Antioch Police Officers assisted
By Pittsburg PD
Early Friday morning, graveyard Officers were dispatched to the report of shots fired in the area of Gladstone Drive at Loveridge Road. Officers were circulating the area when a witness pointed out a vehicle that was traveling at a high rate of speed through the neighborhood and was related. Officers attempted to initiate a traffic enforcement stop, at which time the vehicle fled from Officers and a pursuit ensued. The pursuit continued into the city of Antioch where the vehicle collided into the curb and flipped over.
Both suspects (see photo) fled on foot but were subsequently taken into custody after a brief search. A search of the vehicle was conducted, and several shell casings and live rounds were located. Both suspects were placed under arrest for several charges. Thank you @antiochpdca for the assist!Read More
BART will launch an ambassador program next month to increase the presence of uniformed personnel on trains to address customers’ concerns about safety and security. The BART Board voted unanimously today to move forward with a six-month pilot program that’s targeted to begin February 10th.
The ten ambassadors will be recruited from the ranks of the BART Police Department’s Community Service Officers, non-sworn personnel who perform a variety of police services including writing parking tickets. The ambassadors will receive additional de-escalation and anti-bias training. The effort is in addition to the team of 12 officers to begin patrolling the trains on Monday, Jan. 13. (See related article).
“This team will be police employees and trained to provide a sense of safety and security for our riders on-board trains and deter crime,” said Interim Police Chief Ed Alvarez. “I worked closely with our Board members, the General Manager, and police unions to develop a program that is responsive to our riders and is able to launch seamlessly, safely, and quickly.”
The ambassadors will walk trains in teams of two, seven-days-a-week from 2 pm to midnight, with extra coverage on Saturdays. They will focus their patrols on the most heavily travelled section of the system, the transbay corridor between 12th St. Oakland and Civic Center stations. During crowded evening commute hours, they will increase their coverage areas to other sections of the system such as Coliseum to Union City and Walnut Creek to Pittsburg/Bay Point.
“Our ambassadors will serve as extra eyes and ears on-board trains,” said BART Board President Lateefah Simon. “It’s a promising, first-of-its kind program at BART that will provide a welcoming presence focused on customer service and curbing inappropriate behavior.”
The ambassadors will wear easily-identifiable uniforms distinct from those of Community Service Officers or Fare Inspectors. They will be equipped with radios to report safety and security concerns or biohazards. The ambassadors will also be trained to respond to customers’ questions, complaints or requests for service. They will observe and report and call upon an officer when enforcement is needed.
“I am pleased existing Community Service Officers who are vetted, hired, trained and supervised by sworn police officers will be on trains on nights and weekends,” said BART Director Debora Allen. “I’ve been urging BART to add additional layers of security on board trains since I was elected to the board, and our vote today is a step in the right direction.”
The Board voted to fund the six-month pilot at a cost of $690,000 as well as an additional $810,000 to expand the paid area at Coliseum Station and enclose the elevator, using a new swing-style prototype faregate, into the paid area to prevent fare evasion.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.
BART’s General Manager Bob Powers announced today the hiring of Ed Alvarez as Chief of Police and tasked the new chief with immediate changes to increase officer presence on board trains and other strategies to reduce crime on the system and improve the rider experience.
Alvarez is a 22-year veteran of the BART Police Department, an East Bay native, and has spent his entire law enforcement career moving up the ranks within BART Police. He was serving as Interim Chief of Police and was previously the Deputy Chief in charge of the Support Services Bureau. The selection is the result of a nationwide search process involving BART’s Police Citizen Review Board and Independent Police Auditor.
“Alvarez knows the system and has a vision for safety that includes short-term and long-term strategies to grow the department into a fully staffed, progressive agency serving diverse communities,” said General Manager Bob Powers. “We must do more to ensure all riders feel safe and to prevent crime on BART. Ed Alvarez brings the internal knowledge coupled with the creative thinking to better serve our riders, support our officers, and increase accountability without delay.”
The appointment is effective immediately and Alvarez is swiftly putting into place new deployment strategies responding to concerns voiced by riders in Customer Satisfaction surveys and the General Manager’s Listening Tour. Changes include:
- Beginning Monday, a newly created team of 12 sworn police officers will be dedicated to riding trains in pairs and walking platforms on nights and weekends. This team will supplement the newly approved ambassador program which Alvarez was instrumental in creating and begins February 10, utilizing unarmed non-sworn police staff to prevent and de-escalate problems on board trains. Coupled together, both programs offer 22 police staff dedicated to riding trains, representing a new shift in the deployment strategies of the police department.
- Immediate evaluation of patrol staffing to determine the feasibility for the creation of newly assigned fixed post assignments at key stations such as Coliseum, where data shows a high volume of calls for service. The assigned fixed post officer would be responsible for the safety and security of a specific station, opposed to current roving patrols. The fixed post assignments will create greater station ownership and on-going community engagement. The evaluation will include how to improve response times, reduce crime, and increase presence.
- Increased visibility and engagement with riders to prevent cell phone snatching, especially between Balboa Park and Powell stations where there has been an uptick in the number of juveniles snatching phones, running to make a quick escape, and selling them along Market Street for cash. In 2019 59% of violent crimes at BART were attributed to electronic thefts. If we are successful in stopping cellphone thefts, the violent crime rate at BART will dramatically drop. 2019 BART crime stats show crime is up 11% with violent crime up 4% compared to 2018.
“I am excited for the opportunity to move the department forward and improve the relationship with our riders and our employees as we work together to make BART the safest transit system in the country,” said Alvarez. “Our officers take great pride in protecting and securing our busy system, they are skilled and committed, and I will do everything I can to support their efforts.”
As Interim Chief of Police, he oversaw the record-breaking acceleration of hiring, outpacing attrition to increase the number of officers available for patrol; the on-going process and commitment to BPD’s prestigious accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA); the improvement of surveillance video recovery time; and the roll out and life-saving deployment of Narcan.
As a BART detective, he investigated, arrested, and helped get the conviction of a human trafficker that targeted a young juvenile. As a sergeant he’s credited with starting the Critical Asset Patrol team that provides additional uniformed presence within the stations and on trains in the core of the BART system which includes the downtown San Francisco and downtown Oakland stations.
Alvarez is a first generation Mexican-American, fluent in Spanish, and grew up in Newark riding BART to A’s games and into San Francisco. He understands the needs of the riders and the complexities involved with transit policing. It is Chief Alvarez’s goal to improve engagement between BART police and the public through increased outreach and accessibility.Read More
On January 13th from 7:00-8:00 pm, we will talk with authors about the experiences and inspirations that shaped their literary works. Authors Steven Burchik, Bill Nelson, Jerry Whiting, Shauna Springer, and Jason Roncoroni will discuss their work, and take live call in questions.
The Veterans’ Voices monthly program can be seen live online on the County’s website and Facebook @Veteransvoices1. The show will broadcast live and re-run multiple times on Contra Costa Television (CCTV) at www.contracostatv.org. CCTV can be found on Comcast Channel 27, Wave Channel 32, and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99 throughout Contra Costa County.
Viewers can share their own experiences or ask a question by calling into the program at (925) 313-1170, Facebook @Veteransvoices 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the program, show topic or to arrange interviews, including many Veterans who volunteer to work on this locally produced talk show for Veterans, contact County Veterans Service Officer, Nathan Johnson, at email@example.com or (925) 313-1481. To view previous shows watch here, www.contracosta.ca.gov/5163/Veterans-Voices.
Our intention is to explore the process that turns military stories and experiences into published works, and perhaps inspire other Veterans to find a voice through writing. We want to invite you onto the show to be a participant in this conversation.Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has filed five counts of first degree burglary against 57-year-old James Lipston and 25-year-old Devaughn Cooper both of Clayton. This comes after Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff detectives presented the case this morning.
The Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation after detectives were able to connect a recent burglary in Orinda to an attempted burglary in Alamo. The Investigation Division, along with the specialized patrol unit J-Team, were able to identify Lipston and Cooper as the suspects, as well as the vehicle they were using. They were linked to at least six residential burglaries in Alamo and Orinda.
On Tuesday, January 7, 2020, detectives began surveillance of the suspects. On Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at about 1145 AM, detectives arrested them in the area of Kaitlin Place and Court Lane in Concord. Lipston and Cooper were arrested as they exited a residence with stolen property.
Both were booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on charges of residential burglary. Cooper is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail. Lipston, who is on parole, is being held without bail.
Detectives later executed a search warrant at the suspects’ residence in Clayton. During the search of their vehicles and residence, a large amount of stolen property was recovered, in addition to a significant amount of narcotics. Detectives believe Lipston and Cooper may be responsible for numerous other burglaries. The Sheriff’s Office is now in the process of attempting to return the stolen property to the rightful owners.
Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600. Tips could be email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous voice messages could be left at (866) 846-3592.Read More
Ruth Virginia Ferrell will be celebrating her 100th birthday with family, this Saturday.
Born January 12, 1920 in Memphis, Tennessee, she came to California in 1948, and lives with her grandson and family in Concord.
Ruth is blessed with three children, several grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
She’s doing very well and is very spry for her age.Read More
By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa District Attorney
Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton and Code for America today announced that 3,264 marijuana convictions eligible for relief under Proposition 64 will be dismissed and sealed as part of their cutting-edge partnership.
“I am grateful the partnership with Code for America has given us the ability to deliver tangible results for members of our community by dismissing old marijuana convictions allowed under the law. Far too often old criminal convictions for minor drug offenses can leave a lasting mark on an individual’s life. The removal of these convictions effectively reduces barriers to licensing, education, housing and employment. It is imperative that we continue to be innovative in our approach to reforming and strengthening the criminal justice system,” said Diana Becton, District Attorney for Contra Costa County.
“At Code for America, we believe government can work dramatically better than it does today; the criminal justice system is one of the areas in which we are most failing the American people. We must make sure that California lives up to the obligation of Proposition 64 and now AB 1793,” said Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director, Code for America. “I’d like to thank Contra Costa District Attorney Becton for her leadership on this issue. Through our partnership, we will remove barriers to employment, housing, health and education for thousands of Californians. By reimagining existing government systems through technology and user-centered design, we can rethink incarceration, reduce recidivism and restore opportunity.”
The Contra Costa District Attorney’s office used Code for America’s Clear My Record technology, which reads bulk criminal history data from the California Department of Justice, and securely and accurately analyzes eligibility for record remediation under state law. This technology can analyze eligibility for thousands of convictions in just a few minutes, alleviating the need for DA staff to go through state criminal records one by one to evaluate eligibility, a time and labor-intensive process.
This partnership helps address wrongs caused by the failed war on drugs, felt most strongly by communities of color. Approximately 2,400 individuals will receive conviction relief through this partnership. Of those, approximately 36% are Black or African American, 45% are White, 15% are Latinx, 2% are Asian/Pacific Islander, and 2% are other or unknown.
Contra Costa is the fifth California District Attorney’s Office to announce a pilot partnership with Code for America and use Clear My Record Technology to clear marijuana-related convictions eligible under Proposition 64. The other counties include San Francisco, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Los Angeles. In total, these five pilots will help reduce or dismiss approximately 75,000 Proposition 64 eligible convictions.
Earlier this year, Code for America also launched its new Clear My Record Application and Implementation Blueprint, available at no cost and open source to all California counties. These resources allow all District Attorneys’ offices to follow the lead of DA Becton and expedite and streamline review of Prop 64 convictions.
Record Clearance for the Digital Age
Record clearance was not built for the digital age. Previously, each person seeking relief had to petition the court on their own to clear their records, but this is a time-consuming, expensive, and confusing process. Because of these barriers, the vast majority of those eligible for relief have not received it.
With the aid of Code for America’s Clear My Record technology, a DA’s office can automatically and securely evaluate eligibility for record clearance for thousands of convictions in just a few minutes.
This requires no action on the part of the individual, and minimal staff time and resources from the DA’s office — two obstacles for record clearance. Streamlining conviction data processing will also make it easier for courts to update records, ensuring that individuals can obtain relief as soon as possible.
These partnerships set the standard for the statewide implementation of Assembly Bill 1793, which tasks prosecutors with affirmatively reviewing convictions eligible for dismissal or reduction under Proposition 64. This novel approach also creates a blueprint for the future of record clearance for remedies beyond Proposition 64 — the development of policy and technology that expands, streamlines and automates the record clearance process at scale.
Code for America has been making it easier for people to remove eligible convictions from their records through Clear my Record technology since 2016.
About Code for America
Code for America believes government must work for the people, and by the people, in the digital age, starting with the people who need it most. We build digital services that enhance government capabilities, and we help others do the same across all levels of government. We organize thousands of volunteers across nearly 80 chapters nationwide who improve government in their local communities. Our goal: a 21st century government that effectively and equitably serves all Americans. Learn more at codeforamerica.org.Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
On Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at about 6:30 PM, Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff arrested 54-year-old Kyle Ann Wood at her home in Pleasant Hill.
The Lafayette Police Department, assisted by the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division, recently began an investigation into Wood after receiving reports of alleged inappropriate and unlawful relationships between Wood and two minors. The crimes occurred between 1996-1998. The victims were students at Acalanes High School where Wood was a teacher.
Wood is currently a teacher at Miramonte High School in Orinda.
The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office filed felony sex charges against Wood. She was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility and is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.
The investigation is ongoing. The Lafayette Police Department is asking anyone with additional information regarding this case to contact detectives at (925) 283-3680 or (925) 299-3234 or email Sergeant T. Rossberg at email@example.com.Read More
Martinez, CA – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors held a swearing-in ceremony for Supervisor Candace Andersen as Board Chair and Supervisor Diane Burgis as Vice Chair at its January 7th, 2020 Board meeting.
District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen who has served Contra Costa County since she was first elected in 2012, including a previous term as Board Chair in 2016, takes the leadership role from outgoing Chair, Supervisor John Gioia of District 1.
Gioia of Richmond, who was presented with a prized Hawaiian Koa wood gavel from incoming Andersen as a gift, credited the “great work of county employees” in 2019 for salvaging a year marked by power outages and catastrophic fires.
Andersen expressed her thanks to Gioia, as well as her readiness to tackle the County’s issues.
“I appreciate Supervisor Gioia’s leadership in maintaining our County’s strong fiscal position and ensuring that many who need County services receive them in a timely manner. As Chair, I intend to work with my colleagues to strengthen the County’s commitment to supporting our law enforcement to keep our communities safe, expand our work addressing homelessness and the need for more housing, and do even more to help individuals, families and communities confronting mental health issues,” she said.
Andersen, who has served as a supervisor since 2012 and previously chaired the board in 2016, said there will plenty of business items the supervisors will address in 2020. Among the issues she listed were updating the county tree and Airbnb ordinances, considering a $20 million housing grant, and the grand openings of the new county and new sheriff’s office administration buildings.
Burgis, who has served on the County’s Board of Supervisors since 2017, representing the largest geographic region of the five districts, said she will work on the 2020 census, the Delta, and public safety and fire safety issues during the year.
Andersen is completing her second term, facing no opposition in her re-election bid, while Burgis is completing her first, facing one opponent in the March Primary election. They will lead the five-member elected body that sets the direction of county government and oversees its $4.43 billion budget to serve this large and diverse East Bay County.
For more information about Contra Costa County and its Board of Supervisors, visit the County’s website at www.contracosta.ca.gov or the webpage: https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/193/Board-of-Supervisors.
Daniel Borsuk contributed to this report.