Police to Impose Fines for Ignoring Face-Mask Law

Glendale police officers, shown here at last week’s Cruise 2020 event, are expected to begin fining residents and businesses for not complying with the public face-mask mandate, at their discretion.
Photo courtesy city of Glendale

Facing an increasing coroavirus case rate among its residents, the City Council has tasked the Glendale Police Department with imposing fines against residents and businesses that are flouting the city’s face-mask mandate.
First offenders are subject to a $400 fine, with a second offense rising to $1,000 and a third ticket coming out to $2,000. Though Glendale was among the first Los Angeles County cities to impose a mask mandate for those in public, compliance issues have repeatedly been aired to city officials. Continuing spikes in local COVID-19 cases have only added urgency to the issue.
“None of us want to do this,” Councilman Ardy Kassakhian said. “We’re all looking down at a potential other shutdown. I don’t think any of us want another shutdown. Nobody wants us to go under lockdown again, yet if you read the news articles and look at statistics, that’s where we’re headed. So, if it takes a little bit of tough love — and, quite honestly, I’ll trust our law enforcement and the police chief to do whatever they need to do and however they need to do it — then that’s what will be needed.”

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D.A. Charges Two in Fatal Shooting of Man, 20

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has filed murder and attempted murder charges against a man and a woman in the fatal shooting of a Glendale resident outside a local restaurant in May.
Officers from the Glendale Police Department arrested 20-year-old David Rodriguez and 21-year-old Liana Mkrtchyan on Thursday, July 9, in connection with the death of 20-year-old Teodik Atanes on May 20, GPD spokesman said. A 10-year-old boy also was wounded in the shooting, the spokesman added.
Both suspects were charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder, according to the GPD. They were scheduled for arraignment in L.A. Superior Court in Pasadena this week. Bail for Rodriguez, of Glendale, was set at $4 million and for Mkrtchyan, of Van Nuys, at $3.05 million.

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GPD’s Explorers Discover Rewards of Volunteering

By Haley Sawyer | Special to the Glendale News-Press

Photo courtesy Glendale Police Department
As former Glendale Police Explorers, Brianna Guzman and Valeria Medina (center) lead a group of their peers new to the program during a pre-pandemic meeting. The pair are now Glendale Police Department cadets.

Flor Silva has been involved in the Glendale Police Department’s Explorer program for only nine months, but it has already had an impact on her life, through the friendships she’s made and the hours she’s spent serving the community as a volunteer.
“So far, the best thing I’ve done is when we donated toys to the people in need in December for Christmas and we took Christmas trees to their houses,” said Silva, 16. “Seeing the happy faces on the kids, it was a really good memory.”
Due to concerns over COVID-19, community service and many other Explorer activities have been halted. Battle of the Badges, a highly anticipated physical and mental competition involving the Glendale Explorers and their counterparts in other cities in the area, has been canceled.

Photo courtesy Glendale Police Department
Charlton Vidal instructs Glendale Explorers at the shooting range. The Explorer program is for people ages 14-21 who are interested in learning about or pursuing a career in law enforcement.

There has yet to be a graduation ceremony for those who have completed the program, and new applications aren’t being accepted, either.
The Explorer program, which is funded by the GPD and fundraisers, has been condensed, with two-hour meetings on Tuesday nights. Although the schedule has changed, the teens are still finding strength in the bond they have with each other and the program itself.
“It definitely helps me because I feel like I have something to look forward to since school is online now,” said Christopher Magana, 20, who has been involved with the Explorers for four years. “That’s my little escape from what’s going on. It helps me a lot and I look forward to it almost every single week.”
The Explorer program is for people ages 14-21 who are interested in learning about or pursuing a career in law enforcement. Potential Explorers must submit an initial application, pass an oral interview, a background check and have satisfactory grades and a readiness to serve the community.
Participants in the program must complete a 14- to 18-week Explorer academy in which they are challenged physically and mentally. They can also be credited with service hours, which are required for graduation in the Glendale Unified School District.
“It’s a lot of time dedication and kids are busy,” said Officer Michelle Gonzalez, who runs Explorers. “I have some really good kids, and you have to be able to manage your time. Homework is not an excuse to miss a meeting. I think they come out at the end better, and the parents are extremely happy and complimentary of the program.”
Gonzalez has managed to keep the program fun but structured for all involved. Explorers are expected to meet grooming standards even for online meetings and participate in peer-led presentations.
The officer has also invited them to attend online meetings in the community, such as neighborhood watch meetings. A goal of such participation is to emphasize the importance of dialogue between law enforcement and the people it serves, especially in times when attitudes towards police officers can be tense.
“They do have a uniform. It might look a little bit different from ours, but they’re still representatives of the police department,” said Gonzalez, “and I think the community at large thinks that they have all the answers and equal training and all that stuff. It’s to really prepare them for those interactions and give them the tools of knowledge to be able to interact with the community and give them information that they’re seeking.”
Gonzalez is unsure of when the Explorer program will be full-fledged once again, since it will depend on Los Angeles County and state health regulations, although she has considered having in-person meetings with small groups in the near future. Until then, the Explorers are still dutifully studying and building connections.
“It’s really like a second family, if I have to be honest,” said Narek Hayrapetyan, a third-year Explorer. “At first those people were acquaintances, now they’re friends and now I see them as a second family.”

Reminder: Fireworks Are Illegal in Glendale

Ahead of the Fourth of July, city officials have reminded Glendale residents that it is illegal to discharge fireworks in city limits.
In an announcement, the city re-upped its “zero tolerance” policy for all personal fireworks, including the “safe and sane” varieties. Citing the personal danger that arises from fireworks use, and also their propensity to start home and wildfires, the Glendale Police Department may arrest those in violation of the municipal code; a conviction could result in up to a six-month jail sentence and/or fines of up to $1,000.
“Statistics show that fireworks are among the most dangerous of all consumer products,” the city wrote in its announcement. “Even hand-held sparklers, which many consider safe, are dangerous and can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, causing serious burns and fires.”
City officials have kept consistent messaging on this issue. The Glendale Fire Department in particular has been utilizing social media to also promote ways of mitigating the risk of brush fires during the summer months, in addition to warning against the use of fireworks.
Residents are encouraged to report fireworks use to the Glendale Police Department by calling (818) 548-4911.

Homeless Count Trending Downward, but May Rise With Pandemic

The city’s recently published homeless count report indicated that, as of January, the city was continuing its generally downward 10-year trend.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down large portions of California’s economy starting in March leaves a large asterisk on this year’s report and may have undone the progress made since last year.
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USC-VHH Hosts ‘Healthcare Heroes Shout-Out’

Photos Courtesy USC-VHH

La Cañada Flintridge’s L.A. County firefighters, the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Department, Glendale Police Department and Glendale Fire Department were represented by more than 100 personnel during an emotional tribute that featured “Healthcare Heroes” representing USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital at two events last week. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the aptly-named “Healthcare Heroes Shout-Out” was essentially first responders honoring first responders last Wednesday afternoon during a “day shift” tribute, then again on Friday night for “night shift” workers.


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Local Girl Scout Earns Gold Award

Brittany Lerian

La Cañada High School junior Brittany Lerian created a K9 Tribute for the Glendale Police Department. Through donations from family, friends and community members, she purchased a black granite slab and a life-size bronze statue of a German Shepard. She had the granite sandblasted, inscribed with “Glendale Police K9 Tribute,” a Glendale Police Department K9 badge and the K9 prayer. It was recently mounted on a wall the department’s lobby.
Lerian has had a long relationship with the department, as her father is a retired Glendale Police officer. As a young girl, she developed close relationships with several of the department’s K9s. Lerian has been a Girl Scout for 11 years.