Several residents in a neighborhood off Lincoln Avenue said at Tuesday's Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations meeting that they have had problems with response time and deputy behavior when the Sheriff's Department has responded to reported shooting incidents near their homes.
The main incident discussed at the meeting was one in which several residents reported hearing gunfire near the intersection of Lincoln and Royce in late October.
Two of those residents, Ken Young and Steve Humphreys, said when the police responded to that incident they treated the pair as if they were shooting suspects. One of the responding officers even removed his gun from his holster and held it up near the two men's faces, Humphreys said.
The officers never ended up talking to a neighbor who actually witnessed the person who fired the gun, Young and Humphreys said, even though they told them where to find her. The officers also took a very long time to get to the scene, they said.
Lt. Duane Allen of the noted that the incident had been discussed at ACONA's November meeting, and an investigation into the conduct of those officers was opened following that meeting. He said that the response time of the unit may have been slowed down because 911 calls made by residents went to the Pasadena Police Department.
He added that while it is possible that the officer had his gun unholstered while speaking with the pair, that would not be a violation of department policy. He said the investigation did not substantiate any allegations that the officer had behaved in a threatening manner, though he declined to provide any further details.
That investigation was since closed; Humphreys provided Patch with a copy of the letter in which the department said that the "deputies were reasonable."
ACONA's organizer, Elliot Gold, said Tuesday that he invited representatives of the Sheriff's Department to come speak on the matter but they declined.
Over on Altadenablog, editor Tim Rutt has some explanation as to why they did not show. Capt. Steve McLean of the Altadena Sheriff's Station told Rutt that ACONA has a teenage volunteer working at the meetings who has a police record.
As long as that volunteer is there, McLean said the Sheriff's Department will not participate in any ACONA meetings--the teen was actually arrested following the November meeting, according to Rutt's report, though charges were later dropped.
Allen confirmed in an interview with Patch that the department's stance is that officers will not attend any further ACONA meetings as long as the teen is working there.
Humphreys said that the department's decision not to attend "speaks volumes" about how they have responded to the incident.
The October gunfire incident was not the only one discussed at the meeting; one nearby neighbor who did not want to be identified told Patch she reported hearing gunfire about a week ago and never saw police show up to the scene.
Allen said he was also familiar with that case: Police did investigate the area to try to find any evidence of a shooter but did not find any. Though several people called the station, none of them left their names or addresses, leaving deputies on the scene without any witnesses to interview, he said.