Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Hudson's Farewell Revealed About the River City Culture

[A consultant from the firm hired by the city to hunt for a new city manager sits in between Councilmen Chris MacArthur and Paul Davis as they took public input at a forum in Orangecrest]

The city's started holding public forums to solicit input from city residents on what they hope to have in the next city manager, with the first one being held at Orange Terrace Community Center. But will history repeat itself? Will the city undergo this so-called recruitment and hiring process while wooing another candidate in the wings?

Guess we'll all see....

[The City and Riverside Police Department honored the city's first K9 officer at the recent city council meeting]

As the World Turns At Orange Street

[The scene of some very interesting dynamics in the management team]

The Locksmith Cometh....

Whose locks needed to be changed on the top floor of the administrative headquarters and what does that say about the dynamics at the very top of the department?

coming soon....

[Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz (l.) and Asst. Chief Chris Vicino (r.) unveil the update on the department's 2010-2015 Strategic Plan with administrative analyst Mario Lara sitting between them]

Riverside Chief Sergio Diaz and Asst. Chief Chris Vicino appeared at City Hall to attend the Public Safety Committee meeting in order to present on the nearly completed Strategic Plan which was to have encompassed 2010-2015. However, it stalled last year amid a chain of events that shook the department and the city. He talked about the five goals, the role of community policing (including programs like the youth court and the crime free multi-housing program) and why the officer level badge on the mission statement was changed to that of the chief's instead.

He also commented on other topics including what he called the references by the public that every city's like Bell and that the city manager, Brad Hudson's the "anti-Christ". About how the criticisms of the public last year tore the department down and that he and others were building it up.

There once was a city manager named Bradley

Who sometimes behaved a little badly

But have no fear

His sidearm is near

And his trigger finger moves oh so quickly.

---Riverside Councilman Rusty Bailey as the city council finally broke its long silence in a matter of speaking involving the highly questionable and illegal gun sale that took place involving the city's police department.

Brad Hudson's Going Away Party

City Official Breaks Government's long silence on 2010 Scandals Through the media of Poetry

[Former City Manager Brad Hudson's top management team including interim manager Scott Barber sat in the first row, well all except one of them.]

[The soiree attracted several hundred guests onto the Grier Pavilion at City Hall]

[Former Riverside City Manager Brad Hudson and Former Councilman and current mayoral candidate, Ed Adkison meet up at Hudson's going away soiree]

[Both Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz (r.) and Deputy Chief Mike Blakely attended the Hudson party but Hudson never mentioned Diaz during his speeches]

[All the buffet food came with labels, and the name of the caterer, the beleaguered Provider company which is the subject of internal and external investigations.]

The minute I stepped onto the roof underneath the Greer Pavilion, I felt like I had crashed outgoing Riverside City Manager Brad Hudson's going away party. The invites went out to some of the community leaders but got forwarded to a much larger crowd. Over 200 city employees and community leaders showed up for Hudson's final soiree. Most of the city council was there except for Councilman Steve Adams who was off in Texas on some transportation gig. The city council in Riverside does out of state traveling (even though most departments have banned it) while many other cities can't afford it. Well, next year Riverside might not be able to afford it either.

The food catered by Provider wasn't bad at all, and if you remember, Provider's the company that is connected with the City Hall Cafeteria that some city employees alleged was subsidized by the Park and Recreation Department. The city's own "independent" investigation naturally cleared Hudson and anyone else, including in terms of how the city conducts its contracting process. But interestingly enough the firm hired by Hudson which is about two degrees removed from City Hall not only cleared the city of misconduct but while they couldn't say that nothing irregular had happened, they attributed it to the city's commitment to its Shop Riverside program. Regardless of the city's own findings, allegedly the Riverside County District Attorney's office is looking into the situation and probably others as well.

There were many speeches being made though the community representation consisted of mostly people of people with city ties. Adding more community leaders from all over the city would have made it appear that more people would be missing Hudson. Some city departments were less represented than others.

But what was disturbing about the soiree which some elected officials said included "roasting" was the choice of humor though on the bright side, at least some city council members including Rusty Bailey broke their long silence on the Year of Scandal in 2010 by making it seem like it was a joke. There were other jokes besides Bailey's one about the illegal gun sale that took place several years ago resulting in an investigation by the State Attorney General's criminal division. The gun sale which was done after two guns belonging to the police department were checked out to Hudson and former Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis while they were completing marksmanship training and testing. Those two guns complete with serial numbers later turned up in paperwork associated with their conceal and carry weapons permits of both employees. After a series of letters between the State AG investigator and former Chief Russ Leach, the guns were recollected and essentially laundered through a sale involving a private dealer.

When that and related scandals broke last year, if you'll recall the city council members and Mayor Ron Loveridge had very little to say about any of it in public. Even when people asked for City Hall to show some leadership in the multiple crises of conscience that hit the city, it remained silent, or tried to pretend nothing was going on. When people asked, it was along the lines of oh...why don't we look at that pretty tree or trinket over there instead? So while it was nice to see the city council through Bailey break its silence at last, did it have to be to joke about what was alleged to have been a criminal act? And why was that treated as being funny, or at least socially acceptable in that circle?

Hudson joked not for the first time about violating the city's charter, its Constitution and more chuckles followed. One department head joked about spending the police asset forfeiture money on something not law enforcement related and more chuckles, he made a reference to Chief Sergio Diaz. When there's a few of you that aren't laughing at jokes like these ones, the humor that comes of corruption, wink, wink, it's somewhat disconcerting. Most people probably were just going on with it to look like they fit in the audience because the memories of terminations like Sean Gill and Raychelle Sterling not to mention a host of others weigh heavily on the city's front. These whistle blowers encompass what's truly important in that our city government operate in an honest, ethical matter and any corrupt act that led to any whistle blower's departure through termination or harassment just isn't funny at all. It's an insult to the entire workforce to have leaders elected or others downplay or dismiss unethical and/or illegal acts. The problem is, you don't have anyone in leadership who will say that publicly and mean it in more private settings like Hudson's soiree.

The bottom line is this, if the government of Riverside is truly operating above board and in an honest and ethical fashion, jokes like these aren't told in any setting because they're not viewed as being funny or humorous. It's beyond ironic that Bailey would joke about Hudson's gun purchase given that he and others decided to pay off a huge settlement to the two former police lieutenants who brought that and other misdeeds to light. I guess that's his and their way of saying the joke's on us the city residents and those who alleged retaliation for blowing the whistle on bad and illegal behavior. Or maybe just to show that even after the city's been through one of its most difficult and painful years, its leadership hasn't learned anything at all.

If that's the case, there's still plenty of opportunities coming up for them to figure it out. Especially those who've tossed or are planning to toss their hats in the mayoral race.

Wikipedia and the Riverside Police Department

Wikipedia page on Riverside Police Department

After I blogged about the two different police department Wikipedia pages, including one with an IP address that is owned by the city of Riverside, I received the following email from a management employee inside the department on city and police department letterhead. It was written by Asst. Chief Chris Vicino and carbon copied to the following:

Chief Sergio Diaz
Deputy Chief Jeffrey Greer
Deputy Chief Mike Blakely
RPOA President Cliff Mason
RPOA Vice President Brian Smith
Public Information Officer Lt. Guy Toussaint

Dear Ms. Shelton,

A citizen contacted me yesterday and directed me to your “blog”. As a result, I read the Wikipedia web page as it relates to the Riverside Police Department. While it is my duty as a police officer to protect the rights of others, and free speech is one of those rights, the material posted on this web page was disingenuous and distasteful. Thus, I edited the posted material.

While the Wikipedia web site offered ISP anonymity, I did not seek to use it. Anonymity under such circumstances is the act of a coward.

The men and women of the RPD are hard-working cops and civilians committed to making the Riverside community a safer place to live, work, and visit. Our police employees do not deserve to be ridiculed and slanderously attacked with baseless accusations by an anonymous source on the Internet who has clearly succumbed to his or her own cowardice.

Over and over again, our police officers have proven to be courageous and unyielding as they safeguard the lives and property of others. Too many have made the ultimate sacrifice in this cause. They have earned better. . . . .

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Assistant Chief of Police

Riverside Police Department

4102 Orange Street, Riverside, CA. 92501

(951) 826-5522

I appreciate Vicino's candor in his response and it's always interesting talking with him and hearing his insights on different issues. He's responsive to questions and doesn't seem to back away from the more difficult ones with some caustic comment. I thought about what he wrote and having read his riding in his reports written while he worked at Pasadena Police Department, he does explain issues and points well. You can tell he's been a police chief in his past and feels comfortable in that position. What I did like was how he listened to input on his during the information gathering process from the Strategic Plan and if he made a gaffe that was pointed out (like forgetting to introduce the only female officer present who was instrumental in the strategic planning process and then calling only her by her first name and not her rank), he didn't do it twice. That's an important attribute to have that kind of flexibility in an administration that appears somewhat doggedly rigid at times. He's got some areas he needs to work at but he does work hard at his job. He's attracted interest from other departments to work in those places as well.

I'm still on the fence with the three newcomers as it's still early in their tenures (as at least the two subordinates are one-third through their three year contracts).

It was interesting being introduced to his administrative and communicative styles through those public forums.

But I did a lot of thinking about what he wrote and other things about history and its impact on the present on the future, both positive and negative. History that Vicino wasn't privy to during the past 10 years. I thought about softening what I had to say but I think Vicino can handle it.
Somewhat better than some other people. The department has grown and changed much in the past 10 years been through peaks and valleys, and that's what made last year for example, so frustrating and sad in ways is that not everyone was on board with the important mission of moving forward in a progressive direction. But is the leadership willing to go there including dealing with the any favoritism at the top? After all, Chief Sergio Diaz is rightly saying that he'll be upfront about what his rank and file officers do including the incident investigated involving the homeless in the river bottom last year. That openness helps the public know that the department takes alleged incidents like that seriously.

But what about the alleged assault case involving the lieutenants or the alleged attempts of one of the captains to get his son an officer preferential treatment after his public intoxication and disturbance incident? These weren't done on duty but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be investigated.

When it comes to allowing off-duty assaults and fights between officers like what happened to the lieutenants and how it's treated as an "off-duty" matter and thus not worthy of investigation. Perhaps that's something that a former and lowly patrol officer Miguel Rivera would like to comment on if given the chance.

Who's Rivera? He got involved in an off-duty fight in a bar and he got terminated from the police department in January of last year. No one said, "private matter", no one said, "I didn't hear that" when it came to dealing with him did they? Part of the termination of Rivera was allegedly related to his denial of the fight but even if he admitted it, he still likely faced discipline and at the very least had been investigated by Internal Affairs. Were those actions appropriate, yes given that the department's own CUBO policy states that an investigation is to be conducted on those types of offduty incidents. Another former patrol officer was terminated for a domestic disturbance offduty in another city a few years before that, after an lengthy investigation. These investigations should be done and the department has policy stating but then again what about domestic disturbances at higher ranks?

Why not include lieutenants in that group?

Anyway, here's my response to Vicino's letter.

My response to Asst. Chief Vicino:

Thanks for your response to what I posted on my blog. I posted both versions side by side as most of my readers can read through and base their own opinions on what they’ve read. In addition, the style of the amended version appears to be assuming its audience had read the earlier version. That may or may not be the case.

There’s certainly merit to launching a counterargument to what was written in some matter though I wish there had been more expansion on the factual information which was excised based on the Russ Leach DUI incident and I’ll explain why below. There were indeed factual inaccuracies in the previous version as well, including with the crime rate soaring when in fact it’s been decreasing and other aspects particularly with the Ku Klux Klan which hasn’t even been active in Riverside since the 1950s. In 1999, three members of the KKK did show up to protest on behalf of the department but no one else showed up to support them. Part of that perception of the department might be residual from the unfortunate incident in 1999 when 2/3 of the police department shaved their heads in response to the firing of the four officers who shot Tyisha Miller. This was an action that many of them regretted when they understood how it impacted people regardless of what their original intent might have been, i.e. solidarity with fired officers. That incident became part of training curriculum required under the five-year stipulated judgment with the state.

It’s history and thus easily to be dismissed certainly by newcomers. It needs to be placed in a proper perspective but it also possibly made it more difficult when newer employees enter into dynamics which impact them even though they weren’t there when they started. Why a newer officer might be assigned to work in a particular neighborhood and walk into conflictual dynamics that preexisted him or her even being on the force, causing some frustration. When they could have the information to use as a tool to change that reality and help build better relationships. A management team member once asked me why they hadn’t made inroads in one particular community with a history, good experiences but a lot of turmoil and some of the officers were confused and hurt with the animosity they received from some people. I told him to educate officers on that history, both positive and negative and don’t shortchange them when they work there with what could help them in their decision making and interactions with people they protect and serve. It might be something that helps provide building blocks that make a lot of difference, something similar to what Sgt. Mason referred to as reconciliation though his context was different. But the principle appeared to be the same and there’s officers who utilized it and were able to accomplish that.

Everything that’s past has an impact on the present and future and for the three newcomers on this list; dismissing or erasing history would be the equivalent of forgetting why you’re here. History is one of the most valuable teachers after all, and forgetting or erasing it doesn’t really work in practice. If it weren’t for the department’s recent history, three of you would be off doing other things probably not in Riverside. That’s not really a criticism, that’s simply the truth. Several of you stated yourself that you chose to take these positions even after retiring from your previous careers because that opportunity arose.

I don’t know who wrote the original version on Wikipedia but it’s not the first time I’ve seen that sentiment expressed mostly in times of crisis. For those on this list from Los Angeles and Pasadena, I am aware that your respective agencies experienced similar dynamics tied with controversial incidents in both cities. I’m aware that Diaz had to play an instrumental role in what happened in the aftermath of the May Day 2007 incident. I first became familiar with his name through ACLU attorney Peter Bibring who worked with him on police issues in the LAPD. You faced your own challenges in Pasadena beginning not long after you arrived. But I imagined you learned from your experiences as part of working to do your job better and had the motivation to keep learning.

The Human Relations Commission in fact even more so than the Community Police Review Commission grappled with those issues when they arise here. I’m not sure what the counterparts to these mechanisms were in Los Angeles or Pasadena though reading your report on Pasadena’s policing style did provide insight. Dealing with these issues in ways that empower the relationships between the community and the department should come naturally enough to the three of you based on your respective involvements in your departments.

It seems that there are resources in upper management and certainly below that to build on that collaboration with that commission. In the past, the RPD had a liaison with the Human Relations Commission which provided a valuable resource for that body on a myriad of issues.

Back in 2003, the Human Relations Commission launched its study circle program involving members of different communities and police officers from the department. That was pretty bold and people had varying experiences with that program from the different groups. The police department’s introduced a variety of programs like that increasing interfacing between officers and community members including incorporating time in nonprofit organizations as part of field training and in the 1970s, a live in program that was featured in Time magazine. So there’s a definite pattern and practice of those kinds of efforts being made during its history. Not to reinvent these programs but to know they were there and that those efforts were part of the department’s history.

There are probably still individuals in the city with institutional memory of that program and even some of the older ones. And that’s just one example of how the police department’s made strides in interfacing with not just those who praise it but who question it. It was interesting to hear some of the stories told by the newer management team in terms of their own experiences back in their old haunts when they first arrived as well. But what you need to show others is how you learned from them and what that means for what your mission is here.

I think there’s probably always going to be individuals who will always show those sentiments for a variety of reasons but I think that the police department’s relationships with communities particularly those with histories of distrust and dislike of police is always going to be a work in progress in terms of finding ways to engage with all the people it serves. Individuals including those on this list have worked hard at doing that as have other officers in the department who have led those efforts. I’m sure you’ve met them all by now during your tenure with the department for those who are newer.

The police department has good things going on, some problems and the most important thing is that the management and leadership remain steadfast in ensuring that it can move forward in a positive direction and not regress backwards. It’s a work in progress like with any other department which is actually good because that’s when you have an environment to grow and change with your profession’s demands which are always changing. You gave a good example of 9-11 in some of his public speeches as a case where police agencies had to adapt to overnight changes in both the local and national arenas.

The police department’s primary strength has been its resiliency and its willingness to try to take the lead in grappling with the changing world while risking failure but a lot of the time achieving success. Also when there’s a pressing issue different factions of it work together to address it and that’s something that’s always going to make the difference. One example is the Crisis Intervention Training which involves how police approach, engage and interact with those who are mentally ill. Deputy Chief Mike Blakely was instrumental in developing that program in 2007 along with other individuals and within a couple years, it was POST certified and the majority of officers had been trained.

The Community Services Bureau which Lt. Toussaint now heads was as you know actually a division that got disbanded during the process of decentralizing community policing a few years back that didn’t quite work as intended. Programs like Crime Free Multi-Housing and Youth Court make a difference in people’s lives but had fallen by the wayside for a while in part because staffing issues inside the department prioritized most of it into patrol where it was most needed. PACT was another casualty of that movement but was reinstated and Lt. Toussaint was the director of it when it first started.

That said, I’m a bit mystified at this preoccupation with image when the reality is what will matter. I’m aware of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of comments and threats too from “anonymous cowards”. The Wikipedia writing bothered me as well but I just believe that between image and reality, it’s more important to focus on the latter to build the former. But it’s interesting the way that community leaders and bloggers have been viewed by the current management team as being the enemy, and yes, I’m well aware of what’s been said because it's a topic of some discussion on the outside. We in the community are not really the main concerns that are being faced by you.

It’s your reality that you need to face in the future because there’s enough challenges ahead to keep you quite busy.

What you’ll find next year, your biggest challenge isn’t going to be bloggers or commenters, it ’s going to be the budget and the impact of the city’s financial status on the police department’s operational and personnel budgets including staffing levels primarily on the civilian side. Fortunately due to the COPS grant funding, the department will have 15 positions reopened at the officer level and their funding will be covered for several years. Hopefully, the city’s economic picture will improve enough to ensure that the necessary funding continues to pay for those 15 spots (plus the additional vacancies filled).

However, on the civilian side, there hasn’t been any employee positions outside of the dispatch position that have been filled in four years. That leaves a vacancy rate of approximately 27% and actually if you omit the non-frozen civilian positions such as dispatching, it’s quite higher than that. Supervisory sworn staffing was at critical levels and promotions in the past year had helped alleviate those deficiencies and in fact, two of those on this list were promoted during that time period. Since civilian employees serve as valuable support to sworn officers in different ways, their absences have an impact on that division as well. That issue isn’t dealt with in the next several years; it’s going to create increasingly serious problems in the department’s operations.

There are still vacancies at the supervisory levels on the sworn side though efforts to address them in 2009-2010 including those by the leadership of the two labor associations did improve that situation. Not that it didn’t exact costs for some of those leaders.

The only level in the hierarchical structure of the RPD that had its vacancy rate reduced to zero so far has been upper management. Those vacancies are the only ones that have been completely filled besides detectives who have an MOU protecting those positions going back nearly 20 years. Probably the only reason that rank didn't get depleted though it lost supervisory support.

Efforts must be continued over the long-term to bring staffing levels up above critical levels in several areas both in civilian and in the sworn division as I’m sure most of you realize. To value the contributions of people who work hard in a dangerous profession is to ensure that staffing levels remain at the levels that are needed.

Some of you have been vocal about these issues and that’s made a difference. It hasn’t been always easy I’m sure but it does matter to people in this city.

The employees work very hard but it’s important to not have people burn themselves out as was warned in an audit conducted of the police department by a police practices consultant in 2008. City Manager Brad Hudson’s response was to have the consultant finish out the rest of his contract as long as he didn’t do another audit. But his point was salient to those of us who pay attention. A few of you on this list have the institutional memory to remember what it was like when staffing levels were depleted at different levels in the latter 1990s. That contributed greatly to the turmoil in the following decade and to serious problems leading to great expenditures including monotery.

I think the work ethic of the department is very high. What did puzzle me when some of the newer management arrived and they told employees that the past was the past and it’s time to get back to work. However, even as some members of former management engaged in problematic behavior including decision making, the vast majority of the police department was out doing its job in a much more difficult climate which wasn’t one of their making. As ambassadors for the troubled department while those who created the problems remained much more insulated from the public’s response to what happened last year especially considering that most of the city’s consternation was placed on a mid-level watch commander who successfully overturned a demotion and suspension. That’s something else that could have been acknowledged in the Wikipedia article under the excised Leach section.

As for honoring and valuing the commitment and contributions of the police department’s civilian and sworn employees often in most difficult situations, I definitely agree with that. But there are other ways that the department can honor that that are equally as important as writing Wikipedia articles and again that speaks to why three of you are here including the author. It’s hopefully a good thing that you are here but if last year hadn’t happened as stated, the three newer employees would likely be elsewhere doing other things, perhaps in other positions or vocations. I think it’s important not to forget that, in part because it can remind you of the challenges which lie ahead. To do so doesn’t lessen what you can accomplish, it actually enhances it.

As you know last year, there was the Leach DIU incident and yes that’s in the past and everyone’s moved on but the image that still sticks with me appeared on a 15 minute COBAIN video taken from a police squad car. It depicted two patrol officers, both fairly new, who were talking about what it meant to stop the police chief in a damaged car while he was clearly intoxicated. They talked about him being a threat to their safety as he carried a firearm they couldn’t account for and about what they were to do while they called for supervision. The most disturbing part of that video was when another squad car pulled over to back those officers up for their traffic stop to help ensure their safety in a potentially dangerous situation.

But instead of receiving assistance from this third officer, one of the two already there instead waves him off, warning him to leave the “political train wreck” and then said he wished he could leave too. Two officers out doing their job when most people including the assistant chief are asleep, one cold enough to wear a knit cap who are doing what you called a traffic stop on their own chief. They are clearly uncomfortable with the entire situation but despite being relatively new, they already knew the unwritten rules about stopping the police chief even though they clearly didn’t appear to agree with that code and felt very uncomfortable. There’s no argument available to counter that assessment, it’s right on the recording through their behavior and speech.

It seemed to me that these two officers weren’t honored nor were they respected for the services they provide by their own agency or whoever put into place those unwritten rules for conducting DUI or traffic stops on chiefs and perhaps other “high profile” (as Hudson defined them) people.

It seems to me that if you’re honoring or valuing the commitment and contributions of your officers which you believe is critical, then how did putting two patrol officers in the unenviable position that these two faced in front of a national audience accomplish that? The best way to honor that commitment and service if you’re in a position to do something about it would be to ensure that the rules have changed so no one has to face that same situation and worry how it impacts their careers. That should be something that makes sense to all of you.

That’s why I’d wished that if the Leach incident portion of the Wikipedia was being excised (as if history could be so easily erased) that the language that replaced it could have been more along the lines of providing that information that those changes have been made in ways that both the public and the employees inside the police department can trust. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this but to this day, most of the public has no idea what changes were made to prevent that type of incident or anything similar relating to off-duty behavior.

It seems to me that one way to honor and respect the service of your employees in difficult situations is to eliminate any double standards of treatment of different levels of employees and to make it clear through words and behavior that this is being done, and in addition putting it in writing. So that officers in the future don't face similar situations. But that's just my opinion.

Sorry that this is so lengthy but those who know me know that brevity is not my long suit. Rest assured if I ever write a Wikipedia article, it’ll be signed and it will have a table of contents along with plenty of footnotes.


Former Riverside Canine Officer Honored

RIVERSIDE, CA: On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz will honor Loren Mitchell for his distinguished service as the first K-9 Handler for the Riverside Police Department. Loren began his career with the Department in 1956. He was an avid fan of the legendary movie dog, RIN TIN TIN; and as a result, developed a keen sense of the potential value of service dogs in police work. In 1958, a homicide suspect was able to elude capture by hiding in an area heavily overgrown with vegetation. Loren recognized that a properly trained police dog would have been able to more safely and far more efficiently search the area and would likely have resulted in the capture of the suspect.

Loren set his mind to convince the Department and then Riverside Police Chief Jack Bennett that Police dogs would be a great benefit to the Department and the community. At the time, Lee Duncan, was a nearby resident of Fairmount Park. Mr. Duncan was a World War I veteran and a renowned dog trainer who had trained Rin Tin Tin for his movie adventures. Duncan was a strong supporter of the concept of police canines and donated one of Rin Tin Tin’s offspring puppies to Mitchell to become the Departments first canine crime fighter.

Officer Mitchell and his canine partner, “PAL,” worked the streets together until 1960 when funding shortfalls forced the department to abandon the program. Ownership of “PAL” had remained with Duncan but the strong bond between Officer Mitchell and the canine “PAL,” was obvious and Mr. Duncan allowed Mitchell to keep him as his own.

Chief Sergio Diaz will honor former Officer Mitchell for his unique and distinctive place in the history of Riverside. The presentation will take place in the City Council Chambers located next to Riverside City Hall at 3900 Main Street. The presentation will commence at 6:30 p.m. Please join the Riverside Police Department, members of the current RPD Canine Unit and the entire City of Riverside in honoring Loren Mitchell for his service to the City as the first Canine Handler of the Riverside Police Department.

Riverside Youth Court Accepting Applications

Riverside Youth Court is accepting applications for its September 17, 2011 training session. The session runs from 8:30 am – 3:00 pm and will be held at the Alvord Unified School District, Professional Development Center, 7377 Jurupa Ave, Riverside, CA.

Riverside Youth Court is an innovative approach to juvenile justice and acts as an early intervention for first-time offenders of misdemeanor crimes. It is designed to give youth between the ages of 10 and 17, who have broken the law and admitted their guilt, a second chance. Those who are eligible for the program will have the case heard in a real courtroom with youth serving as prosecuting and defense attorneys, court clerks, bailiffs and jurors. An actual judge will preside, but the youth jury will determine the sentence. The Riverside Youth Court is also designed to educate youth about the juvenile justice system. Through direct participation, youth court addresses the juvenile’s responsibility for his or her behavior and holds the juveniles accountable to their community and peers. Involvement in youth court, either as a respondent or as a volunteer, increases their respect for the judicial process. Community service hours are given for all training and jury sessions.

The class size is limited to 100 people; seats will be given to the first candidates to complete their reservation online at

Reservations must be submitted by September 9th, 2011

For more information, contact Officer Mark Reddick or Officer Regina Quillen at (951) 826-5959 / 826-5544 or by e-mail,

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