Archive for the ‘Police & Crime’ Category

Antioch Police Department selected for crime prevention initiative by U.S. Department of Justice 

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

One of only 10 new cities nationwide to participate in National Public Safety Partnership for coordinated, intensive training and technical assistance with focus on gun violence prevention

Councilman not happy mayor is attempting to takcredit for something “council had nothing to do with”

Announced by DOJ on Oct. 6, but press conference was held Thursday

By Allen Payton

Interim Antioch Police Chief Tony Morefield speaks during the press conference as District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock and a member of Moms Demand Action listen on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Video screenshot

The City of Antioch is one of 10 new cities selected nationwide to participate in the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) National Public Safety Partnership (NPSP).  NPSP resources include aim to enhance the Antioch Police Department’s (APD’s) capacity to address gun violence, expand community engagement and, ultimately, prevent violent crime. To be considered for selection, a site must have sustained levels of violence that far exceed the national average and demonstrate a commitment to reducing crime and enhancing community engagement.

“Violence—gun violence in particular—has taken a heavy toll on communities across the country, and its impact has been felt most deeply in neighborhoods where resources have always been scarce and justice has historically been elusive,” said Amy L. Solomon, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, whose Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) administers the PSP initiative.  “We are proud to join local leaders and our partners from across the Department of Justice as we work together to stem the tide of violent crime in these hard-hit communities.”

Officers will receive intensive training and technical assistance (TTA) from DOJ in the key areas of constitutional policing and community engagement to assess and implement collaborative strategies and a lasting coordination structure that prevent and combat violent crime, especially related to gun violence.

“The goal of this partnership is to gain better insight into the unique violent crime challenges in Antioch and inform future investments in what works,” Morefield said. “The guidance will help determine system-wide approaches to crime reduction and enhanced public safety.”

First Announced on Oct. 6

According to the NPSP website, the 2021 PSP sites were introduced by U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco at the Major Cities Chiefs Association meeting on October 6, in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was also announced in a press release that same day on the DOJ’s BJA website.

Yet, Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Interim Chief of Police Tony Morefield held a press conference, Thursday to inform the Antioch community about the initiative. They were joined by Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson, District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock and four members of Moms Demand Justice. Also in attendance were the city manager, city attorney, assistant city manager and economic development director. (See press conference video)

During the press conference Thorpe tied the program participation to the council’s police reform efforts earlier this year. However, the police department applied for the program in 2020.

“The collaboration between the Antioch Police Department (APD) and the DOJ National Public Safety Partnership is important to lowering crime rates in Antioch,” said Thorpe. “APD will receive support that will improve crime prevention strategies and improve our service to all of Antioch, including historically neglected neighborhoods.”

The Antioch City Council recently passed a resolution mandating the integration and enhancement of specific topics into the training matrix of Antioch Police Department sworn personnel. These topics include de-escalation strategies, crisis intervention and conflict resolution, procedural justice, implicit bias, and meaningful engagement with members of the LGBTQ+ and youth communities.

“The integration of these topics, along with APD’s partnership with PSP, provide a mechanism for increasing our community’s access to justice and better supporting crime victims in this City,” says Interim Chief Morefield.

This is the seventh year for the DOJ program.

“From five to now 50 jurisdictions in seven years, PSP has taught the Department a new way to work with communities.  We have learned that it is only by leveraging the power of community and using all our collective resources and dedicating all our efforts that we will reduce crime,” said BJA Acting Director Kristen Mahoney.  “We look forward to partnering with the 10 new sites to achieve what we are all working toward—safe places to live and work.”

Torres-Walker Offers Comments on Program

While she was not in attendance at the press conference, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker posted a written and video message of congratulations on her official Facebook page in support of the program. “Congratulations Antioch for being selected as one of the 10 newest sites to be excepted [sic] into the Department of Justice’s Public Safety Partnership to advance racial equity reduce gun violence and promote Community engagement to build public trust and transparency,” she wrote. “We are ahead of the game in Antioch and for the first time in years, this city is ready to invest in violence intervention and prevention efforts that will get at the root cause of violence in our community.”

The focus has been on racial equity and community engagement to reduce violence, especially gun violence.

“This is an opportunity that comes with great resources, training and technical assistance towards violence prevention and intervention and creating public trust and transparency with our police department,” Torres-Walker said. She went on to speak about the council’s Community Violence Solution Ad Hoc Committee that was formed in June “with myself as the co-chair and the mayor as the chair” that has “met bi-weekly”. She also called for a review of “departmental policies where the police department can crack open the books and get someone to come in and do an honest look at violence but also look at our policies that aren’t racially equitable.”

Barbanica Wouldn’t Attend Press Conference

However, District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica did not attend the press conference because he didn’t think the council should appear to take any credit for the program. “The city council had nothing to do with this and it wasn’t part of the police reform efforts, this year. APD applied for it in 2020.” But he does support the program.

About the National Public Safety Partnership

The PSP team supports local law enforcement and other key stakeholders in developing each site’s capacity to address its unique violent crime challenges to enhance public safety. Through a collaborative approach and data-driven decision making, the PSP approach ensures that local resources are maximized, and federal assets are leveraged where they are most needed. Implemented in 2014 as a pilot program, PSP has served more than 40 sites nationwide. The PSP team’s work is driven by local needs and priorities focused on increasing capacities to reduce violent crime and increase community engagement.

For more information, visit www.nationalpublicsafetypartnership.org.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law.  More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.

Rolando Bonilla, City of Antioch PIO, contributed to this report.

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Antioch hires social justice organization to develop non-emergency crisis response system, survey residents

Monday, October 18th, 2021

Expertise is in data gathering, but no experience developing a program; recruiting workers at $20 per hour for survey; focus is on people of color and impoverished residents

By Allen Payton

During the August 10th Antioch City Council meeting Urban Strategies Council (USC), a-not-for-profit social justice organization, was introduced and hired to design a mobile, mental health crisis intervention model for the City of Antioch, to address non-emergency calls using well-trained community respondents. Urban Strategies Council presentation ACC081021

According to city staff, some calls to 911 and the City’s non-emergency number are for situations that do not need a police officer to respond. To develop Antioch’s program public feedback is needed. USC is collecting input from Antioch residents who have experience with the 911 system or feedback on how the City addresses non-emergency 911 calls and community needs. This survey aims to understand community needs from the voice of the people most impacted.

According to USC’s presentation to the city council, the community resident survey is “focusing on most impacted residents – African-American, Asian-Pacific Islander, Latinx (Latino/Hispanic).” The presentation also shows they plan to have a pilot program developed by the end of this month.

According to Assistant City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore, “USC is in the process of outreach for the City’s program design phase.  A survey is one of the many ways they are collecting information to inform the program design.”

USC has been recruiting workers to help with the survey, offering to pay $20 per hour this past week and next. One was sent to all staff at Antioch High School, according to Jon Davis who works for the school district.

According to their website, USC is “a regional research and advocacy organization dedicated to social, economic, and racial equity. We work to hold institutions and systems accountable to community needs.” Their “mission is to eliminate persistent poverty in the Bay Area by working with partners to transform low-income neighborhoods into vibrant, healthy communities.”

Their work focuses on the issue areas of Criminal Justice Reform, Boys and Men of Color, Economic Opportunity, Pathways to Career and College, and Violence Prevention. Regarding USC’s approach, they write, “In order to move the needle on persistent poverty, we need to change the systems that are currently ineffective, and so we focus  on reforming the systems that serve low-income communities.”

Asked why the organization was chosen and what experience they have in developing a non-emergency response system for a city, what does their mission have to do with developing a non-emergency response system, who suggested USC as the organization to hire for this, a staff or council member, and how much the City is paying them to develop the program and do the survey.

Bayon Moore responded Saturday evening with the following: “The City seeks to establish an effective mobile crisis intervention response program.  This initiative is supported by the entire City Council.  Staff’s work in this area is a high priority which is why the program is being overseen by the City Manager’s Office.

Multicultural literacy is a centerpiece of our approach to program design that cannot be ignored or minimized in terms of importance.  This includes but is not limited to being aware and mindful of all resident needs, including our neighbors who may not participate in conventional public processes.

Urban Strategies Council was selected by a multi department interview process that included PD.  The engagement threshold is within the City Manager’s signature authority.

I suggest you take a closer look at USC’s professional skills and capabilities.  The August presentation I’ve already shared includes a link to materials that describe their prior work and Antioch’s actual scope of work, again, including but not limited to a survey.”

In response, some questions were repeated, and further questions were asked of Bayon Moore late Saturday night, including “how much is the contract for with USC? If they do have any experience developing a non-emergency response program/mobile, mental health crisis intervention model, can you please provide that information or point to where it can be found on their website? What does their mission have to do with developing a non-emergency response system? Why is this focused on people of color and impoverished residents? Is the effort of the survey and entire response program focused on them as is USC’s mission and focus areas? Also, how does USC know, as it shows in the presentation to Council on Aug. 10th, without first surveying Antioch residents, that ‘African-American, Asian-Pacific Islander, Latinx’ are the ‘most impacted residents’ of our city? Do they have some previously gathered data to support that claim? Were any other organizations considered for the project that might have more or any experience developing and implementing one in a city? Finally, without having to take the survey, can you please provide a list of the questions they’re asking?”

Questions were also sent Saturday afternoon to David Harris, President and CEO of USC, asking what experience they have in developing a non-emergency response system for cities and how would a system in Antioch fulfill his organization’s mission. He was also asked, without first surveying Antioch residents, how can he claim, as it shows in his presentation, that “African-American, Asian-Pacific Islander, Latinx” are the “most impacted residents” of our city, and does he have some previously gathered data to support that claim. Finally, Harris was asked if it was one of the city staff or council members who contacted him for the presentation and contract with the city, and if he was still recruiting workers for this next week. He did not respond before publication time, early Monday afternoon.

Harris called late Monday afternoon and agreed to call back later that evening following his organization’s board meeting, or the next day, but did not.

The survey is anonymous and confidential and takes seven minutes to complete.

English/Inglés: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Antioch_2021

Spanish/Español: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Antioch_Spanish

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Concord carjacking suspects arrested in Antioch following police pursuit Saturday morning

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Carjacking suspects stopped their car on Golf Course Road near the Lone Tree Way intersection, and fled the scene on foot, Saturday morning, Oct. 16, 2021. Photos by APD.

Armed with AR-15 style weapons and Glock; multi-agency effort with help from APD K9 Purcy

By Sergeant Brian Rose #4309, Antioch Police Field Services

APD K9 Purcy helped apprehend the suspects.

On Saturday, October 16, 2021, at approximately 10:45 a.m., officers from the Antioch Police Department located a vehicle that had been recently stolen during a carjacking that occurred in the City of Concord. APD officers were aware of the fact the suspects in the carjacking were armed with AR-15 style weapons, and a Glock handgun. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver failed to yield, and a vehicle pursuit ensued.

The driver recklessly drove through Antioch streets, and when they reached the intersection of Golf Course Road and Lone Tree Way, the vehicle’s occupants fled from the car on foot. Three occupants were apprehended shortly after fleeing from the car. APD K9 officer Purcy helped in their apprehension.

The Antioch Police Department would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the California Highway Patrol – Golden Gate Division air support team, as well as the Pittsburg and Brentwood Police Departments who assisted during this incident. We would also like to thank our wonderful citizens for your support and assistance as we work together to keep our community safe.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Catalytic converter thief caught in Antioch Wednesday night

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Catalytic converter thief caught and converter found in his van Wednesday night, Oct. 13, 2021. Photos: APD

By Antioch Police Department

The suspect’s van. Photo: APD

Last evening, APD Night Shift officers received a call reporting an individual attempting to steal catalytic converters from a fleet of vehicles at a local business. When Officers Desiderio and Mullholland arrived, they located two power saws near the fleet of vehicles, but the suspect was nowhere around. The business owner showed officers a video of the suspect’s van pulling into the parking lot. Officers Desiderio and Mullholland checked the surrounding area and located the unoccupied van parked at a nearby gas station.

Officers waited around the corner and saw the suspect return to the van. During a traffic stop, they discovered he was wanted out of San Antonio, Texas, for an aggravated assault. Officers also found a catalytic converter and saw blades inside the van. The suspect was arrested on theft charges, along with his out of state warrant, and given a one-way trip to the County Jail in Martinez.

Catalytic converter theft remains a HUGE problem around the nation. Hybrid vehicles (especially the Toyota Prius), Ford F-150s, and fleet vehicles seem to be targeted the most. An experienced thief can remove a catalytic converter in less than two minutes.

There are steps you can take to help prevent yourself from becoming a victim of this expensive crime. Check out this link from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair for some tips:

https://www.bar.ca.gov/…/Smog…/Catalytic_Converter_Theft

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Thieves steal $15K of video equipment from Antioch’s Deer Valley High last Saturday morning

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Two thieves can be seen inside the Deer Valley High School video equipment room, early Saturday morning, Oct. 9, 2021. Surveillance video screenshot

Covered by insurance, some replacement equipment already ordered – Superintendent Anello

“the burglars…forced their way into the room” – Principal Oyebade

By Allen Payton

According to a KRON4 TV news report Thursday night, $15,000 of video equipment was stolen from Deer Valley High School, early last Saturday morning. It was used for the class taught by video productions teacher, Kiel Olff “to produce award-winning content for Deer Valley TV, including news, high school sports, and entertainment.” The theft was caught on surveillance video at 3:35 AM. At least two thieves were involved and can be seen and heard talking in the video.

Questions were asked of Superintendent Stephanie Anello, Principal Olubukola “Bukky” Oyebade and Interim Police Chief Tony Morefield: “Were the police contacted about it? Besides video productions teacher, Kiel Olff, how many people have access and/or keys to the room where the equipment is stored? Do they include students? Who knew that equipment was stored there? Any leads on the suspect(s)? Does the district have insurance to cover the loss, so that a GoFundMe page isn’t necessary? Is that a usual and accepted practice for a faculty member to replace stolen school equipment? Are there any other details about the incident so that we can get the information to the public to help in the apprehension of the suspect(s) and return of the equipment?”

Similar questions were also sent to Olff, Friday afternoon.

Anello responded, “Yes, the District has insurance so the choice to do a GoFundMe page appears to be a site or teacher decision. The equipment will be replaced (critical equipment has already been ordered).”

Principal Oyebade also responded with more details, adding, “the burglars did not use keys and forced their way into the rooms.  Access to keys is limited and only on a need basis. No students have keys. We are cooperating with the police on this matter and working with our district to replace the items. As of Wednesday afternoon, we had placed a first round order to replace equipment so the class could continue to function.”

Asked why the public is just now learning about this, she did not respond prior to publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Antioch transient arrested for assault with deadly weapon, arson for starting fire off Hillcrest Ave. Wednesday evening

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Firefighters clean up after the fire on the hill above Hillcrest Avenue near Wildhorse Road and the suspect arrested by Antioch Police, Wednesday evening, Oct. 13, 2021. Top photo by Allen Payton, Bottom two by APD

Several homes threatened

By Sergeant Michael Mellone, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

Arson fire on Hillcrest Ave. hillside Oct. 13, 2021. Photo: APD

On October 13, 2021, at approximately 6:05 pm, APD patrol officers were dispatched to a homeless encampment located near the intersection of Hillcrest Avenue and Wild Horse Drive on report of an assault with a deadly weapon. While responding to the incident, officers learned the suspect (later identified as Brian Dean, age 40) struck the victim in the head with a metal pipe and then lit a rag on fire, tossing it into the victim’s encampment. The lit rag fully engulfed the encampment and spread to the adjacent hillside, threatening several homes on Spaulding Street. Firefighters from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District responded and quickly extinguished the fire before it spread to the adjacent homes. An alert resident took a photograph of the suspect as he was fleeing on a distinctive bicycle and provided it to officers at the scene.

Con Fire trucks and crews responded to the scene. Photo: APD

At about 8:15 pm, Antioch Police Corporal James Colley spotted a matching individual on the distinctive bicycle crossing Hillcrest Avenue at Larkspur Drive. He was detained without incident and found to be in possession of an incendiary device. Officers placed Dean under arrest for three felonies, including assault with a deadly weapon, arson, and possession of an incendiary device – he was booked at the Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez. This fire was the second one at the same location in the last two days. The victim sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene by paramedics.

Photo: Allen Payton

Photo: APD

The Antioch Police Department would like to thank the residents of Spaulding Street who assisted officers and firefighters with access to the scene, along with the alert resident who came forward with photographic evidence allowing us to locate the suspect. This incident is being jointly investigated by the Antioch Police Department and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Arson Investigator.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

 

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Two men arrested on firearms charges by Antioch SWAT Tuesday morning

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

By Sergeant R. Hoffman #4515, Antioch Police Community Policing Bureau

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 at approximately 6:00 am, the APD SWAT Team executed a search warrant in the 5100 block of Deerspring Way. The search warrant executed was in relation to suspected illegal firearms at the home.

Investigators located an illegally possessed handgun, handgun magazines and a rifle drum style magazine. Ray Gilbert, 22 years old and Maurice Griffin, 23 years old, were the suspects of this investigation and were both contacted at the home. Both males were arrested for various firearms possession charges and were transported to the Martinez Detention Facility.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Following standoff with Antioch Police barricaded Oakland man surrenders peacefully Tuesday

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

By Sergeant Rick Martin #3343, Antioch Police Field Services Division

n October 12, 2021, at approximately 10:20 AM, Antioch Police Officers responded to the 100 block of E. 7th Street on a report of a possible domestic violence incident. It was learned 30-year-old Lamar Harris from Oakland, was at the residence holding a 21-year-old adult female and a 3-year-old child against their will. Harris was also wanted by the Oakland Police Department. As officers attempted to contact Harris, he barricaded himself inside the residence and would not surrender. Officers from our Crisis Intervention Team responded and contacted Harris via telephone. After de-escalating the incident, Harris peacefully surrendered. Both the female and child were located inside the residence unharmed. Harris was later booked into the Martinez Detention Facility.

No further information will be released at this time.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non- emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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