Monday, October 29, 2007

Slaying is a Blow to a Rebounding Force (LA Times 102007) Police Arrest Man Suspected of Killing SWAT Officer (SF GATE 102007)

BS Ranch Perspective

The healing for the Rialto Police Department is a hard one, Since Serg's Murder, it has been hard for people to come to work, I cannot say that I blame them, It is just to much for one to bear, especially for someone that was so much to so many people on the Department!! If you were to stand each of the Officer's for Rialto in the place where the most fit, Serg, would have been clost to were the Heart connects to the Soul! So, what I am saying is that for now the Police Department has lost its communication between its Heart and Soul!!

I had the Opportunity to meet Sergio many times through his working career at Rialto Police Department. I met him when he was pretty new and still on training at the P.A.L. Center. (Baseline Ave @ Sycamore Ave.), then again later when he was off of training during the time that the Rialto Police Department was going to be closed Forever, after being a Department since 1911. Sergio, Corporal Black, his wife, Sergent Shawn O'Connel, were talking in front of the Rialto Civic Center, and I got the opportunity to hear his great personality at that time, It is such a devastation to the Department!!

I volunteered on the last Baker to Veges Marathon Run, and  Sergio was in  the  third or  fourth leg, which was one of the most difficult legs of that run. All or most of it was uphill with a headwind. He was did great and made great time, as did his Graveyard Partner Whom Sergio called "Kobe" also Ran a Very Difficult leg of the race. (Both of their Legs were most if not all uphill legs). You could tell that Sergio and his partner were very close and shared a great deal of their lives together not just their time at work! They were so close that the Officer who I cannot remember his Name, but I remember his 'nick name' of "Kobe" Spoke on behalf of Sergio Carrera Jr., they were very close from the time that they were sworn in to the time that Sergio had past. The Stories told of Sergio's personality was was great, I was only privileged to only a very small part of his personality, My only regret is that I didn't get to know Sergio Carrera Jr better!!

My prayers are going out to Sergio's Family, His Mother, Father, & Siblings. I am also praying for his Wife, Son, and Daughter. I am also praying for the one thing that I always pray for, and that is the Men & Woman of the Rialto Police Department! The prayer that I had prior had failed earlier, as  Sergio was called to Heaven! But I know that It isn't my place to say that or to look at this situation like this, The better way to look at this, the more healing way is to look at it this way. Even though I prayed a great prayer for the Rialto Police Department, God in all his wisdom had a much greater job for Sergio, he Must have been needed in Heaven for the SWAT entries against the Devil, in Heaven, and that is why he was called away!!

BS Ranch

Slaying is a blow to a rebounding force

A new police chief is turning around a department that Rialto City Council members once voted to disband.
By David Kelly and Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
October 20, 2007
When Officer Sergio Carrera Jr. was shot and killed while serving a search warrant Thursday, he was part of a revamped Rialto Police Department, an aggressive force under new leadership looking to put a controversial past behind it.

So while the community and fellow officers mourned the death of the 29-year-old SWAT officer Friday, there were vows to keep moving forward and not return to the days when a fed-up City Council voted to liquidate the department.

"Things have improved 100% since the new chief came in," said Mayor Grace Vargas. "They are doing what they are trained to do, getting gang members off the street. We wish things like yesterday didn't happen, but our department is now in better hands."

In 2005, Vargas was the only member of the City Council who didn't vote to disband the police and bring in the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department to patrol the streets.

"I really didn't know what was going to happen. All I knew is, I wanted my Police Department based in the community," she said. The council's decision, eventually overturned by a court order, was an expression of public exasperation with a police force in turmoil for more than a decade.

Its own officers filed more than 100 lawsuits against the department, many alleging racism and sexual harassment.

In two federal lawsuits, officers accused former Chief Michael Meyers and former Deputy Chief Arthur Burgess, both black, of discrimination against non-black officers.

The police were also accused of slow response times and letting a drug and gang culture flourish in the city of 100,000.

While crime rates fell elsewhere in San Bernardino County, they jumped 71% in Rialto between 1998 and 2004, according to FBI statistics. Mayor Vargas said 27 police officers quit during this time of turmoil.

"I didn't think so much we wanted to disband the police but I thought we needed a change," said City Councilman Ed Scott, who voted to dissolve the force.

The first thing they did was hire Mark Kling as chief. Kling had been chief in Baldwin Park.

"I think we had a lot of management problems before and the leadership was bad," Scott said. "Now morale is really good, and we are almost fully staffed."

Kling did not return calls seeking an interview.

The crime rate has dropped over the last few years, although there have been several recent shootings, including the deaths of a 16-year-old boy and Carrera.

Late Thursday, police arrested Jaranard Thomas, 32, of Rialto and booked him on suspicion of murder of a police officer. He is being held without bail and is expected to be arraigned early next week. Carrera was killed during a struggle with Thomas while serving a warrant at Thomas' house.

Yet not everyone likes new police tactics, which have included several major sweeps in the last year aimed at suspected drug dealers, similar to the one Carrera was involved in.

Around West Cascade Drive, where the officer was shot, the police came in for harsh criticism from residents Friday.

At the Whipp Appeal barbershop, several customers were concerned that the officer's death would bring more of what they described as harassment of Rialto's black residents.

Barber Ricky Davis, who counted Thomas among his weekly customers, said that during his 20 years in Rialto he had often seen officers hassle residents just because they lived in neighborhoods with drug and gang problems. "I don't think [the police] have gotten better; they've gotten worse," he said.

Customer Jay Scott said police had stopped him three times in the past two weeks while walking home. "They don't have permission to search me, but they do it anyway," said Scott, as he left the barbershop after his 4-year-old son Jermele's haircut. "They've been to my house so many times, and I'm not even doing anything for them to come to my house."

Longtime Rialto resident Mark Robinson Sr., an associate minister at Greater Faith Bible Church, supports the police but said the department needs to involve the community more.

"I still see crime as very bad," he said. "You have high functioning gang members and drug dealers who came and set up shop here and the police weren't ready for it." In response to the gang problem, Robinson is sponsoring a town hall meeting at 3 p.m. today at his church.

"I think the shooting of the police officer is going to spark even more people to come," he said. "And whatever officials don't come, they need to step out of office."

Elsewhere in Rialto on Friday, police officers tried to deal with Carrera's death. He is survived by his wife, a 2-year-old son, a year-old daughter, two sisters and his parents

Several of Carrera's former partners struggled with their emotions as they returned to work. "He was a really good street cop, soft-spoken, in control and very low key, very observant," Sgt. James Gibbons said. "He was well on his way to being an outstanding gang officer. He had a flair and a knack for identifying gang members."

Officer Robert Morales, who worked the graveyard shift with Carrera, remembered him as a diligent but funny colleague.

"He was a confident jokester who liked to stir a lot of stuff up," he said. "When he was around, everyone was smiling and laughing. He made sure everybody was laughing."

Police arrest man suspected of killing SWAT officer

Thursday, October 18, 2007

(10-18) 23:23 PDT Rialto, Calif. (AP) --

Police have arrested a man suspected in the fatal shooting of a SWAT officer during a narcotics raid at an apartment building Thursday, authorities said.

Officers arrested Jaranard Thomas, 32, a Rialto man and booked him on suspicion of murder of a police officer, said Police Chief Mark Kling. It was immediately clear if Thomas yet had an attorney.

Sergio Carrera, 29, died after being shot in the upper body while serving a search warrant during the Thursday morning raid.

Carrera was rushed to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center after the 7 a.m. shooting, but did not survive surgery, Rialto police Capt. Raul Martinez said.

"We've suffered a great loss today," Martinez said.

Carrera had been with the department four years.

The shooting happened 45 miles east of Los Angeles. No further details were released about the search warrant.

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