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August events designed to make Anaheim safer

The Anaheim Police Department offers residents a number of ways to get involved in the fight against crime.

2013-08-06 AFD Nat Nite Out 161-MThis month, the department hosted and participated in a number of events designed to foster partnerships and keep the community safe, beginning Aug. 6 at the annual National Night Out against crime.

The event included the whiz-bang aspects of policing with crowd-pleasing demonstrations by the K-9, SWAT and Angel helicopter units.

It also featured outstanding examples of the nuts-and-bolts of community policing: officers interacting with citizens and sharing ways they can get involved such as the PACE citizen’s academy, Jr. Cadets and Neighborhood Watch.

Hundreds of residents packed Eucalyptus Park to learn more about police work – and to express support for the men and women who keep Anaheim safe.

“My kids always see police officers in uniforms, so this event is a nice way for them to develop relationships with officers,” said residents Margaret Lloyd.

Two days later, on Aug. 8, several police leaders attended a graduation ceremony for 32 students of the Project Access Hermosa Village Center.

The six-week program taught children about conflict resolution, interpersonal skills and the pitfalls of bullying.

“I make it a point to stress family at these events because that’s where it all starts,” said Interim Police Chief Raul Quezada, who spoke at the graduation. “A strong family at home goes a long way in making our jobs easier.”

Finally, the police department’s inaugural gun “buy back” is scheduled for Aug. 24 at La Palma Park.

The idea: fewer guns on the streets makes Anaheim safer for police and citizens. So far this year, there have been four gun-related gang killings and 13 gun-related assaults.

“Too frequently, people fall victim to gun violence,” says Sgt. Bob Dunn. “Our investigations often reveal the guns used in violent crimes come from burglaries where unsecured guns are the target.”

No identification is required, and no questions will be asked. Just show up on the north side of the park between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. with your unloaded gun or rifle. The police will pay $100 for handguns and $200 for rifles. “Our goal is to collect and dispose of unwanted guns, helping to make safer neighborhoods,” Dunn said.

A Police Dog’s Life Is Not Too Ruff


By Kevin Rice

As part of America’s Family Pet Expo, Officers Robert Lopez and Officer Brett Klevos visited Benito Juarez Elementary School Thursday to demonstrate and explain the capabilities of their highly trained four-legged partners.

More than 145 YMCA after-school children delighted in the exhibition.

“These German Shepherd’s are like highly trained athletes,” said Officer Lopez. “They train around 60 hours a week, can run at a top speed of 25 miles per hour and can jump a 6-7 foot wall.”


Fabian Carrillo, 9, was excited about the demonstration, and “liked how the dogs got the bad guys.”

The German Shepherds are named Ares, 4, and Guenther, 5, lovingly nicknamed “Marmaduke,” thanks to his larger than normal size. They demonstrated their keen sense of smell when the officers had the K-9s perform drug-finding drills.

Katherine Espitia, 9, “enjoyed learning about how the dog trains to find hidden drugs.”

You can catch performances from Police K-9 units along with appearances from other animals at America’s Family Pet Expo, which is happening April 19-21 at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa.


Police department consolidates youth programs

By Ariella Rams

Every December the Anaheim Police Department comes together to discuss the upcoming goals of the new year.

2013’s focus? The community’s youth.


According to Lt. Tim Schmidt, the overall program merge was a relatively easy decision for the Police Department.Over the past few years, Anaheim PD has implemented different youth programs such as Safe Schools, the Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP), Cops 4 Kids and Girls Club. The goal for this year is to combine these programs along with other police and community programs under one umbrella: Youth Services.

“When someone calls the PD and says, ‘I have a 14-year-old, a 9-year-old, or a 12-year-old’…we can send them to one place, one communication,” Lt. Schmidt said.

That one place is Sgt. Tracy Hittesdorf.

“She is very talented and has a lot of confidence,” Lt. Schmidt said. “She’s the right person for this job.”

One important aspect of Sgt. Hittesdorf’s job will be to oversee Safe Schools, a detail of four investigators and one sergeant responsible for monitoring nine high schools, seven junior high schools and about 40 elementary schools.


In the past decade, youth gang involvement had been on the rise, but since the introduction of GRIP, school attendance is up significantly and teachers and parents are able to more clearly identify the signs of deviance and gang involvement.

Another program Sgt. Hittesdorf will oversee is Cops 4 Kids, which takes children ages 8- 20 into either the Junior Cadet Program or Explorers Program. Elementary school children are welcome to participate in after school activities and homework help at the Cops 4 Kids center. Both age brackets are taught discipline and responsibility. The program also builds positive, strong relationships between the youth and the police and greater community.

In Oct. 2012, the Anaheim Police Department embarked on a mobile Cops 4 Kids program. This brought interaction outside of school, into neighborhoods, to teach short lessons such as the potential harm of “Stranger Danger.”

An area that Sgt. Hittesdorf will be actively involved in is the Girls Club – a place for young women to go as a safe haven from gang violence and involvement.


The Girls Club “instills leadership and confidence in young women,” said Lt. Schmidt. “We want to put female mentors and positive role models in a spot for girls to look up to, to gain pride in themselves; Sgt. Hittesdorf is the person for that.”

According to Sgt. Hittesdorf, the integration all of the youth programs under one umbrella will “enable the officers and civilian personnel to better asses the needs of children and place them in an appropriate program.”

“City residents want community services and programs for our youth,” Lt. Schmidt said. “This is the Police Department’s portion of that. Let’s tell the community that this is what we have out there for the community to get involved.”

To find out more information regarding the youth programs, visit http://www.anaheim.net/police.

City, Police Transform Neighborhood Formerly Known as Jeffrey-Lynne

It was once Anaheim’s most blighted, crime-ridden neighborhood.

But today, the rebranded Hermosa Village is “way better than before. It doesn’t look so ugly,” Loara High School student Ariana Gutierrez told the Orange County Register.

Register reporter Andrew Galvin profiled the evolution of the neighborhood formerly known as Jeffrey-Lynne. He reported from Saturday’s community celebration of a recent court injunction against the gang from there.

Violent crime in the neighborhood is down 33 percent since the injunction was served, the Register reported.

To read the entire story and see more photos, click here.

Police Chief’s Harley Entrance Delights 4,000 Third-Graders

OC Register photo

Police Chief John Welter roared into the Anaheim Convention Center Tuesday on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, then joined community leaders in sharing the importance of studying  history.

His entrance was among the highlights of “The Gift of History” and drew wild applause from the 4,000 third-graders in attendance. Welter joined Mayor Curt Pringle, Angel announcer Jose Mota and other community leaders at the event.

To view more photos or to read Orange County Register coverage, click here.

APD Dispatchers Partner with Supermodel to Mentor Expectant Teen Mothers

By Ryan Dedmon

Anaheim Police Dispatch personnel volunteered last weekend to work a community event to support single teen mothers. 

9-1-1 For Kids and Kathy Ireland Worldwide proudly presented the 20th Annual “IGNITE”: A Mentorship Program for Single Teen Mothers.  The program has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading mentor programs for single teen mothers, and it received the Governor ‘s Crystal Star Award in 1996.

PRS Perez and Kathy Ireland

Kathy Ireland (former supermodel and current CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide) developed the program in 1990 with 9-1-1 For Kids founder Elise Kim.  The program works with local social service organizations in identifying disadvantaged single teen mothers.  Those teen mothers are then invited to take part in this program to address the complex issues of pregnancy.  

According to 9-1-1 For Kids, “IGNITE matches professional businesswomen as mentors and role models to over 100 single teen mothers.  Single teen mothers who participate successfully transition into responsible adults, gain new hope and aspirations, and learn responsible parenting.”
Police Service Representative (PSR) Ofelia Perez and I had the honor of meeting Ireland and working this event with the 9-1-1 For Kids Organization. 

PSR Perez with Morales and Vasquez

PSR Perez was matched to be a mentor for 2 teen mothers (Azusena Morales, 16, and Marina Vasquez, 14).  PSR Perez went through ice-breaking activities and listened to motivational speakers, including Ireland.  Then they began a series of workshops designed to give the expecting teen mothers information on preparing for the complex job of motherhood.  The workshops included: Women’s Healthcare, Pre/Post Natal Care, First Aid and CPR, Financial & Life Planning, Domestic Violence & Child Abuse Prevention, and Child Safety & 9-1-1 Call Training.
I had the privilege of teaching the 9-1-1 Call Training workshop in the event the teens may have to call 9-1-1 for an emergency regarding the welfare of their new child.  The California Highway Patrol donated over 100 child safety car seats, which were given to the teen mothers, and two CHP officers demonstrated proper installation.  Doctors from USC’s Keck School of Medicine stressed the importance of healthcare, while EMT’s from Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital conducted CPR training. 

“Teen mothers hurt in so many different ways, and they are in great need of direction and encouragement”, said PSR Perez. 

Perez’s teen mentees are due to give birth in October and December.  She summed up her experience by saying, “We need to find time in our busy lives to reach out to those who may just need a friend.”

We wish Azusena and Marina the very best and we will continue to walk with them and support them on their journey to motherhood.

A special thanks to the 9-1-1 For Kids Organization for allowing us to take part in this wonderful event, truly an amazing experience for both mentors and mentees.

Hundreds Celebrate City’s Low Crime Rate at National Night Out

Hundreds of residents gathered at Eucalyptus Park in Anaheim Hills Tuesday evening to celebrate the city’s low crime rate and see exhibitions from the police and fire departments.

Anaheim's police dogs welcome the community

The centerpiece of the annual National Night Out event: demonstrations from Anaheim PD’s award-winning K9 unit and SWAT team.

“We continue to work together with the community to send the message to criminals that our neighborhoods are organized to fight crime,” Police Chief John Welter said.

Each year, the department also honors crime prevention partnerships. On Tuesday, Welter acknowledged “Every 15 Minutes,” a two-day program that illustrates in grim detail what can happen when teens drink and drive.

Chief Welter congratulates the Every 15 Minutes program leaders.

“We’ve had some serious accidents on this side of town due to drinking and driving,” Welter said. “This program challenges teenagers to think about the choices they make.”

Honored were Jerry Ballesteros and the staff at Hilgenfeld Mortuary; Western Medical Center; C.A.R.E. Ambulance, Sgt. Mike Foster, Officer Steve Anderson and Officer Allen Eichorn.

“You drink, you drive, you lose,” Eichorn said. “It could be your license. And it could be your life.”

Diamond Giddens, a Crescent Elementary School 5th-grader, visits a CSI display. She says she hopes to be an investigator when she grows up.

Public Information Officer Sgt. Rick Martinez