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Residents Complain About Sheriff's Response Time, Deputy Behavior

Several residents at the Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations meeting Tuesday said they were unhappy with Sheriff's Department response to gunfire incidents in their neighborhood.

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. 

Lisa Hastings January 26, 2012 at 01:13 AM
ACONA has been a great help to our neighborhood in helping to curtail the gang/drug activity and facilitating the the Sheriff to help clean up the problem. Our success in cleaning up the problem was because of the good relations ACONA has had with the Sheriff's Station. I am disappointed with this recent development between ACONA and the Sheriff's station.
Hugo January 26, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Me too
Dickinson January 26, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Okay, I'm confused. There is a picture of Officers at a table above. But your article says that they wouldn't show up at the meeting? Then there are comments from Lt. Allen but you say "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." Were they there or not?
Dan Abendschein (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 04:31 PM
@Dickinson - The photo comes from a previous meeting (I do note it in the caption). I spoke with Lt. Allen by phone the morning after the meeting. I hope that clears up the confusion.
michele Zack January 26, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Without knowing every detail, as reported this appears a case of the Sheriff wanting to control ACONA and set the rules for them to agree to participate. Think it's rather unfortunate. That a youth got into some trouble, but no charges were filed, creates an opportunity for the sheriffs to remain involved and to model how to work together and to work through differences — not an excuse to boycott a community meeting of well-meaning citizens. Perhaps there's more here that we don't know?
Dan Abendschein (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 05:12 PM
michele, from talking to Lt. Allen, it seems like they are suggesting that because the teen collects email addresses, neighborhood addresses, and other information, there is a risk that he could use that information for crime purposes. Tim's article suggests the same thing. Now that might be a valid concern, but I still don't see why that would make the department not show up - if anything, if they have this concern they ought to show up and warn people, though since charges were dropped against the kid it's not really very fair to call him out that way either.
Steve Lamb January 27, 2012 at 03:21 AM
It seems like the LACSD are up to their old trick bag of attempting to control a community organization and say who will and will not be listened to. The DA did not proffer charges, therefore the kid isnt a criminal...Seems liek they dont understand who is the servant and who is the served. Anyway, these issues with the LACSD have been issues during my entire lifetime here in West Altadena, The ATC refused to deal with them honestly because they feared "Loss of credibility with the County" Seems like loss of credibility with the citizen was of no concern to them. GOOD WORK ACONA!
yeahian February 07, 2012 at 04:05 PM
i called 911 a few months back because some guy was threatening me... it took 15min and a additionnal call to get a car out there. When they got there they were like well what do u want us to do. I was like nothing now. Next time I won't wast e the time calling
Steve Lamb February 07, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Yeahian- Our Sheriff's department is an advertisement for the need of every Citizen to be armed. When needed they can not be bothered, when finally massed they are abusive.
yeahian February 07, 2012 at 04:15 PM
armed with maybe pepper spray at the most but even that would of just hurt the person. Made the situation worse and if we both had weapons it would of been way worse. Shit in the end it was no big deal if we hurt one another it wopuld still be a issue.
Brian February 07, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Anyone who lives in that area of Altadena and doesn't have a shotgun, or pistol, rifle for protection is a fool, to be quite blunt about it. The best offense is a good defense. Most serious criminals living / roaming in Altadena ALREADY have their tools. It is YOUR responsibility to protect yourself and your family, not the Sheriff's department; you cannot depend on them 100%.
yeahian February 07, 2012 at 05:24 PM
look at the statistics ur paranoid
Steve Lamb February 07, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Yep.
Steve Lamb February 07, 2012 at 07:05 PM
So Yeahian, I am confused by you. You believe the Sheriffs can and will protect you or do you believe the response time and attitude are not sufficient.
yeahian February 07, 2012 at 07:22 PM
response times are pathetic in my experience. However I do not think guns are the answer
yeahian February 07, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Altadena is for the most a pretty safe and friendly place. I live in between Fair Oaks and Lincoln and have for 6 yrs.I haven't seen much change crimewise in that time. Besides the recent activity near the liquor store on fair oaks...
Steve Lamb February 07, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Well, since the Sheriffs department has refused to be reformed for some fifty years now, what would you suggest?

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