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City Recognizes First Responders

A City Council meeting brought news and updates highlighting a mayoral transition to come next week, along with a recognition of Glendale Fire Department personnel that responded to the Monterey Park mass shooting in January and an update on crime trends within the city on March 28.
Every year, during the first week of April, the City Council undergoes a transition and appoints one of the five seated councilmembers as the new mayor of Glendale for the upcoming year.
Mayor Ardy Kassakhian’s one-year term ends during the next council meeting on April 4 and Councilmember Dan Brotman is expected to assume the mayoral title following Kassakhian’s term. Glendale City Councilmembers serve for four-year terms and, once a new mayor is decided on, the chosen councilmember then presides at council meetings and undertakes ceremonial responsibilities, in addition to their other council duties.
“This marks my last official meeting as mayor,” Kassakhian said. “Next week is when we have the transition of a new mayor so the gavel will be passed … it’s always an exciting event and it’s always great to see a new colleague take over these duties.”
Kassakhian’s announcement was followed by a recognition ceremony of Glendale Fire Department personnel who responded to the Monterey Park mass shooting that initiated a regional emergency reaction from first responders.
“Tonight, we come together to recognize some of our first responders and I would like to defer my time to a representative of the Monterey Park Fire Department on behalf of Fire Chief Matthew Hallock. They would like to present an update … and some recognition for our fire department employees,” Glendale Fire Chief Timothy Ernst said, while addressing the councilmembers and the community.
“The city of Monterey Park was put on the map that evening for all of the wrong reasons,” Hallock said in a statement, which was read by a Monterey Park Fire Department representative. “I choose to look at it differently. We were put on the map and the entire world witnessed that united response. Regardless of a patch or a badge, personnel from across the region responded to provide assistance.”
The GFD is a part of a regional “Unified Response” mutual aid agreement with 11 other neighboring fire departments in the Foothill area for the purpose of helping any city short on personnel or resources during an emergency, according to Ernst.
One ambulance responded to the mass shooting on Jan. 21, which left 11 dead.
“Members of the Verdugo Fire Communications, along with members of the Glendale Fire Department, went above and beyond to assist the community of Monterey Park in our time of need,” Hallock said in the statement. “There is nothing that can prepare someone for what was encountered that evening … [but] with calmness in their voices and confidence in their abilities, [Glendale personnel] answered the call of those in need.”
Among the city’s first responders recognized were Fire Communications Shift Supervisors Jason Garrett and Melissa Leary, Fire Communications Operators Crystal Bartl and Heather LaSota and Ambulance Operators Raul Salmeron and Maria Ramirez
“I hope they can take comfort knowing that lives were saved as a direct result of their commitment to their duty,” the statement said. “I, along with the Monterey Park community, will be forever grateful. Thank you.”
The first responders were presented with commendations from the city in the form of plaques recognizing the emergency personnel. City Councilmembers stepped forward to shake hands and personally hand the plaques to the six first responders.
“Thank you for representing the best of what Glendale is,” Kassakhian said to the fire department personnel.


During the City Council and city staff comment portion of the meeting, Brotman explained that he had asked Police Chief Manuel Cid to prepare a crime report to update community members on the city’s crime trends.
“That comes out of some of the emails that we’ve all gotten from people in the community expressing concern about the increase in certain types of crime. Chief Cid wrote a very informative memo,” Brotman said.
Cid presented the crime report pertaining to “crime trends and crime stats” and prefaced the report by saying, “The city of Glendale is, has been and remains an incredibly safe city and by and large crime stats remain low, which is a great thing. …
“From a public safety standpoint, as your police chief and the police department, our focuses are going to remain with dealing with crime, crime reduction, traffic safety and emergency preparedness,” he said.
Cid said that the police department took a “snapshot look” of Glendale’s crime statistics over the last five years and reported that, when looking at property and violent crimes, there have not been a lot of changes.
“[Crime] is relatively steady and relatively low for a city of our size. That said, unfortunately, we are like any other city, not without crime,” Cid said.
There were two aspects of increased crime in the city that Cid highlighted, the first being grand theft auto or stolen vehicles and robberies.
About the crime increase in stolen vehicles, Cid said: “That is not unique to Glendale. That is something that we have seen throughout the region. For whatever reason, back in 2019 to 2020, this entire region of L.A. County saw their numbers essentially double and triple in the amount of vehicles being stolen.”
Cid reported that Glendale specifically observed an increase of “double” the amount of stolen vehicle reports from 2019 to 2020 and “since that time, it has maintained that level and stayed relatively steady.”
The police chief followed up by mentioning that the robbery uptick in the city is “the more concerning area. To give a little context to that, a robbery is taking someone’s property by force or fear,” he said.
From 2018 to 2022, there has been a “steady uptick,” Cid said and noted some reasons as to why the city may be experiencing an increase in robberies within recent years.
“A few things I’d like to highlight — I’ll start with the amount of guns we see out on our streets today around the region. We see law enforcement organizations seizing guns at a different level than years past. During COVID-19, throughout the region we
saw ‘zero bail.’ Unfortunately, we saw a lot of criminals do something of a revolving door through our jail system back out onto the streets, often times armed,” he said.
Cid added that 30% of the robberies reported are termed as an “estes robbery,” which is when a suspect is shoplifting or stealing and then confronted by an employee, loss prevention security or another individual and the suspect uses force or a threat to flee from the confrontation. This nuance turns petty thefts into a felony robbery, according to state penal code.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the L.A. Superior Court maintained a temporary zero bail policy to align with the California Judicial Council during the pandemic to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in jails and courthouses. Essentially, the policy, which expired in July 2022, was purposed with keeping jail capacity low by providing zero bail to low-level crimes such as misdemeanors, infractions and some felony offenses.
“As far as the perception of crime going up, is there some spikes in some areas of crime, more so than other communities? Sure, there is. … In Glendale and within the region, there are challenges. But, fortunately, here in our city… [crime] is pretty low and steady,” Cid said.
Brotman thanked the police chief and added that “a report like this every quarter or so would be great to keep us abreast of what’s going on,” he said.
On the topic of guns, the accessibility to guns and gun safety, Kassakhian mentioned that plans are coming to City Council soon to review the creation of a “conditional use” permit for additional gun stores in Glendale, essentially limiting the number of gun stores operating in the city.
Director of Community Development Bradley Kalvert said, “We’re expecting to bring something back in the coming weeks,” with regard to the conditional use permits and that city staff is working to identify a future City Council meeting to expand on the permit.
Plans for a gun buyback event, organized by Glendale Police Department and the city, is also planned for the spring but no date has been announced, Cid said.

First published in the April 1 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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