Drop in Crime Reflects Deputies’ Hard Work

Capt. Christopher Blasnek
Capt. Christopher Blasnek

As the captain of your local Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, I believe it is important to always have facts to support a position you have taken. While I understand I cannot make every person completely happy, I also realize it’s my job to find out why they feel this way. I have found that even after doing everything possible, some situations are still unable to be resolved. Not only is police work dangerous, it can also be frustrating.
In the Aug. 9 letter to the editor “It’s Time: LCF Needs Its Own Police Department,” I was dismayed to read, “LCF continues to be inundated by burglaries. It appears the Sheriff’s Department is doing very little to stop them.” The truth is that residential burglaries are down 40% this year as compared to the same time last year. The same is true for robberies, which are down 67%. This is a huge number and doesn’t come by chance. Deputies worked hard in patrolling, making contacts and conducting arrests. Yes, our arrest statistics are also up for the last several months. Patrols were augmented and numerous tactical operations were combined with the department’s Robbery/Burglary Task Force. This task force is recognized and used by several cities who have their own police departments. Many of their success stories have been documented in recent news media stories.
Regarding response times in the city, I am very proud of our results. Even though I want these times to always be perfect, the reality is that in some circumstances, incidents need to be prioritized based on current situations happening now. An example would be a response to a report call versus a felony in progress. This was the situation in the previous letter, which was personally explained to the resident. Deputies were in fact conducting a felony traffic stop nearby that resulted in the arrests of several burglary suspects.
In looking at the described incident in retrospect, I can honestly say that I personally responded to the victim’s home and have kept abreast of any additional facts. The handling detective is the finest we have to offer. In fact, this particular detective was recently featured on KNBC’s “4 Our Heroes” episode for his efforts in going the extra mile. After four search warrants, he was successful in the recovery of a local Glendale Community College baseball player’s prized glove — true tenacity when most other detectives would have given up. This is the exact detective I would want investigating my own case. I couldn’t ask for more, and I stand by his professionalism and experience.
Recently, I sat with Sheriff Jim McDonnell as he presided over a deputy graduation at the Sheriff’s Training Academy. While always a great event with hundreds of people in the audience, I noticed that many of the other class graduates were wearing blue uniforms, and their police chiefs were on stage to congratulate them. “What was the difference?” I thought. We are all trained the same, with most local police agencies going through the Sheriff’s Academy. We are all licensed by the state of California, receiving the same training standards, the Sheriff’s Department offering even more than most. Those departments presented that evening included Glendale, El Segundo and Gardena. You see, we are all the same, but some are bigger and some smaller. We all have the same goals and purpose — to keep you safe.
I have heard from a few residents who feel that having their own police department would be better for La Cañada Flintridge. I find this interesting after recently having one of our local sheriff’s stations provide coverage to a police department of a nearby town. During the nighttime hours, deputies patrolled their city due to a shortage of personnel. This was also true for Long Beach when they requested our help in patrolling their streets when they found themselves needing to regroup and restructure. A South Bay city recently held an election to decide whether to deactivate its police department because costs became too high. The result was an additional tax on their property. The struggle is just as real for municipal police departments. I am relieved to know the Sheriff’s Department can provide any additional resources I need.
Last, I would ask that before just throwing the statement out there that you want your own police department, personally visit various city websites and look carefully at their crime statistics. I believe you will see what I see: Things are not so bad here in our beautiful city.

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