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RPD Update - Mid August 2009

What a busy and challenging summer we’ve had so far.  Despite high calls for service, a significant number of homicides, and many community needs, officers have been extremely effective in addressing crime issues.  This is only a VERY SMALL sampling of impressive recent work, but it’s an interesting compilation that gives you an idea of what your police department employees are doing on a day to day basis.  My thanks and appreciation to all our hard working staff, including the many dedicated civilian personnel we have “behind the scenes” helping to address our crime issues and support our sworn staff.  Please contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information.


Chief Chris Magnus


Sunday, August 16, 2009, 11:55 p.m., S. 49th St. and Cutting Blvd.--Officer Calderan conducted a traffic enforcement stop at South 49th Street and Cutting Blvd.  He contacted the driver and noted a plastic zip lock baggie resting on his lap.  The officer asked the driver if the baggie contained marijuana.  The driver replied affirmatively. Officer Calderan retrieved the marijuana and asked the driver if he was in possession of any additional marijuana.  When the driver indicated that another baggie was in his pants pocket, the officer requested a cover unit.  Officer Vallerga arrived as cover.  The 21 year-old driver  was ordered  to exit the vehicle.  Officer Calderan reached into his pocket and removed another plastic baggie containing suspected marijuana.  He also searched the vehicle and extended that search to the vehicle’s trunk.  There he located a backpack that contained a large clear plastic sandwich baggie containing thirteen small individual clear plastic baggies, each containing a white chunky substance (suspected to be cocaine base).  The suspect was transported to RPD Jail and booked for 11351.5 H&S – Possession of Cocaine Base for Sale.


Sunday, August 16, 2009, 12:00 noon, Nevin Park--CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) Operator Domingo observed what appeared to be a hand to hand drug transaction at 4th Street Park.  The buyer was contacted at 6th St. and Nevin Ave.  During a search of his person, Officer Campos located cocaine base wrapped in a bindle along with one Vicodin pill in the suspect’s pocket.  The suspect was arrested and later released.


Sunday, August 16, 2009, 2:00 p.m., 2100 block of Nevin Ave.--The Communications Center dispatched a shooting call in which a gunshot victim was found lying in the roadway of the 300 block of 22nd St.  Officer responded to find a 28 year-old suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck.  EMS and RFD arrived and transported the victim to John Muir Hospital (along with Officer Whitson).

     Officer Whitson later verified the victim’s identity and determined that he was not only on parole for manslaughter, but that he had a Parolee At Large warrant  for his arrest.

     Officers at the scene were able to isolate the scene to a specific apartment.  Officer Avila  noted blood splatter on the exterior front door of this apartment.  The occupants were contacted and brought to the police station for interviews.  One was identified as a parolee and there was a second suspect with him.  During a protective sweep of the apartment, the butt of a rifle with a sawed off stock was seen protruding from beneath a sofa.  The apartment was sealed in anticipation of a search warrant.

     Det. Rood was nearby working on an unrelated case and he responded.  Lt. Pickett was notified and a callout was made.  Crime Scene Investigator Grivetti conducted the evidence work.

     While the two individuals from the apartment were at the police station in the interview rooms, one of them urinated on the floor and wall of the room.  He never bothered to ask to use a restroom and relieved himself in the room.  Crime Scene Cleaners was called out to clean up the mess.

     The initial response and subsequent preliminary investigation were handled well by the  responding officers. 


Saturday, August 15, 2009, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.—Protests against Chevron were held starting at the vacant lot near the Richmond BART Station and then proceeding (on foot) down Macdonald Ave. to the Chevron Refinery.  The crowd was estimated to be approximately 300 persons at the BART lot.  A smaller crowd gathered at the refinery. 

     The Police Department had no advanced knowledge of the anticipated crowd size or if there would be “counter-protesters” present.  Officers from the department’s Mobile Field Force (MFF) coordinated their efforts with the Contra Costa County MFF and the CHP to assure the safety of all participants, maintain order, and enforce applicable laws related to private and public property.  PD response was coordinated by Captain McBride and Lt. Garcia.  RPD MFF coordination was handled by Lt. Pickett.  Many other members of the department played key roles in assuring this protest was handled professionally and appropriately. 

     Advertising that preceded the event indicated that there would be “non-violent civil disobedience.”  Approximately 14 individuals rushed the perimeter of Chevron’s property and laid down in the parking lot.  After refusing to leave, these individuals were arrested without incident for Trespassing—cited and released.  There were no further problems and the protests ended a short time later. 


Saturday, August 15, 2009, 11:40 p.m., 100 block of 18th St.--Officers responded to this location in response to reports that a vehicle had collided with several other vehicles in the area.  The vehicle’s license plate apparently fell to the pavement during one of the collisions.  It registered to a suspect who lived in the 2600 block of Kavanagh Road in San Pablo.  A Sheriff’s vehicle traveled to that location and reported that the vehicle was parked in the driveway of the location.  It was observed to contain heavy right front damage.

     Sergeant Mollenbernd, Officer Tagorda, and Officer Bailey responded to Kavanagh Road and contacted the suspect at the residence.  He was taken into custody for eight counts of misdemeanor Hit and Run.  The suspect was not injured from the self-initiated series of collisions.


K-9 Competition:  Last weekend, members of the Richmond Police Department Canine Unit participated in the 12th Annual Petaluma PD Canine Competition.  Petaluma’s competition is one of the most competitive in the state with agencies from Southern and Central California participating.   RPD K-9 officers did very well as you can see below:



1st Place—Article Search

1st Place—Narcotics in a Vehicle


It should be noted this is Jeff’s first competition in over 4 years.  Jeff and Nero found all 4 dope finds in the vehicles in 2 minutes and 36 seconds.  No other canine team found all 4 in less than 4 minutes.



2nd Place—Building Search (Person Search)

3rd Place—Protection

4th Place—Agility

4th Place—Narcotics in a Building

5th Place—Article Search



3rd Place—Overall Person Search

4th Place—Area Search (Person Search)

5th Place—Building Search (Person Search)

5th Place—Narcotics in a Vehicle



1st Place—Overall (Novice Division)

1st Place—Agility

JUDGES CHOICE AWARD--This is presented to the handler with the best attitude during the competition.


It should be noted this was Joe and Bosco’s second competition and they did very well.


Community Feedback:  We received the following e-mail today (Monday, August 17, 2009) from a resident:


Good morning, Chief Magnus!


My husband and I are Richmond residents for 32 years.  We reside in the Hilltop Green area.


On August 3, 2009, our home was broken into.  It was a most devastating experience.


Your detectives-(Mark) Hall and (Jerred) Tong, were incredible!  Their professionalism was demonstrated by their integrity, their efficiency, their promptness, their knowledge and their thoroughness.


I am sure you can interview them and get examples of the above descriptions and info on our case #XXXXXXXX. 


We feel very privileged to be living in a community with such an experienced and dedicated police force.


Sincerely and gratefully,


Jessie and Susan Yan


Saturday, August 15, 2009, 2:50 p.m., 500 block of 4th St.--Officers were dispatched to the report of several juveniles near the park at 3rd St. and Barrett Ave. that were overheard discussing a residential burglary.  Officers Caine and Mandel responded and learned that a residential burglary report was holding from an address in the 500 block of 4th Street.  The officers saw two juveniles in the area and the reporting party pointed them out as the people he heard discussing the break-in.

     Once the suspects were approached, one of them fled on foot and he was captured in short order by Officer Anderson.  The suspects were eventually linked to the burglary on 4th Street as they were found to be in possession of property from the residence.  The victim positively identified his property during an in field line up.  The suspects gained entry into the home by prying open a back window. 

     It was later learned that the discussion heard by the original reporting party was an argument between the suspects and several other neighborhood kids who were complaining to the suspects about breaking into houses in the neighborhood.  Several neighborhood kids actually went to the home of the suspects and brought back property to the officers from this burglary.  The suspects were apparently hiding property in the area and slowly transporting it back to their homes.

     One of the suspects was identified as a 12 year old and the other was found to be 15 year old.  The 12 year-old was recently released on probation for burglary and the 15 year-old had prior arrests for burglary as well.  Juvenile Hall was notified and accepted both for incarceration.    


Friday, August 14, 2009, 5:15 p.m., 4200 block of Ohio Ave.--Officer Pineda was dispatched to the report of a battery in which the 19 year-old suspect was seen armed with a semi-automatic pistol.  Officer Pineda coordinated the response and the suspect fled on foot when officers arrived on the scene.  A perimeter was quickly established and the suspect was seen emerging from the walkway adjacent to the railway tracks near the Taco Bell on San Pablo Avenue.

            Officers Sanchez and Reid detained the suspect, who was eventually identified as the culprit in a domestic battery and firearm brandishing case by the victim.  Officer Mandel deployed his canine, Rasp, for an article search for the firearm as it was not in possession by the suspect when he was stopped, but no gun was found.  The suspect was eventually booked for the brandishing and domestic battery per a citizen’s arrest. 

            This was a well coordinated response for an armed suspect by patrol teams 5 and 6 as well as the Special Assignment units working the street.  The Communications Center also did an outstanding job with communication.  Well done by everyone involved! 


Friday, August 14, 2009, 5:45 p.m., 16th St. and Bissell Ave.--Officers Anderson and Stonebraker received citizen information regarding a suspicious individual at 16th St. and Bissell Ave.  The officers approached the suspect and he made furtive movements towards his waistband before fleeing on foot.  The officers gave chase on foot and the suspect threw a bag of narcotics over a fence.  He was eventually captured by the officers and the drugs were recovered.  The suspect was found to have been in possession of approximately three quarters of an ounce of rock cocaine, one ecstasy pill, and money in denominations consistent with drug dealing.  He was booked for the possession for sales of the drugs. 


Wednesday, August 12, 2009, 7:45 p.m., 500 block of 9th St.--Officer Peterson and Officer Googins were working a Special Assignment detail when they approached a 1992 Toyota that was illegally parked.  The officers contacted the front seat passenger, a 17 year-old male juvenile, who rolled down his window as the officers approached.  The officers saw the subject tuck something under his seat as they walked up to the door.  The officers could smell burnt marijuana and asked the juvenile to step out of the car.  He immediately told them that he had “weed.”  The officers then found a loaded Colt .45 semi-auto handgun under the seat.  The juvenile was also holding multiple baggies of weed.  He was booked at RPD pending transportation to Juvenile Hall.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009, 4:40 a.m., 100 block of Park Pl.--A black Honda Civic was seen travelling at a high rate of speed, west on Cutting at Canal.  Officers attempted to locate the vehicle and found that it had crashed through a tree and abandoned in the railroad storage yard at West Cutting and Garrard.  A person wearing a black jacket with white sleeves was seen running west through the field, toward Park Place.

            While officers were scouring the area in an attempt to locate the possible driver, the sound of breaking glass could be heard from the area of Railroad Avenue.  Officers found two broken windows on the east side of the offices at 137 Park Place.  A perimeter was established and a canine search of the businesses was initiated.

            As officers were searching the interior of the businesses, an individual wearing a black jacket with white sleeves, leapt out a window on the west side of the building, landed on the canopy, breaking the supports, and fell to the sidewalk, at the feet of the officers.  The suspect was arrested without incident.

            During a search of the interior of the business, a small fire was located in one of the offices. The suspect had apparently used a lighter to set fire to electrical wires, which spread to the carpet.  Officers quickly extinguished the fire and RDF responded to ensure the fire had not spread behind the walls.


Last, but not least—some great work from last month that I wanted to pass on:  On July 21, 2009, Ofc. Jensen conducted surveillance on a wanted sexual assault suspect who had previously broken into the First Presbyterian Church located at 3415 Barrett Ave.  Ofc. Jensen located a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect vehicle parked near the church.  He checked the registration and learned that the vehicle belonged to the suspect.  Ofc.  Jensen contacted Sgt. Dickerson and he made contact with the youth pastor.  The youth pastor gave them consent to search the church and provided them with keys.  Officers set a perimeter around the church and then conducted a canine search.  The suspect was located inside the church and surrendered without incident.  The suspect was arrested for multiple sexual assault crimes.  On scene officers located the suspect's computer, which contained various items of evidence.  The suspect was booked on multiple sex crimes.  His bail was assessed at over 2.4 million dollars. 


On July 22, 2009, Ofc. DeOrian went to the 500 block of Hayes Street, on a report of shots being fired.  The caller reported seeing a suspicious vehicle parked in the block.  Ofc. DeOrian arrived on scene and located the vehicle.  He made contact with the occupants inside and was immediately told that they had been shot at by an unknown suspect.  Ofc. DeOrian began questioning the driver of the vehicle, who said that there were two loaded firearms in his vehicle.  Officers began removing subjects from the vehicle and discovered one of them to be in possession of a loaded firearm.  A search of the vehicle revealed one firearm under the drivers seat and one in the trunk.  The driver and the passenger who possessed the firearm in his jacket were both arrested for felons in possession of a firearm.