October marks the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and once again the Burbank Police Department (BPD) is taking part by wrapping one of their Ford Explorer Police Cruisers and one of their motorcycles in a vinyl matte pink color. On Tuesday, October 1 they unveiled the vehicles at Wrapix Imaging.
Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse spoke at the event, along with Deputy Chief Michael Albanese saying that “Breast Cancer Awareness Month has always been dear to our hearts, this is why the Burbank Police Department is happy to publicize this event by wrapping two of our vehicles in pink”.
This will remind the public about the importance of regular breast cancer screening to promote early detection.
“It’s great to partner with the Burbank Police Department once again for this important cause,” said Adam Sumner, owner of Wrapix Imaging said in a press release. “We all know someone affected by this disease, so it’s important to us that we help in raising awareness and money for research.”
(Photo by Ross A Benson)
According to the Burbank Police Department, Wrapix Imaging and 3M Commercial Graphics have generously donated all of the vinyl wrap materials and labor. Wrapix Imaging is a family-owned company specializing in a wide variety of custom-printed graphics. It is also an authorized training and testing center for 3M.
In addition to the two pink vehicles, the Burbank Police Officers will be wearing Burbank Police Pink Patches as part of the Pink Patch Project and will be selling them to the public with proceeds going to the City of Hope for cancer research.
The Explorer will be displayed at different community events during October while the motorcycle will be in use during normal patrol operations. Anyone wishing one of the special patches may stop by the Burbank Police Headquarters at Orange Grove and Third Street and purchase one for $10.
Burbank police are still investigating a serious accident on Thursday, September 19 at Lake and Alameda that sent a 16-year-old boy to the hospital.
Paramedics were dispatched at 7:19 pm after getting the initial call reporting the accident involving a vehicle and a bicyclist. Upon arriving they found a 16-year-old boy who had been seriously injured in the accident while riding his bike.
The driver involved remained at the scene and has been cooperative with investigators who were dispatched to the scene for major accidents. According to Burbank Police Sergent Derek Green, neither drugs nor alcohol were a factor in the accident.
The boy remains in the trauma center in critical condition.
Burbank police received a call from Walmart around 1:20 pm on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 27 of a threat. The store was immediately evacuated of both customers and employees while waiting for Burbank police to arrive.
Walmart Parking lot nearly empty while the Burbank Police investigate after a suspicious phone call received and the store evacuated. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)
An employee who was in the store at the time of the evacuation told myBurbank that “Talking to other people who know, they said there was a caller who said there was a bomb in the store and then the evacuation was called. The employee later said the store manager thanked the employees for evacuating the store within two minutes. The threatening call was made to the Pharmacy.
Police sent out an update at 2:00 pm with the following, “At about 1:20 PM, Burbank Police received a call from Walmart reporting that a suspicious phone call and a perceived threat was received inside the store by an employee. At this time, the details of that threat are unknown, as Police Officers have not yet spoken to the employee who answered the call. Store management chose to evacuate the store prior to the arrival of police. We are working with store personnel to investigate this incident and determine the validity, type, and origin of the threat.”
(Photo by Ross A Benson)
myBurbank was keeping followers aware of the situation via Twitter, reporting a possible bomb threat per the employee until corrected by Burbank Police in an email.
At 2:43 pm, Burbank Sargent Derek Green said “Our released statement never mentioned a “bomb” threat as you said in your Tweet. It said we had yet to interview the employee to determine what kind of threat.”
At the time, more than an hour had passed and it is not known why it took so long to interview the employee.
Employees hung out near their cars while Burbank Police searched the store during the incident. (Photo by Ross A Benson)
At 3:10 pm, police then sent out a release, “Ongoing police investigation at Walmart in Burbank. Allied agency response with explosive detection dogs being deployed to search Walmart following phone call threat of an alleged explosive device inside the store.”
Dogs searched the store until 3:22 pm when they said there was nothing found in the store. Police at 3:45 pm said they deemed the store safe for re-entry.
No other details have been released at this time.
In the release, police said, “The Burbank Police Department takes all threats seriously and investigates any threat, perceived or otherwise, to the fullest extent necessary to protect and ensure the safety of the public.”
Employees wait for the sign that the store is safe and they can return to work. (Photo by Ross A Benson)
On Tuesday, August 6, residents of the Burbank community gathered to participate in what Burbank Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Sergeant Derek Green, calls “one of Burbank’s most important events, National Night Out.”
Members of the Burbank Police and Fire Departments met with Burbank citizens on a non-emergency basis to discuss their role in the community. The event was held on the Chandler Bikeway between Keystone and Lincoln Streets.
(Photo by Ross A Benson)
Many booths were set up including Burbank Animal Shelter, Starbucks (to support the community), Burbank YMCA, New York Life (providing children ID’s), Burbank Human Relations Council and others. There was a live DJ, food and beverages.
Burbank Chief of Police, Scott LaChasse, spoke about the Police Department’s role in the community including safety information and said, “If you do something wrong, just admit it, because, in the end, it will always catch up to you.”
Several homeowners in Burbank neighborhoods even held house parties welcoming local neighbors to support National Night Out.
One homeowner, Mary Brooks, said that the reason she does a block party with her fellow neighbors is that she loves and really supports her community. All in all, the 36th National Night Out was a huge success to support the City of Burbank and its residents.
A late-night incident on Thursday, August 1 could have wound up a whole lot worse.
(Photo by Ross A Benson)
Burbank fire was dispatched on a call at V.S.P. Parking at 2612 Hollywood Way, across from Hollywood Burbank Airport, for a vehicle that was halfway over the side of the parking structure with wheels spinning. A rescue response, including an Urban Search and Rescue, were dispatched.
According to Battalion Chief and Department Spokesman John Owings, arriving units “found one vehicle partially over the side on the 2nd story of the parking structure with all occupants out and no injuries.”
It is not known how the driver wound up in that position. Firefighters remained on scene as the vehicle was pulled back.
“Burbank Fire stabilized the vehicle and provided medical care to the driver. BPD (Burbank Police) called a tow truck who was able to pull the car safely from the edge of the structure,” according to Owing.
A car dangles from the parking structure at V.S.P. Parking on Hollywood Way. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
UPDATE: The L.A. County District Attouney’s Office has filed attempted murder charges against Ulloa and bail is set for $1.165 million dollars. The DA also said that the suspect used a glass bottle was used in the assault. If convicted, he could receive 43 years to life in prison.
After what police call a violent attack, a man believed to be from the San Bernardino was arrested Monday afternoon after an attack against an unsuspecting victim.
The attack took place on Monday, July 1, around 1:50 PM in the afternoon in the 1400 block of N. San Fernando Blvd.
When police arrived on scene several witnesses pointed out a man who had attacked a woman who had suffered a head trauma in an alley at the rear of an office building. Paramedics were called to assist the woman while police went to look for the suspect who was eventually found in the area of Amherst Drive and Broadway Avenue where he was taken into custody.
According to witnesses, the man identified as Hector Manuel Ulloa, 51, had been hiding and was waiting for the victim to walk by when he attacked her, kicking and punching the woman numerous times before fling.
Ulloa was already on parole for assault. Police booked him for attempted murder and he is currently being held without bail. Although the assault appears to be completely random, detectives are still investigating a possible motive for the attack.
Paramedics transported the 63-year-old woman to a trauma center where she is currently listed in critical condition.
Society is battling many social problems that have become front and center such as the homeless problem and the battle that many have with opioids. Both are important issues but a large issue floating under the radar is teenage vaping and the use of e-cigarettes.
Photo by ShutterStock
Last week, Burbank officials started their campaign to educate and hopefully stem the use of e-cigarettes and vaping among our younger population. The campaign is a result of a grant that the Community Development Department in the City of Burbank received in 2018. The Building & Safety division oversees administration of the grant.
According to Carol-Ann Coates, Building Administration Manager for the City of Burbank, “The California Department of Justice awarded the City the $104,335 grant in 2018 to support the City’s efforts toward combating the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors. The City applied for this grant because it aligns with goals to educate the community on the dangers of tobacco use by youth and to combat the illegal sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to minors.”
“The City has several program initiatives that will be carried out. During the two-year term of the grant, the Police Department (PD) will conduct two Shoulder Tap and two Decoy operations.”
Burbank Police Sergeant Derek Green said that the department will be overseeing the decoy operation.
“New laws are focused more on cracking down on retailers selling/furnishing tobacco to people under 21, in hopes of stopping at the source the growing epidemic of tobacco use by our youth,” explained Green. “Anyone who furnishes a minor/person under 21 with tobacco products could be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor in addition to other penalties.”
“Vaping and the use of nicotine falls under new tobacco laws effective in 2016, which raises the age to 21 to purchase tobacco products, including vaping cartridges. The only exception is active U.S. Military, which is 18 years of age,” according to Green.
Vaping or -cigarettes take on so many different looks
While selling the products to anyone under 21 has severe consequences for retailers, there is not much teeth for the police when it comes to possession of e-cigarettes, vapers, cartridges or just lighters and regular cigarettes. Police officers have their hands tied to a point about enforcement.
When asked if a police officer can confiscate any items from a minor if they are in possession, Green stated, “Mere possession of a vaping device (without cartridge) is not illegal. Tobacco products in possession of a minor could be confiscated by officers as evidence, depending on the circumstances.”
It would be up to the City to come up with an ordinance to assist police.
Beverly Hills is trying to stem the problem by outright banning all tobacco products, not just those in possession of minors. This does not mean minors can not possess products or smoking is illegal by adults but it makes it harder to get tobacco products unless they drive to a different city.
Burbank City Councilmember Jess Talamantes is a strong supporter of limiting Burbank’s youth from vaping and smoking in general. “The state has recognized that there is a problem, by first classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products and than raising the legal age to 21, they are on the right track.”
“The Beverly Hills city council went one step further by banning the sale of almost all tobacco products within city limits. At this point, I’m not certain that a total ban is right for Burbank, but I would like to meet with our City Attorney, Police Chief, Chamber of Commerce and PTA Council to identify the potential benefits and pitfalls of such an ordinance for Burbank.”
Of course he also recognizes that you can draft all the laws and ordinances that you want, but then they will need to be enforced, which will take additional manpower and resources.
“Let’s not forget a vital aspect of the existing laws and any future ordinances In Burbank, is enforcement! I have no doubt that Burbank P.D. is ready to enforce the laws already in place and any potential ordinance in the future, but we have to make sure the PD staffing levels will allow for it,” Talamantes added. “After all, as the Beverly Hills city council said ‘that any potential revenue lost by local businesses is outweighed by the public health benefits.'”
There is already an ordinance in Burbank banning any type of smoking, including vaping, in the Burbank Downtown area. Police are responsible for enforcement.
“Under Business & Professions Codes, vaping falls under California’s Smoke Free Laws and makes vaping illegal anywhere that smoking is prohibited. Under our local smoking ordinances in Burbank (e.g., Downtown Burbank no-smoking), vaping would be prohibited as well,” according to Green.
According to Coates, another part of the grant allowed the City and Burbank Police Department to work together on an educational campaign, “Our Police Department and our Public Information Office (PIO) recently released an educational video on social media targeted to youth and retailers on the dangers and illegality of purchasing e-cigarettes. Community Development is working with PD and PIO on outreach and licensing of tobacco retailers. The City Attorney Office provides legal support as necessary.”
In the video, Know the Risks – E-Cigarettes & Youth, which features Green discussing e-cigarettes and vaping, he states that according to the National Youth Tobacco survey in 2018 tobacco use is up 78% among high school students. He also said that 21% of high school students are using e-cigarettes regularly as well as 5% of middle school students. No mention was made of elementary students but no doubt as younger kids see their older siblings using vapers, they will follow.
With one vape pod equaling the same amount on nicotine as a pack of traditional cigarettes, it is important to not only work on enforcement, but on the education.
Dr. Matt Hill, Superintendent Burbank Unified School District, is also quite concerned about this epidemic overtaking the youth of this country, “The BUSD takes this epidemic seriously. We are working closely with students, parents, the City, BPD, and the community to educate individuals about the harms of vaping. We all need to work together to protect our youth. On July 18, 2019, the BUSD will be discussing this topic at their Board meeting.”
They can not just come out with a blanket uniform education or enforcement because students range from 5 to 19 years old so many factors need to be taken into consideration. When it comes to discipline, Dr. Hill reiterated, “Regarding discipline – it depends on the situation (possessing, using, how many times, etc.) The discipline can range from suspension, to in school suspension, Saturday school, parent conference, etc.”
Obtaining the grant the City is using is only a first step to helping parents in this fight.
It is up to parents to monitor their kids. Vaping is not only done by fringe students, but some of the best and smartest. By having so many flavors available, it has become a social thing for kids to try different flavors and share with their friends. Vaping instruments have also been designed to sometimes look like computer jump drives and other routine items.
Parents need to be on the lookout not only for these devices, but also their children’s spending habits. Some of these cartridges can run $30 and $40 dollars each besides the delivery system, the e-cigarette, which can also be expensive.
It is going to be up to the Burbank City Council down the line when it comes to the laws and how they will be enforced. At this point most of the laws only really apply to the retailer or supplier of the tobacco products and not the user, no matter the age. While the grant was a great first step, “one of the program initiatives is to evaluate our existing regulations and policies. The results of that study will be presented to Council in the future. The subject of smoking and vaping by minors is a concern to the City,” said Coates.
Talamantes put it best when he said, “The health and well-being of Burbank residents and more importantly our youth, is a priority for this Councilmember!”
A pursuit that started in the hills of Burbank ended up in North Hollywood Friday night with the arrest of a woman who officers wanted originally to pull over for suspicion of driving under the influence.
(Photo by Ross A Benson)
The pursuit took officers up in the hills of Burbank along Scott and Kenneth at speeds close to 60 mph. The suspect then traveled down Glenoaks at a high rate of speed and went over the Magnolia Overpass into the valley section of Burbank.
Once she got into the valley she picked up speeds reported up to 70 mph down Magnolia although she did slow down at major intersections before running the lights. Once down at Hollywood Way she went to Verdugo and back up to Buena Vista before heading back down Magnolia toward North Hollywood.
(Photo by Ross A Benson)
She continued on Magnolia before going northbound on Laurel Canyon. She ultimately wound up in the parking lot of the Regency Valley Plaza 6 Theaters in the 12100 block of Victory where she proceeded to start doing doughnuts in her truck in the large parking lot. Officers decided the block all the exits and she eventually stopped in the lot.
Burbank police broke out the passenger window to get the woman out of the car since she did not comply with their orders immediately. Paramedics were called to check her over and took her to a local hospital for treatment. A pet in the truck was taken to the Burbank Animal Shelter.
Police have not released the name of the suspect.
There were no accidents during the pursuit and no injuries to officers.
On June 19, 2018, JAY BOGAN was at Burger King, expecting to enjoy a nice meal. He wasn’t expecting to witness a maniac suddenly attack an elderly man and repeatedly stab him in the face. But for Bogan, to see was to act. He immediately rushed toward the assailant, hitting him with a chair and wrestling him to the floor. Bogan proceeded to disarm him and keep him pinned until the police and paramedics arrived.
Johnny Jay Bogan (center) receives The Citizen Award. (Photo by Ross A Benson)
The elderly man had sustained serious injuries, but Bogan’s courageous intervention had saved his life. Bogan had received minor injuries, a fortunate outcome given the risks of violent confrontation. But when the police acknowledged his heroic actions, Bogan demurred. “Isn’t that something everyone should do?”
But risking your life to save that of a stranger is not something that everyone does. And when a citizen actually takes that risk, it is a cause for public recognition from those who make it their profession to protect and serve.
And so Bogan received the Citizen Award for his “selfless service to the community” at last Thursday’s Burbank Police Awards Luncheon at the Marriott Burbank Hotel, hosted by the Burbank Police Foundation.
Burbank Police Officer of the Year John Embleton ( Center) Photo by Ross A Benson)
Among those honoring Bogan was Officer of the Year JOHN EMBLETON. He had been driving along the I-5 when he came across a bad traffic collision. He found out that a murder suspect had fled from Sacramento hours earlier in one of the vehicles. The suspect realized he had been made. He fled on foot. Officer Embleton gave chase and nabbed the suspect before he could do any more harm.
Officer Embleton joined the Burbank Police department in 2005 and is currently a member of the SWAT team. Since 2010 he has also been a K-9 handler, working closely with his four-legged partner Bran. His peers cite his “relentless work ethic and positive attitude.”
Both Police Sergeant JAMAL CHILDS and Jailer KIRK DAVIS received Lifesaving Medals for “actions resulting in the saving or preservation of human life.” On December 20, 2018, Sgt. Childs saw a man climb over a railing and sit precariously on a sign overlooking the I-5. At a time when many were enjoying the holiday season, others were feeling only suicidal despair. Sgt. Kirk recognized the sign sitter was one of them. He quickly grabbed the man and pulled him to safety. If the suicidal man had fallen onto the freeway, he could well have ended more lives than his own.
Jailer Kirk Davis honored with the Lifesaving Medal. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)
When Jailer KIRK DAVIS ushered a distraught inmate into the cell after booking for domestic violence, his instincts told him to check up on him frequently. And indeed, within minutes the inmate had turned his shirt into a noose around his neck, with the other end wrapped around a nearby faucet. But Davis, true to his gut feeling, arrived in time to stop the inmate from hanging himself. Paramedics confirmed that the inmate had sustained only minor injuries.
Other awards were directed to outstanding team efforts. “For extraordinary efforts earning the esteem of your colleagues and community,” several officers received the Professional Esteem Award for their work as members of the Burbank Police Gang Unit: Officers DUSTIN RODRIGUEZ, HARRY MARKEY, PAUL FRENCH, COREY CHEFALO, AARON DENNING, and PIETRO PIRA. Since 2016, these officers have been fighting gang-related crime at the street level. They’ve succeeded in reducing gang graffiti by 83%, in making over 600 arrests and in significant recoveries of illegal firearms.
For her work in handling the high volume of court summons and navigating the Superior Court system generally, Police Technician HELEN QUACH was honored as Non-Sworn Employee of the Year. Her colleagues universally recognize her as “knowledgeable, responsible and reliable.”
Recognition also extended to City employees who have offered substantial assistance to the Police Department. As Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy remarked, “It’s a testament to the Burbank Police Foundation and all their supporters that they recognize staff from other City departments who assist police in catching perpetrators and solving crimes.” She continued, “And it’s a credit to our whole City and the men and women of the Burbank Police Department.”
Traffic Signal Operations Specialist and Public Works Department employee RICHARD LOCKYER received the Professional Esteem Award for assisted police in over 500 investigations this past year. Lockyear helped them glean valuable evidence from traffic cameras throughout the City.
Information Technology Department employees were among those receiving Professional Esteem Awards for their successful efforts to transition the Police Department from paper to digital when making daily field activity reports. Awardees included project manager LIEUTENANT JOHN PFROMMER, Crime Analyst KEN PANU, Assistant Director of Technology JASON MILLER (IT), Network Systems Analyst GAREN ESSAKHANIAN (IT), Network Systems Analyst SEVAN KHACHATOURIANS and Volunteer ELAINE STEVENS.
In view of the ongoing adoption of improved technology, it was particularly appropriate that the awards luncheon remembered retired Police Chief GLEN BELL, who had died last January. Serving as Burbank’s Police Chief from 1982 through 1990, he had been instrumental in pioneering the Police Department’s transition to modern, digital-based methods in reporting, data gathering and data analysis. On his watch, he had also instituted the gang detail and the helicopter program.
Volunteer of the Year recognition went to KAYE NORRIS, who has been volunteering for the Police Department since 2007. She has helped with a variety of activities, including answering the phone and helping with the citation paperwork. The other volunteers look forward to “Kay Days,” when her unfailingly friendly and upbeat demeanor brightens the whole office.
Receiving “Gold” recognition for 500+ hours of volunteer service were ELAINE STEVENS and the aforementioned KAYE NORRIS.
Receiving “Silver” recognition for 250-499 hours of volunteer service were JOHN KEMMERER and TED SCHONLAW.
Receiving “Bronze” recognition for 100-249 hours of volunteer service were ANNE WHITE, JACKIE LIGHT, LINDA TRONCONE, and SUNNY SINGER.
Burbank police Foundation President Cristina Spratt did the welcomes and introductions, followed by a rousing pipe-and-drum rendition of patriotic tunes by the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society. The Burbank Police Department Honor Guard (Sgt. Chris Canales, Officer Harry Markey, Officer Jesse Horn and Officer Paul French) did the Presentation of Colors. Father David Bedrossian gave the Invocation, and Police Chief Scott LaChasse introduced his command staff. President Spratt introduced the Chief’s Circle Sponsor Cusumano Real Estate Group, represented at the awards ceremony by Michael Cusumano. Noted radio personality Jim Roope served as Master of Ceremonies.
The awards ceremony was the fifth hosted by the Burbank Police Foundation, a community-based organization seeking to cultivate closer partnerships between the Police Department and the community it serves. Judging by the caliber of the award recipients, the partnerships are close indeed.
Burbank police were called to the 1800 block of N. Kenwood around 9:25 am Tuesday for a report of a possible burglary with the occupants still inside the residence.
Arriving on scene, officers were able to stop a vehicle and detained the driver after finding items of evidence inside the car with two additional suspects still outstanding. A perimeter was quickly established in the area to contain the men.
Police searched the area house by house led by the Burbank Police K-9’s with assistance from both Glendale and San Fernando who also sent their K-9 units in the massive search. There was also support from above with police helicopters.
Police were finally able to find the men after about four hours of searching with both being found underneath a house on Maple Street. Both men were then taken into custody with further incident.
Police released the names of the suspects as:
Katie Frank, a 22-year-old woman from Los Angeles
Elias Valdez, a 26-year-old man from Los Angeles
Jesus Ruano, a 28-year-old man from Los Angeles
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will review the case and recommend charges.