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Can a cop talk on a cell phone? What's going on with recycling thieves?

The Alhambra Source starts a new series today where we ask your questions to the Alhambra Police Department's Sergeant Brandon Black. Have a question? We'll ask it for you! Send your questions to [email protected]

This morning I witnessed a police officer happily talking on his cell phone. I wish I could have jotted down his patrol car number, but I was actually driving. I'm thoroughly disappointed that the persons who are supposed to enforce the cell phone law, are the ones setting the bad example – and BREAKING THE LAW – next to an Elementary School – where children, parents, or others are at risk. How are citizens supposed to take this law seriously if our own police officers do not?

State law provides an exemption for police officers to talk on cell phones while operating a police vehicle in the performance of their duties. The call needs to be a work-related and not a personal call. Keep in mind that with the advent of cell phones, many police organizations, including the Alhambra Police Department, use cell phones to relay sensitive or confidential information, as opposed to broadcasting it over public airways. Many times this information is time-sensitive and needs to be communicated immediately, hence the public safety exemption to the law. Public perception is important and much like what was conveyed in the question, it is easy to assume that the police are violating the cell phone law. I would encourage people not to jump to the conclusion that if they see an officer driving and talking on a cell phone that it is not a work-related call. The Chief has taken this issue very seriously and has made it clear to our officers to pull over and talk if the situation will allow or not take the call if it is a personal call and they cannot pull over to talk. If you feel strongly about your observations of the officer talking on a cell phone while driving, contact the Watch Commander at 626-570-5151

Why is there so little progress on dealing with people who steal from the blue recycling bins on trash pick-up days?

This has been an important issue to the City and many residents in the community as well. The City has an ordinance which prohibits scavenging from curb-side recycling containers because there is a mandate that the City recycle a percentage of the waste generated and when the City doesn’t meet those numbers, the City can be fined. As a result, the Department’s Community Policing Team spent several months working diligently on this particular problem both enforcing and investigating thefts from recycling bins. When we presented our cases to the District Attorney’s Office, many of those cases were rejected for a variety of reasons, but primarily the reason is that the amount of loss is diminutive. The city is continuing to enforce this ordinance, but primarily through the City’s Code Enforcement Office and prosecutions are being handled by the City Attorney. In talking to many of our residents, it seems that they are more concerned with unsavory or suspicious people coming into their neighborhoods and going through curb-side recycling bins than they are with the actual theft of recyclables. We encourage residents to continue to call regarding anyone that they believe is suspicious in their neighborhood and to consider joining or forming a neighborhood watch program.

Questions were adapted from the Alhambra Police Department Facebook Page.

Have a question for Sergeant Black? Send it to [email protected] and we will ask it!  

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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2 thoughts on “Can a cop talk on a cell phone? What's going on with recycling thieves?”

  1. First of all, I do want to commend Alhambra’s PD. Having lived in several other cities before buying a home here in 2000, our PD is one of the most responsive and respectful toward its residents. Anyway, here are my questions…

    1). Is anything ever going to be done about the speeders that race down 6th street from Glendon Way toward Hellman (especially on weekend nights)? The STOP sign is useless and several people (including a child) have been killed since I’ve moved here. What does it take to get speed bumps installed?

    2). The abandoned shopping cart theft epidemic. The city could generate quite a bit of revenue if they’d start ticketing these people stealing shopping carts (primarily apartment dwellers) just to bring home two or three bags. And no they’re not elderly — I see 40-year old men pushing these things.

  2. Exemption from wearing a bluetooth device?