently shot and killed, triggering protests both in the streets and in the city council chamber. Lawsuits have been filed and the DA is investigating. However, under their policy, the results of the investigation may never be known.
City fathers also had problems with the Orange County DA’s ill-conceived Sex Offender statute. After it failed to pass the smell test with the courts, various cities -including Tustin- quickly moved to repeal their ordinances that were mostly fashioned after the county’s. To date, nothing has taken it’s place. Oh, don’t worry. The state has laws the police can continue to enforce that will protect your children….and probably better than anything our used-car-salesman DA could come up with.
Our new Chief of Police, Charlie Cellano, may think he stepped into it. Fortunately, he is a veteran of the Tustin PD and (presumably) knew what he was getting into when he took over from Scott Jordan. The new chief was sworn in in February. You may not have noticed because, as he revealed to me in an interview, he has a rather unique style of management that encourages officers to work with residents. His “Coffee with a Cop” program has officers meeting and greeting at local coffee shops in an effort to make them look more approachable. Now, if we could just get the city council from showing up and trying to steal the show.
Police did make the city safer for us all when, sometime in October, they contained a rampaging Emu that had escaped it’s pen in Old Town Tustin. The police report claimed their was no threat or danger to public safety but, you know how those Emus are when they get riled. Rumor had it some officers were later asking for beak-proof vests but that hasn’t been substantiated.
And, of course, those of you who are into fantasy baseball, the new year continues to hold hope for the Angels moving to Tustin. Earlier in the year, team owner Arte Moreno broke off talks with Anaheim about renewal of their stadium lease. Moreno then made a big show of holding talks with other cities, including Tustin. The city council finally revealed they were in discussion with the owner about the move. Their attempt to laugh it off has been squelched by the continued Closed Session discussions with Moreno’s front corporation, Pacific Coast Investors.
I wouldn’t hold my breath. Moreno could be trying to put pressure on Anaheim. He has also spoken with Irvine, a more likely relocation of the team. If he is serious about making a move, he will most certainly demand a new tax-payer paid stadium out of the deal. That would put pressure on a city known better for its hometown neighborhoods than its entertainment prowess.
Old Town Tustin has also received renewed attention by the city. Normally, given the Community Develpment Department’s previous hatred of the area, I would tell you to be afraid, be very afraid. But, it seems our CDD Director, Elizabeth Binsack, has changed her stripes and is now looking to revitalize the area. A series of city sponsored outreach meetings have sparked interest by the residents and businesses of Old Town.
The ambitious plan includes making it easier to build on residential lots by changing the status of “granny flats” and apartments. As well, the city commissioned a study and a series of community meetings to engender support for an Old Town revitalization effort. The city has held two such meetings over the year and plans to hold at least one more.
Of course, part of this effort is due to cost. The effort is likely to cost the city a bundle of money, should proposals be realized. And, the likely increase in tax base from the sales will not dissuade Binsack from seeking further underwriting either through taxes or bond issues. Good luck with that.
So, although we had a few stumbles as we draw our city out of the depths of recession, things are looking brighter as we look ahead. It’s hard to believe our town now numbers over 78,000 residents. That’s an increase of 20,000 since I moved here in 1995. And we aren’t done yet. Since city manager Jeff Parker took back the reins of master developer of the Tustin Legacy, develpment of new tracts, homes and apartment buildings has taken off. Next year shows no signs of abatement.
While we’re at it, we’ll give kudos to Jeff Parker for his overall management of the city. While we can be (and are) harsh critics of individual issues that may come up, Parker and this city council led by Al Murray, have done a pretty good job of keeping the city on track through some pretty scary times. Let’s hope they keep it up.
And whichever way they go, we’ll be there putting their feet to the fire. Happy New Year.
Do me a favor and don’t be a victim to stupidity. Drunk driving is a serious offense that can easily exceed $10,000. And, don’t believe so-called DUI attorneys claiming a high success rate. There is a reason cops are successful in stopping drunks. And, the breath or chemical test is pretty proof positive, with the old days of fooling the test with Listerine a thing of the past.
With that in mind, here is a schedule of DUI activities from the Orange County Sheriff:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lt. Jeff Hallock, 714.904.7042
Winter Holiday Mobilization Schedule of Operations
SANTA ANA, Calif. (December 12, 2014) – The Southern California Avoid DUI Task Force is announcing its upcoming enforcement operations for the Winter Holiday DUI Campaign. The following schedule of operations, dates, and locations are provided for broadcast.
DUI / Driver’s License Checkpoint
- Friday December 12, 1900-0300, Cities of Garden Grove, Placentia & Tustin
- Friday December 19, 1900-0300, Cities of Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Mission
Viejo, Orange & Garden Grove
- Saturday December 20, 1900-0300, City of Laguna Beach
- Saturday December 27, 1900-0300, Cities of Westminster & Santa Ana
- The City of Anaheim will be conducting additional DUI / Driver’s License Checkpoints with dates TBD.
DUI Saturation Patrols
- Friday, December 12, 2000-0300, Cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine and La Habra
- Saturday, December 13, 2000-0300, City of Irvine, Laguna Beach, Anaheim, Tustin and Brea
- Tuesday, December 16, 2000-0300, City of Anaheim
- Thursday, December 18, 2000-0300, City of Anaheim
- Friday, December 19, 2000-0300, Cities of Anaheim & Costa Mesa
- Saturday, December 20, 2000-0300, Cities of Anaheim & Irvine
- Tuesday, December 23, 2000-0300, City of Anaheim
- Saturday, December 27, 2000-0300, Cities of Anaheim, La Habra & Orange
- Tuesday, December 30, 2000-0300, City of Anaheim
- Wednesday, December 31, 2000-0300, Cities of Anaheim, Irvine, Placentia, Westminster and Brea
- The City of Fountain Valley and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting additional Saturation Patrols with dates to be determined.