Vaccination Mandate Begins for City Workers

First published in the Jan. 22 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

A city of Burbank policy mandating vaccinations against COVID-19 for its employees and commission members began Friday, though workers will have more time to submit proof of vaccination.
Simone McFarland, a city spokeswoman and assistant director of community development, said employees who did not submit either proof of vaccination or a valid exemption request this week would have one more week to comply with the policy. Those who didn’t provide either document after that period, she added, would be subject to a “progressive discipline process.”
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For Police Chief, Mental Health Training Is Key

First published in the Jan. 22 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank Police Department’s Mental Health Evaluation Team, which consists of a police officer and a Los Angeles County clinician, responds to hundreds of calls a year. It received an award from then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris for being a model for other departments.
Michael Albanese, the BPD’s newest police chief, got the ball rolling with a phone call.
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Albanese Becomes Permanent Police Chief

First published in the Jan. 1 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Michael Albanese, Burbank’s interim police chief, was selected by City Manager Justin Hess to become the permanent chief this week.
Albanese was appointed as the interim chief in July 2021, after Chief Scott LaChasse retired. Since then, according to the city, he has implemented several initiatives such as promoting diversity within the department via recruitment and hiring practices, creating a succession plan, implementing new traffic strategies to combat speeding and racing vehicles, establishing the biennial survey in both Armenian and Spanish for the first time, and meeting individually with sworn and non-sworn staff to develop ideas to improve communication and collaboration throughout the department.
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Burbank Police Department to Start Gathering Stop Data

First published in the Dec. 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank police will begin collecting demographic data on the people officers stop on Jan. 1, in compliance with a state law aiming to increase departments’ transparency.
The California Legislature passed the Racial and Identity Profiling Act in 2015, requiring peace officers to collect the demographic information of pedestrians and drivers they detain or search. The bill’s effects have rolled out since 2018, starting with the state’s largest law enforcement agencies. The final “wave” of applicability begins next year; agencies with between one and 333 officers — including Burbank — must begin collecting data by Jan. 1 and report that data by April 2023.
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Driver Charged With Manslaughter After Fatal Collision

First published in the Dec. 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Authorities this week charged a driver, whom police allege killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence, with manslaughter and felony hit and run.
The driver, whom the Burbank Police Department identified as 49-year-old Granada Hills resident Jesse Molina, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to three felonies: gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person and driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury. His bail was set at $2 million.
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Burbank Resident, 85, Dies in Car Crash

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

An 85-year-old man died last week after being involved in a vehicle collision near San Fernando Boulevard and Floyd Street.
Shortly before 4 p.m. on Dec. 3, according to the Burbank Police Department, officers responded to a report of a traffic collision involving two vehicles around that location. When they arrived, they found the driver of one of the vehicles with serious injuries. Continue reading “Burbank Resident, 85, Dies in Car Crash”

Officials Discuss Speeding Prevention Measures, Plans

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The City Council recently directed city staff members to adjust the traffic signal timing on Glenoaks Boulevard, one idea out of many raised to control reckless driving.
The change, which Public Works Director Ken Berkman told council members Tuesday will take a few weeks, could effectively cause motorists driving faster than Glenoaks’ speed limit during non-peak hours to encounter red lights more frequently.
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Break-Ins Target Four Magnolia Park Businesses

First published in the Dec. 4 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank police are investigating burglaries that affected four small businesses in the Magnolia Park area early Friday morning.
Officers received notice that an alarm at a hardware store had been triggered at about 2:40 a.m. in the 3200 block of West Magnolia Boulevard, and found that three other businesses had also been burglarized. All had their windows smashed, according to Lt. J.J. Puglisi of the Burbank Police Department.
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Police Arrest Driver Suspected in Hit-and-Run

First published in the Dec. 4 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank police arrested a driver this week for allegedly fleeing the scene after striking two pedestrians — including a child in a stroller.
Police officers and paramedics arrived at the intersection of Glenoaks Boulevard and Palm Avenue at about 8:55 a.m. Tuesday, after receiving a report of the collision. Witnesses said the motorist involved had driven away after hitting the two pedestrians, according to the Burbank Police Department. Both were taken to a trauma center with serious injuries.
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