“See Something, Say Something” is a simple and effective motto to abide by when reducing crime prevention and promoting community safety. Too often crimes are witnessed but citizens refrain from alerting authorities, a coincidence that can be remedied through an awareness of how essential community engagement is for overall well-being.
Mike Vercillo, Community Outreach Officer from the Arcadia Police Department, presented on this crucial understanding this morning (Feb 4, 2016) as part of his responsibility to “make a difference” within Arcadia at the monthly Government Affairs Forum led by Chairman Jack Orswell and held in the Chamber’s conference room, sponsored by Foothill Credit Union. Mike spoke with passionate precision regarding the many measures the police department takes to protect citizens. His expertise and earnest regard for these measures makes his position not just a job but also a personal mission (download his PowerPoint by clicking here: MikeVercilloPowerPoint).
The full table of nearly 20 attendees was informed about recent reports brought by City of Arcadia officials and legislative representatives, sharing news on issues such as upcoming bills on privacy-cyber security, small business marketplace reform, and health care. Other topics included the regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries, and the grand opening of the Metro Gold Line on March 5.
Notably, with the recent news of Chamber CEO Scott Hettrick’s upcoming move to Omaha on Feb. 25 with his wife Betty to be nearer to family and their first new granddaughter, representatives from the Congressional and State Senate and Assembly offices commended his contributions with Certificates of Recognition. Despite the blue feelings over his departure, all were thrilled to honor him with their respects after working closely with him throughout the years and beholding first hand his inspiring impact upon not only the Chamber, but the city of Arcadia at large.
Mike advised attendees on the directed-proactive police work being accomplished each and every day. For example, more than four arrests happen daily, however many criminals end up back on the streets, a problem that greatly troubles the good efforts. Fortunately, the West San Gabriel Valley Anti-Crime Task Force is actively discouraging residential burglaries, already reducing the number from 45 to 29 crimes over the span of a month. Further, Data-Driven Policing is rising in importance as a preventative measure for reducing crime. This monitoring activity has observed that home-based thefts happen most often during the middle of the day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays when residents are most often away from their homes. Finally, the Area Command Program covers five geographic areas in Arcadia to most effectually “make a difference” in reducing crime and improving the quality of life. Lieutenants act as liaisons between residents, businesses, and community organizations, bolstering the engagement needed with all 56,000 citizens—an effort required when promoting lasting change.
Additionally mentioned were various ways to become involved with the police department. Mike emphasized programs such as Nixle and Nextdoor.com to not only build relations with neighbors but also with the local authorities as a way to share information about community happenings. Town Hall Meetings are another exemplary way to contribute to community safety through the distribution of information to a wide range of citizens and as an outlet for suggestions and feedback on preventative measures.
Mike finished his presentation with a message on local terrorist activity and how to respond to possible attacks. This was all a part of his general mission to spread awareness and make each citizen better equipped to take control over his or her safety. He kindly included laminated handouts on the information provided for all to take home and share with family and friends. Highlighted was an awareness of one’s environment at all times and to have a Plan B in mind because escaping with your life is always the first mentality.
In response to the information provided to them by Mike, attendees had no qualms about the necessity of crime prevention and promoting safety within the local community. Their nodding heads and careful attention to the details of the integrated reports reflects just how far-reaching and inclusive the topic of well-being is to citizens of every stature. We are all susceptible to danger and thus all have an obligation to the mission of furthering public security.
Reports from legislators and their representatives:
- Viola Van, representing Congresswoman Judy Chu, summarized the Jan. 13 press release concerning a markup of H.R. 4341, the Defending America’s Contractor’s Act of 2016, which passed the House Small Business Committee with bipartisan support. The Act reforms and strengthens rules in the Small Business Act that help small businesses and other disadvantaged firms compete in the federal contracting marketplace. Last year, small businesses missed out on over $16 billion due to overseas contracts. H.R. 4341 included language from the Chu/Kelly bill, H.R. 4329, the Transparency in Small Business Goaling Act, forcing federal agencies to increase contracting to small businesses in order to achieve their agency goals. Viola, on behalf of the Office of Congresswoman Judy Chu gave Scott and his wife Betty a Certificate of Congressional Recognition and offered warm wishes for being a great friend. She reminded the group that last year Congresswoman Judy Chu recognized him in her Diverse Cities program as Business Person of the Year for 2015.
- Clayton Arick, representing Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, shared that the Office’s bill package stresses health care. The Nurse Practioners Bill is to address the huge demand for providers. On behalf of the Senate Office, Clayton offered Scott a Certificate of Recognition and gave his best regards.
- Adam Hsu, representing Assemblymember Ed Chau gave a reminder that the deadline to introduce new bills is Feb. 5. He informed that the theme of the Office of the Assemblymember Ed Chau going forward is privacy-cyber security, identity theft, and fraud prevention. He also recognized Scott for his accomplishments with a certificate, saying that Omaha is “lucky to have him.”
- Brian Mejia, representing Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, informed attendees that the board of supervisors is actively discussing medical marijuana dispensaries in respect to county cultivation, testing, and distribution. Currently, there is a 45-day moratorium while a study of impact of being conducted. On May 28, 2016 the Supervisor’s annual salute to veterans at L.A. County’s Arcadia Park will also include a dedication ceremony for the Arcadia Vietnam War Monument and the opening of the Rotary Club’s first annual Field of Honor. This will be the last official event under the Supervisor, who is termed out and will be running for another elected office with the State of California.
- Tim Schwehr, Development Analyst for the City of Arcadia, specified that two spots are open on city council for the April elections and addressed the city staff’s required neutral stance of the city on the election ballot Measure A for the repeal of the Utility Users Tax, which could result in an extreme budget cut at around 13%. March 5 is the much looked forward to opening of the Metro Gold Line that includes free rides for that day—there will be an event at the Arcadia Plaza and a portion of First Avenue will be closed down for a community event with food, entertainment, and raffle prizes. Meanwhile, there are changes coming for the city’s Arcadia Transit shuttle service that will transition to fixed routes beginning this summer, featuring stops at the mall and the Gold Line station. Santa Anita Park Race Track will also have its own shuttle service to and from the Gold Line station.
- Linda Sells of MAD Town Council invited all attendees to the Monrovia Square that is now reopened for the Metro Gold Line. A children’s park and stage for summer concert events invigorate the station. The historical station building will be converted into a restaurant. There will be a Parks and Recreation Assessment on Feb. 15 in regards to Pamela Park and the 6th and Longden Park and residents are encouraged to come and offer opinions on what should be done.
- Rainbow Yeung of AQMD announced the Annual Lawn Mower Exchange and Commercial Leaf Blower Exchange Programs will be happening beginning Feb. 23, 2016. She also directed attendees to the clean transportation website for additional information on current grants and funding opportunities.
The next Government Affairs Forum is on March 3 at 8 a.m. and will feature Gene Glasco. He will speak regarding the Arcadia Vietnam War Monument at Arcadia Park.
The public is invited at 8 a.m. on the first Thursday of each month to hear informative presentations at the monthly Government Affairs Forum led by Chairman Jack Orswell from Orswell & Kasman, Inc. Environmental Assessments & Consulting. The Forums are held at the Chamber office at 388 W. Huntington Drive in Arcadia in the Chamber’s conference room sponsored by Foothill Credit Union. RSVPs to the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce office are appreciated – (626) 447-2159 or info@ArcadiaCaChamber.org