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Officer Randy Sany Named VFW’s Officer of the Year

Officer Sany is congratulated by Capt. Mike Aquino and Deputy Chief Craig Hunter

He played a key role in solving a double murder and a burglary spree. Now, Officer Randy Sany can add another accomplishment to his resume – the Anaheim Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Police Officer of the Year.

Sany and Anaheim Firefighter Dave Barry were honored along with awards for the city’s top Eagle Scout and Girl Scout.

To read more about his accomplishments, click here.

Police Arrest Two Suspected Dental Bandits

Two people were arrested Sunday on suspicion of stealing precious metals that dentists use to fill cavities, police said.

Police recovered stolen items in addition to the metals used by dentists to fill cavities

The burglars are suspected of hitting 18 dental labs in Orange County.
“This OC crime series caught our attention early on and we have been working diligently to identify the suspects and also undertaking crime prevention efforts with the business community,” said Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter. “Our officers were aware of the crime patterns and made an outstanding arrest.”

Officer Randy Sany’s proactive police work – he found them as they were just about to commit another burglary – played a key role in the arrests, police said.
Matthew Marchman, 38, and Shawna Lerer, 29, were taken into custody just before 1 a.m. in the 700 block of North Valley Street. 
To read the Orange County Register’s coverage of the arrests, click here

APD Joins Effort To Create Memorable Christmas for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Deputy Chief Craig Hunter greets children at Saturday's event

More than 500 children of incarcerated parents gathered at the Phoenix Club Saturday for a parade, carnival games, a visit from Santa and tons of new toys.

Organized by former Anaheim Police Officer Jerry O’Keefe and the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the annual holiday event aims to ensure children whose parents are in jail or prison have a memorable Christmas.

Officer Dave Garcia chats with a child about life as a police officer

Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter, several uniformed APD officers, City Councilwoman Lucille Kring and hundreds of volunteers from dozens of charitable organizations were on hand to make the event special.

“Look at how many caring people came together to create a special day for these children, who are enduring the holidays while separated from their parents,” Hunter said. “It’s this kind of community spirit that makes Anaheim – and Orange County – such a remarkable and safe place to live.”

Woodworking Burglars Caught in The Act, Police Say

Like a scene out of Hollywood thriller, the undercover detectives watched from an unmarked car in the middle of the night as burglars walked out of a woodworking business through a smashed glass door.

The recovered goods

The officers continued to watch – undetected – as the suspects loaded saws, drills and dozens of other expensive power tools into a truck. 

As the suspects prepared to make their getaway about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, the officers moved in and arrested two men believed to be behind a two-month crime spree that hit at least 10 woodworking businesses in Anaheim and beyond.

“The arrests were no accident,” said Anaheim Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter. “Our Crime Analysis Unit recently identified that we had an issue in the area – and they worked quickly with detectives to develop a strategy to solve it.”

Hunter said detectives deployed undercover patrol officers to key locations with a highly probability of being burglarized, including the 2700 block of Miraloma – the site of the arrests.

The result: “We made arrests before other businesses were hit. These arrests illustrate the importance of our strategic approach to solving crime and crime prevention,” Hunter said.

Arrested on suspicion of burglary were Carlos Tapia Cruz, 26, of Garden Grove and Leonardo Catalan, 22, residence unknown.

A substantial amount of stolen tools have been recovered, and police are working with victims to identify and return them to their rightful owners.

An Inside Look at Angel Stadium Security

Note: The following story was published in today’s edition of the Anaheim Bulletin.

The world watched this summer as unruly fans in Los Angeles hurled rocks and bottles, overturned cars and set bonfires in the street after the Lakers won the National Basketball Association championship.

Sgt. Jerry Blair with officers Edgar Hampton and Garrett Cross

Sgt. Jerry Blair with officers Edgar Hampton and Garrett Cross

Los Angeles isn’t the first – nor will it be the last – place where fans have rioted after a major sporting championship.

Anaheim police are well aware of what can happen.

As the Angels head to the playoffs with one of the best records in baseball, police are preparing to ensure it doesn’t happen here.

“Anaheim is one of the safest places anywhere to watch a professional sporting event,” said Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter. “We have an outstanding relationship with the Angels – and the Ducks – which helps ensure all fans have as safe and enjoyable an experience as possible.”

Of course, Hunter notes, it’s a challenge to manage more than 45,000 passionate people during a big game. Sometimes, fans get out of hand.

Behind the Badge asked Sgt. Jerry Blair, who manages special events and stadium security for the police department, to discuss the preparations.

How does the department work with the Angels?

We work closely with them. I can sit with the team president to discuss safety and security issues. Our open dialogue continues to provide enhanced security.Anaheim Bulletin

Anaheim hosts the All-Star game next year. You visited St. Louis to witness how police there handled it. What did you learn?

The primary observation I made was the importance of coordination. A variety of people from different city departments, including police, Major League Baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals and outside agencies worked closely together. It was a huge undertaking and watching it unfold successfully was impressive.  I know the relationships we have will be a huge help as we continue to put our plan together.

What’s the biggest challenge of managing a major event?

The biggest challenge, and most important element, is planning.  We have hosted a World Series, Stanley Cup and two world championship parades.  In January of every year (in a single day) we host Supercross at the stadium, a mixed-martial arts fight or Ducks game at the Honda Center, all while staffing the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) at the Anaheim Convention Center.  We have plenty of experience in the execution of large events in multiple locations.

What advice would you give fans?

Don’t purchase tickets from unknown street vendors. There’s a good chance they could be fraudulent.  Don’t consume alcohol in the stadium parking lot. It is illegal. Most importantly, treat everyone with respect and enjoy yourself at the games.

FBI Statistics Show That Anaheim is Safer

The number of violent crimes in Anaheim decreased last year, according to statistics released today by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The number dropped from 1,423 to 1,312.

“It never comes as a surprise to us because we are reviewing numbers and trends year round,” Sgt. Rick Martinez told the Orange County Register. “Some might assume with the bad economy that crime might be on the increase, but we’ve seen that’s really not the case.”

Added Deputy Chief Craig Hunter: “In an ongoing effort to prevent crime, the police department has created important partnerships with the community that have contributed to the continued reduction in crime. The FBI’s numbers illustrate the impact we can have when we work together.”

To read the Register’s story, please click here.

Hundreds Fill Stoddard Park For ‘Night Out’ Crime and Drug Prevention Event

More than 500 Anaheim residents joined police officers and other city officials Tuesday night at Stoddard Park for the 26th annual “National Night Out” crime and drug prevention event.

Several children posed next to a toy APD cruiser

Several children posed next to a toy APD cruiser

“We want to work with you to continue to make Anaheim a safe place to live and to work,” Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter told participants.

The evening featured safety tips, tours of police equipment – including the “Anaheim Angel” police helicopter – and a demonstration by Cisko, one of the department’s six German Shepherds.

After the demonstration, officer R.J. Young fielded questions from children curious about the department’s canine program.

Among the questions:

How long does it take to train a police dog? Five to seven weeks.

Do officers get to play with the dogs after work? Yes, police dogs live with their partners and their partners’ families.

Does every police officer get a dog? No, only six lucky officers are partnered with police dogs.

Department officials also awarded plaques to community members who have demonstrated leadership in crime prevention.

Cisko awaits the command to apprehend a suspect

Cisko awaits the command to apprehend a suspect

Electrician Gerald Ball and his wife, Tammi, were among the honorees. About 10 years ago, when they moved into the Friendly Village neighborhood in East Anaheim, they started a Neighborhood Watch program to address drug and crime issues.

Today, crime is down significantly in Friendly Village.  Crime prevention specialist Arleen Harris credited the Balls for working with police to solve the problems.

“We were meeting all the time, now it’s just once a month,” said Ball of his neighbors. “The police department has been a great partner.”