Archive for July, 2021

Antioch adds second-generation officer to the police force, following retirement of Sergeant Harger

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

From Oakland PD, to SF Sheriff’s Office, to Richmond PD to Antioch

Antioch Police Chief Brooks and new Officer Jamal Meadors. Photo: APD

By Antioch Police Department

Please join us in welcoming Officer Jamal Meadors to the Antioch Police Department family!

Jamal was born in San Francisco and raised in Hercules, California. He graduated from Hercules High School and studied Psychology at Diablo Valley College. His love for law enforcement grew after conversations and ride alongs with his father Bruce Meadors, who served 28 years at SFPD.

Jamal began his career with the Oakland Police Department and later became a Deputy at the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office. After working two years in custody, he decided he wanted to make a difference out on the streets, and he joined the Richmond Police Department where he patrolled North and Central Richmond. He worked hard to keep the citizens of Richmond safe, while building a solid rapport with the community.

Jamal is very excited to serve the City of Antioch. He hopes to have a positive impact on his younger relatives who currently reside here. Jamal would like to thank Chief Brooks and the Antioch Police Department for giving him this opportunity. He looks forward to becoming an asset to APD and an officer the citizens can trust. Jamal sees Antioch as his home until retirement. He truly believes APD is a department that will provide him with all the tools, training and support he needs to excel and have a career he can be proud of.

Fun Fact: Jamal enjoys skydiving, bungee jumping, hang gliding and other extreme activities. Unfortunately, his mother made him promise to stop jumping out of the sky. As a man of his word, he’s held true to that promise…so last Thursday he went cage-free shark diving in Oahu.

Recently retired Sgt. Matt Harger. Photo: APD

Brings Force Back Up to 115 Sworn

According to Chief T Brooks, that brings the force back to 115 sworn officers, following the recent retirement of Sergeant Matt Harger following his 27-year career in law enforcement, 21 with Antioch. That was announced on the APD’s Facebook page.

Sergeant Harger began his career in 1994 with the Pleasant Hill Police Department before joining us in 2000. Since he’s been with us, Matt has held many different assignments to include SWAT operator, Field Training Officer, Mobile Field Force team member, PACT Team member, UAV/Drone pilot, and holding the rank of both Police Corporal and Police Sergeant.

This was not to leave out the assignment near and dear to his heart…….being a K9 handler. Sergeant Harger was a dedicated K9 handler and K-9 unit coordinator for 15 years. During that time, he worked two different K9’s. Both “Thor” and “Donna” not only helped keep the residents of Antioch safe, but kept a number of APD officers safe along the way as well as being instrumental in hundreds of arrests. For this, and all of your contributions to the department and the city, we are forever grateful and you will be missed!!!

Best of luck in this new chapter of your life……..you have earned it!

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

 

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2021 Rivertown Art & Wine Walk in historic, downtown Antioch Saturday, August 4

Monday, July 19th, 2021

For tickets and more information visit www.CelebrateAntioch.org or www.Facebook.com/AntiochRivertown.

Click here for Exhibitor Agreement.

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Antioch Police seeks recruits for VIPS program

Monday, July 19th, 2021

The Antioch Volunteers In Police Service in 2017. Photo: APD

Volunteers In Police Service

By Antioch Police Department

The Antioch Police Department is looking to recruit members from the community who would like to be part of our Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS). Our VIPS program provides a number of vital services to the community that include; clerical and administrative support in the police department, school and park patrols, traffic control for major accident scenes and special events, abandoned auto abatement, vacation house checks, disabled placard parking enforcement, and illegal sign abatement, among other things. Please click the link below to check out our VIPS web page.

The VIPS in action. Photos: APD

If you’re interested in joining the program, there is a link on the page for completing an application. If you have some free time and a desire to give back to your community, we would love to have you as part of our team!

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Barbanica calls for increasing police force by 2.5% per year, adding six officers over next two years, 55 more total

Sunday, July 18th, 2021

Antioch District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica calls for more cops in a video he posted on his YouTube channel and official Facebook page on Saturday, July 17, 2021. Screenshot.

Until city reaches state standard of 1.48 sworn officers per 1,000 population, which equals 170; second council member to request more police last week

By Allen Payton

Another Antioch council member is calling for more sworn officers on the city’s police force. District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica is calling for increasing the Antioch police force by 2.5% per year until the department reaches the state standard of 1.48 sworn officers per 1,000 population. That would add about three officers per year over the next two years above the 115 currently allocated in the budget, and give the city 170 total sworn officers.

Currently the city has about 1.0 sworn officers per 1,000 population and the goal since the mid-1990’s has been to achieve 1.2 sworn officers per 1,000.

He joins District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, who posted a Facebook video on Saturday morning, calling for the addition of four more officers and have them focus on the Sycamore area. That was in response to her spending time in that part of her district, which has long been the area of the city with the highest level of crime for decades, and hearing complaints from business owners and residents. (See related article)

That’s in spite of the fact that both council members voted along with Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson for the new two-year budget on June 22 which does not include any additional officers.

On Saturday at 5:20 p.m., Barbanica posted a video and comments about the proposal on both his YouTube Channel and his official Facebook page, but wrote that he made the video last weekend and informed Thorpe about his idea on Tuesday.

“After the meeting Tuesday night, I called the mayor and told him that I’m formally requesting that this be placed on the agenda,” Barbanica told the Herald. “And I followed up with a formal email.”

He said he was pleasantly surprised to see Torres-Walker’s request she announced earlier on Saturday.

Following is Barbanica’s Facebook post:

“Antioch First! Public Safety

I made this video last weekend and I know some of you are curious, yes, it was before Tuesday night’s standing committee meeting. But, that changes nothing…I am still going to push to get the body cams, car cams, taser technology upgrade and I am introducing a plan for getting staffing where it needs to be. Following the meeting Tuesday night, I called the mayor and told him about the video and that I would be coming out with it. On Wednesday night I emailed the mayor with a formal request to bring this addition of officers to council as an agenda item. Is this a big ask?…yes. Would this take years…yes. However, there would likely be adjustments along the way. Is our community worth it…YES!

So far, here are the results of some of the votes:

Body/Car cams 5-0 (5 yes)

Taser Technology Upgrade 2-3 (2 yes 3 no)

Double the size of Code Enforcement 4-1 (4 yes 1 no)

Recommend implementation of body/car cam policy 2-3 (2 yes 3 no), and that was a standing committee vote, which will come back to us, so it is not a dead issue.

I have proposed that the city council adopt a resolution that would assure the public that PD officer staffing levels will increase each year by a minimum of 2.5% until we reach our goal that I talk about in this video. I have made the request to have this placed on the agenda.

We are re-visiting the budget in November and I think this would be a great time for this to come to the council.”

Following his vote for the budget, when asked why he didn’t include a request for additional police then, Barbanica said “the chief didn’t submit a request for any additional funds. But we can revisit it during the mid-year budget review.

An effort to reach Thorpe asking if he had any comments on Barbanica’s email from earlier in the week and if he will place the matter of additional police requested by the two council members on the next meeting agenda was unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

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Antioch Councilwoman Torres-Walker calls for hiring 4 more police officers for Sycamore corridor

Saturday, July 17th, 2021

City’s highest crime area; would reverse recent two-year budget vote that includes no additional officers; also calls for removal of officer from community detail

“You have individuals threatening to take the law into their own hands if we, as a city, don’t do something, because they’re at the end of their ropes.”

“This is, like, a super tough decision.”

“they know more police isn’t the answer. But we gotta think about the short-term solutions while we dive into the long-term solutions. Our people need relief, right now.”

“this is what the community is asking for, proactive policing in their community and I, as a leader, have to support that.” – Councilwoman Torres-Walker

Screenshot of Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker’s video posted on her official Facebook page on Saturday, July 17, 2021. It has since been removed.

By Allen Payton

In a major reversal from her votes and previous statements, Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker made a surprise announcement on Saturday, July 17, 2021 that she’s asking the mayor to place on the next council meeting agenda the hiring of four additional police officers and to focus them on the Sycamore corridor, which has long been the neighborhood with the greatest crime problems in the city. (See Part 1 and Part 2 of video)

In a 17-minute live video posted on her official Facebook page, entitled “Leadership is not easy”, (which has since been removed) Torres-Walker said she had been meeting with business owners in the small shopping center at the corner of Sycamore Drive and L Street, and that they’re struggling to stay open “because of the activity in the area.” She also said that the Quikstop “is pulling out” and that the corporation has given the local franchisee the opportunity to buy them out and become an independent.

She said she’s sent emails to the mayor, police chief, city manager and city attorney “to see what can we do to really look closely at the Sycamore corridor.”

“For a very long time, this particular community has been overlooked,” Torres-Walker said.

“I absolutely believe in police accountability, transparency and reform and on the other hand I also believe in healthy communities and keeping communities safe, and something is just not adding up in that particular community,” she stated. “This is where the hard decisions need to be made and I think that the city council, myself included, needs to have a real conversation about what do we do on the Sycamore corridor…to make that community safe.”

“Some of the biggest challenges are trying to figure this all out and in all reality…there’s no way to get around the fact that we need more patrol in that area,” Torres-Walker shared. “I have no agenda, here. I just want to help people. And right now, people are saying we need help. We don’t want to keep paying these high rents and we can’t even come outside of our house. Our kids can’t even play outside. We can’t go to the store.”

Just last month, she and the council majority, with only District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock voting no, approved a two-year budget that shows increases in the General Fund of over $13 million, and included the creation of 17 new positions, but no additional police officers. In addition, Torres-Walker, along with Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson, has twice voted down approving new, high-tech tasers for the department. (See related article here)

In her video, Torres-Walker, wearing a shirt with the words “NOT TODAY SATAN” across the front, struggled to share her recognition of the need for more police. She also repeated a previous claim that “police don’t prevent crime. They show up after a crime or harm was already committed.”

Yet, she spoke of bringing back the program initiated by the city council in the late 1990’s of community policing in the Sycamore corridor, in which officers walked the beat and had regular interaction with residents. As a result, from 1995 to 1998 serious crime in that part of Antioch was reduced by 80%.

“I feel so bad for this community and I think we really need to look at increasing APD by four additional officers,” Torres-Walker continued. “The reason why I’m saying this because there used to be a focus in this community and it was called proactive policing and that went away a long time ago.”

“But if we’re really going to commit to this community, we have to do what’s best for Antioch, and what’s best for Antioch residents,” Torres-Walker stated. “And I cannot ignore the voices of business owners, homeowners and community members who want their community to be safe on Sycamore.”

“And we need to do pro-active policing in the City of Antioch,” she continued. “And so, right now, today, I am asking the Mayor of Antioch to bring to the agenda, a discussion on increasing the Antioch Police Department by four additional officers, so we can do some…proactive community policing in the Sycamore corridor, and get business owners, residents and homeowners, some relief and the opportunity to live safe in their community.”

“It’s not that easy,” Torres-Walker said with a laugh. “It’s not that easy, folks. Like, the reality is, is I believe in transparency, I believe in accountability, I believe in quality policing services. And until we can get to a point in society where we, you know, no longer need these systems, right now, we have people in the Sycamore corridor…who are saying, ‘we don’t know what to do. We need some help.’”

“This is, like, a super tough decision,” she stated. “I spent some time talking to some officers from APD, today when I was out in the Sycamore community, and I just, I can’t imagine, I don’t even live there, and I can’t imagine what this community is going through on a daily. And just by talking to business owners, we have to do something.”

“You have individuals threatening to take the law into their own hands if we, as a city, don’t do something, because they’re at the end of their ropes,” Torres-Walker shared.

“Leadership is complicated, folks,” she added. “But, right now, I’m saying, I’m willing to support four additional positions to the police department to do proactive policing in the Sycamore corridor. I hope that my colleagues on the city council hears this plea. I hope that folks in the community understand.”

“I hope people still believe in me and people still trust me,” Torres-Walker implored. “But the reality is, is that…poor communities, communities of color, Black communities are complex. And we can’t let personal agendas get in the way and I learned that, today,”

“I actually have been spending a lot of time in the Sycamore community over the last two days and I learned, agendas aside, this community needs help,” she continued. “And they’re asking for help, they’re crying out for help, and they want support. And they know more police isn’t the answer. But we gotta think about the short-term solutions while we dive into the long-term solutions. Our people need relief, right now.”

“So, there it is folks. Here, right now, before you all and the world, saying that we need to help residents. Residents need relief, right now,” Torres-Walker said. “And no, I don’t believe that policing is the, you know, the sum of what public safety is about. But right now, this is what the community is asking for, proactive policing in their community and I, as a leader, have to support that.”

“So, again, if you want to reach out to me you can call me at (925) 206-2340 or you can email me at twalker@antiochca.gov,” she shared. “I hope this message reaches the community, the Sycamore community. My heart is with you. My thoughts are with you. To the business owners, we want you to be profitable, we want you to be there to provide a service for the community, as well as take care of you and your community.”

Apologizes to Sycamore community

“And even though I just got here, I want to extend an apologize to everyone in that community for the decades of mistreatment, lack of resources, and just no attention,” Torres-Walker concluded. “Thank you everyone for hearing me out, today. I will be emailing the chief on Monday, as well as the mayor to get this on the council agenda, as soon as possible.”

Supports Removing Officer from Community Detail

She then spoke about a petition to have Officer “Tom Linderman removed from the community policing detail over the homeless, you know our unhoused folks in the community,” and offered her support.

“I think that’s also something we need to consider as a city,” Torres-Walker said. “Maybe some things people aren’t meant to be doing. This petition is not asking for him to be fired. This petition is asking for him to be moved to a new division. At this point, right now, from what I hear from unhoused folks and community members who serve the unhoused folks, is probably the best deal.”

“The reality is, is some people just aren’t good at community engagement,” she continued. “And that’s fine. Because we can use their talents in other places.”

“I will also be raising this up at the next council meeting on the 27th of this month and to the police chief when he gets back from vacation on Monday,” Torres-Walker concluded.

“I’m willing to hear you all out. Let me know,” she said, reiterating her support for four more officers. “If you think this is a step in the wrong direction, let me know. But people are asking for this and I got to do my best.”

Video Removed

As of 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, the video had been removed from here council Facebook page. An attempt to reach Torres-Walker asking her why was unsuccessful prior to publication. An effort to reach Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe asking if he was aware of her proposal and if he will place it on the next council meeting agenda was also unsuccessful.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Attempted murder suspect arrested following police raid of Antioch home early Friday morning

Friday, July 16th, 2021

Concord and Antioch Police Officers conduct a joint operation to apprehend a suspect for attempted murder in Antioch, CA on July 16, 2021. Photos provided by individual who chose to remain anonymous.

“Concord PD had a search warrant for several residents.” – Antioch Police Lt. Desmond Bittner

By Allen Payton

At approximately 6:00 am on Friday, July 16, 2021, the Concord Police Department with an assist from the Antioch Police Department conducted a raid on a residence on Rodeo Court in Antioch. According to a witness, the purpose of the raid was to serve an arrest warrant on an individual for attempted murder.

According to a source in the APD, the Concord SWAT Team led the raid with support from the APD that included a second armored vehicle, personnel and communications support.

The suspect was apprehended on the scene by the Concord Swat Team.

UPDATE: A woman who lives at the house refuted the information provided by the witness and police source, saying that the police only wanted to question the man they were there looking for and that he was only detained, not arrested. She said she was also detained. However, the witness referred to earlier in this report said the man was put in handcuffs and taken away in a police car.

When contacted to verify what occurred, Antioch Police Lt. Desmond Bittner said, “We did assist Concord by lending them our SWAT truck and a few UAS (drone) operators. I know Concord PD had a search warrant for several residents. I believe the warrant was for attempted murder involving a firearm. Concord PD would obviously have the most accurate information.”

Efforts to obtain additional information from the Concord Police Department were unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report. (See more photos on the Antioch Herald Facebook page)

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Antioch Police to hold Fill-A-Car Back-to-School Supplies drive events July 17 and 24

Friday, July 16th, 2021

The Antioch Police Department will be hosting a back-to-school drive event for the foster and unhoused youth in our community. There are many school aged children who may be displaced from their homes and are living in shelters or cars and have no means to purchase school supplies. In an effort to help, we want to team up with our community and ask for donations to provide each child the necessary tools and supplies to help them be successful this upcoming school year.

In 2019, we collected so many school supplies that we were able to fill 300 backpacks. We could not have done this without your generosity!

The 2020 school year was a challenge for all, and we feel that this upcoming school year they will need our help even more.

Please come and see us on the following dates and locations:

– Saturday, July 17th, 2021, in front of Walmart between 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

– Saturday, July 24th, 2021, near the Starbucks in Slatten Ranch between 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

We hope to see you!

 

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Delta Learning Center to reopen Monday

Friday, July 16th, 2021

The Delta Learning Center is located across from the Antioch Main Post Office on W. Tregallas Road. Photo from their Facebook page.

By Martha Goralka

Because of the time, treasure, and talent donated by the Board of the Delta Learning Center, Contra Costa’s oldest nonprofit tutoring center, has survived the pandemic and is reopening for students of all ages on Monday, July 19, 2021.

The Center was founded by Julia “Bess” Combs, a retired Antioch Unified School District psychologist.  Since 1976, the Delta Learning Center has provided one on one tutoring with credentialed teachers tutoring students for the lowest cost professional tutoring service in the county.

Kimberley Ahumada has joined the Center as the Executive Director after 17 years of working with the community in adult education and directing a home daycare.   A grant from the Antioch Community Foundation has allowed the Center to invest in software; so students can sign up on-line at www.DeltaLearningCenter.org or by calling (925) 757-13410. Limited discounts and scholarships may be available.

The unique blue building at 275 W. Tregallas Road, across from the Antioch Post Office, was designed and built by the East County Community specifically for Delta Learning Center in 1989.

DLC is always looking for additional credentialed teachers to tutor local students in a variety of subjects.

“Nothing can compare to the Delta Learning Center.  Our tutors love the one-on-one teaching in this relaxed and caring atmosphere,” explained former Executive Director, Tara McKnight, who still serves on the board after relocating to Las Vegas in 2019.  “DLC tutors and staff are talented and devoted educators who truly care about the success of our students.”

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