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Big crowd for police Town Hall

Arcadia PD Promotes “See Something, Say Something” Huge Turnout at Citywide Town Hall Meeting by Glenn Oyoung

If you take the time to read the weekly Arcadia Police blotter or check out sites like you will come to the conclusion that Arcadia is a very safe city in terms of violent crimes but that we disproportionally (compared to our neighboring cities) are being targeted by criminals who believe we are the best place to steal property, whether it’s from our homes or from our cars. It makes sense, when you want to go shopping you go to a grocery store. The problem is these patrons don’t aim to pay. No doubt our state’s policy of releasing non-violent offenders through AB109 is putting pressure on cities like Arcadia who have lots of law-abiding citizens with jobs who can’t be home at all times to prevent being victimized.

Glenn Oyoung

So now that I’ve painted such a grim picture we should all either leave Arcadia or hole up and fortify our homes, right? Not quite. Enter the brave men and women of the Arcadia Police Department, who on February 20th hosted a City-Wide Town Hall to help inform Arcadians of what the latest trends are in residential burglaries and property theft, educate us on what we can do to combat crime, and perhaps most importantly, offer ways for Arcadians to get involved and partner with APD to help keep Arcadia safe.

I was simply blown away by the number of residents who showed up, which APD puts at well over 400 citizens. Mike Vercillo, Community Services Officer for APD says that this was the first town hall of this magnitude. I believe him as Arcadians of all ages and demographics showed up. On top of that the presence from APD was also impressive with a show of the APD’s top management. City Councilmember Gary Kovacic was on hand to tweet real-time from the event and one of the five candidates running for City Council, Sho Tay, also attended. Tay is an ex-reserve police officer who has made public safety a key issue in his campaign.

For those who missed the town hall, APD has posted the slideshow online so you can still get the key takeaways.

A revamped “beat” system was unveiled with Arcadia segmented into five beats (North, South, East, West, and Central) led by Lieutenants Anderson, Castro, Cullen, Flores, and Nakamura. This is a great sign for citizens that APD wants us to be able to engage with them at a leadership level in each area of our community. Sergeant Ortiz discussed recent trends and shared several instances where APD has intervened or arrested criminals through a combination of good police work and attentive neighbors. Sergeant LeVeque, presented information on the myriad of ways that APD seeks to engage the community through social media.

Throughout the night citizens were encouraged to speak up and contact APD if anything seems suspicious. As Sergeant Ortiz repeatedly said, “[APD] is really good at greeting people, welcoming them to our city, taking down names and asking if people have business here in our city,” which elicited laughs from the audience. Whether our suspicions turn out to be true or not, APD really wants to investigate and be the ones to check folks out and we are most definitely not bothering them.

Along those lines CSO Mike Vercillo, who spearheads APD’s Neighborhood Watch Program as well as the Volunteers in Patrol Support (VIPS) program spent some time giving citizens a way to proactively get involved in helping keep Arcadia safe. The Neighborhood Watch’s motto of “See Something, Say Something” really boiled down the takeaway for me coming out of the town hall. We may be all targeted but like anything in life we don’t have to take it on the chin, we can fight back by being good neighbors and active citizens and working with APD to report anything suspicious and also get involved.

— By Glenn Oyoung Glenn Oyoung, a founder of turn3 Creative marketing and merchandising services, lives in Arcadia with his wife, kids, and three dogs.

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