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nOveMber 19, 2010

lbPD Chief McDonnell aims for improved communications, high-tech surveillance CleAn uP YOur COMMuniTY Friends of Bixby Park, devoted exclusively to the renovation and preservation of historical Bixby Park Long Beach, has partnered with Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine to launch a “Keep Our Parks Clean” campaign, debuting Saturday, Nov. 20, with a community park clean-up from 8am until noon. The event will be co-sponsored by Vans, which will provide a “Keep Our Park Clean”-themed banner for the skate park area and host a skate demo at the park. Bixby Park is located at 1st and Cherry streets. All volunteers for general clean-up are welcome, as are tree and plant maintenance volunteers. Clean-up and gardening materials will be provided as well as coffee and muffins. Call (562) 983-8139. gOing green Wrigley is Going Green, a grassroots neighborhood environmental organization devoted to saving and planting trees in Long Beach, was awarded a Neighborhood Partners Program grant to plant 60 trees in the area immediately surrounding the Wrigley Garden, 1950 Henderson Ave., and to create a mural by local artist Lisa Wibroe to go in the thriving community garden. The public is invited to join Councilmember Dee Andrews of the 6th District, Saturday, Nov. 20 at 9am for the unveiling of the garden mural and the planting of 60 trees. All volunteers will be entered into a raffle to win four turkey dinners provided by the Wrigley Albertsons on Willow Street. Shovels and gloves will be provided. Students who volunteer will receive credit for community service hours. Visit wrigleygarden.org. PAnCAKeS FOr everYOne The Wrigley Area Neighborhood Alliance will offer the community a pancake breakfast and silent auction on Saturday, Nov. 20 from 9am to noon at Veterans Park Social Hall, 101 E. 28th St. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12. Contact Maria at (562) 427-5021 or email wrigleyalliance@msn.com. HArveSTing ArTS & CrAFTS Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine will host a holiday workshop at Rancho Los Alamitos, 6400 East Bixby Hill Rd. on Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10am to 12:30pm. This seasonal culinary demonstration and sample menu tasting will teach attendees how to brighten their table and spice up their holiday cooking as they welcome their families home for the holidays. The demonstration will be followed by a wreathconstruction class. All materials will be provided. $55 per individual ($45 for RLA members). CAWFee TAWK Eighth District Councilmember Rae Gabelich will host a discussion over coffee on Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10am to noon at Avila’s El Ranchito, 5345 Long Beach Blvd. The public is invited to discuss their concerns and suggestions regarding the neighborhood. Call (562) 570-6685. gOne FiSHin’ Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine and the Daniel Hernandez Youth Foundation will host a free Youth Fishing Derby on Saturday, Nov. 20 from 9am to noon at El Dorado Park, 7550 E. Spring St. Registration begins at 8am. Fishing poles and tackle to catch fish will be provided for free to children 15 years old and under. Anyone over 16 years old is required to have a California State Fishing License. Registration will begin at 8am, and the derby will continue from 9am to noon. A special raffle will be held at 1pm. There is a $7 gate fee for vehicles. DrAWing in nATure Join Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine at the El Dorado Nature Center, 7550 E. Spring St. to gain a new perspective of nature through art. Attendees will walk and journal on the Nature Center trails and then turn observations into colored-pencil drawings. Learn the basics of using colored pencils, including blending, burnishing and impressed line, while incorporating techniques of botanical drawing. This class is for adults only, and is $30 per student for each session. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10am to 3pm. Call (562) 570-1745. PAnel DiSCuSSiOn The League of Women Voters, Long Beach Area will offer a panel discussion on affordable housing in Long Beach on Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10am to noon at the Los Altos Library, 5614 E. Britton Dr. The event is free and open to the public, and ample street parking is available. Call (562) 423-1208. gArDen, gOurMeT AnD gAllerY Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens (RLA) will bring together the pleasures of the garden, the essence of the palate, and the art of the landscape with its 2010 Garden Series on Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10am to 2:30pm at 6400 E. Bixby Hill Rd. Cost is $55 (RLA Members $45). To reserve seating, receive information or directions to the Rancho, visit rancholosalamitos.com or call (562) 431-3541. iT’S A birD! iT’S A PlAne! iT’S SuPerMAn! The Long Beach Cinematheque is teaming up with Anderson’s Paint and Hardware and Venice Dreams Boutique on Nov. 20 to host a 7pm outdoor screening of Richard Donner’s 1978 classic Superman, in support of the dedicated work of Long Beachbased food bank Food Finders. Gates open at 6pm at 714 Pine Ave. with a DJ set by Long Beach’s Lili De La Mora and Sarajeva Vazquez. The screening is free to the public, and the girls of the Long Beach Roller Derby will be on hand to sell soda and concessions. STOrYTelling CelebrATiOn The El Dorado Nature Center is pairing with Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine to celebrate the powerful art and wisdom of storytelling with Tellebration, featuring Long Beach Storytellers with stories for all ages. Early reservations can be made by calling (562) 570-1745. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 20, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Entrance is $5 per person. give THAnKS Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews will present his 3rd annual “Serving With A Thankful Heart” Thanksgiving luncheon and dinner on Monday, Nov. 22 at Ernest S. McBride Park, 1550 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Lunch will be served from 11:30am to 2pm and dinner from 5pm to 7:30pm. Last year’s event fed more than 1,200 people. This is a free function, but reservations must be made before Friday, Nov. 19 at Ernest S. McBride Park, or by contacting the office of Councilman Andrews at (562) 570-6816. DiSAbiliTY WOrKSHOP Anyone receiving disability benefits who would like to return to work is welcome to attend a no-cost workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 24, from 1:30pm to 3:30pm at the Career Transition Center, 3447 Atlantic Ave. Parents of individuals with disabilities and professionals who work with people with disabilities are welcome. The workshop will provide important information on how work incentives can help to achieve selfsufficiency, how the Social Security Administration computes trial work periods, and how meeting one-on-one with a benefits specialist can provide more individualized assistance. The workshop is open to all people, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, or disability type. Call (562) 570-3738.

Nick Diamantides/Signal Tribune

From left, Deputy Chief J.J. Craig, Chief Jim McDonnell and Public Information Officer Nancy Pratt at last week’s media briefing. Nick Diamantides Staff Writer

Imagine getting a text message or an email from the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) to inform you that the helicopter buzzing over your neighborhood is part of a search for an armed-robbery suspect hiding somewhere on your street. One day in the not-toodistant future, such communications will be commonplace, according to Long Beach Chief of Police Jim McDonnell. The chief and some of his key administrative staff conducted a media briefing with about 10 reporters last Thursday, Nov. 11 in a conference room at the downtown police headquarters. During the meeting, McDonnell, who was sworn in as chief eight months ago, stressed that the LBPD is hoping to improve its communications with the news media and with the general public. “We look to be able to build on already very good relations with the community around the city and to be able to get the community more engaged,” he said. The chief noted that there is a widespread misconception among many people who do not live in the city that all of Long Beach is riddled with a high crime rate. “It’s unfortunate that in our poorer neighborhoods where the gang issues are most prevalent that we have a continuation of repeat crimes, and we are working hard to make all of our neighborhoods in the community safer,” he said. McDonnell stressed, however, that the chances of being a victim of crime in most neighborhoods, tourist areas, and shopping districts are very minimal. The two-hour discussion with reporters focused on various issues, including the need for the media and the general public to get timely, accurate information on police ac-

tivities. McDonnell explained that, as part of the LBPD’s effort to reach that goal, the department recently adopted the Nixle system. “It’s a software that is available primarily for public safety focus,” he said. “It will be free to us to use. It’s a subscription service. People can sign up to be notified of significant incidents that occur.” According to McDonnell, when residents and business owners sign up for Nixle messages, they can request to be informed of police activities in the immediate vicinity of their street address, their neighborhood, their entire ZIP code area or the entire city. He noted that the LBPD’s Nixle system is not fully developed yet, but, when it is, the LBPD will be able to send out messages to those who sign up, much like reverse 91-1, that will inform them of significant police activity, crimes, and dangerous situations in the area of their interest. “With reverse 9-1-1, we can send messages out to home phones,” he said. “With Nixle, we can send text messages to cell phones, email messages, or whatever media they sign up for. We can tell them, ‘Okay, we have a search for a robbery suspect in a certain area, and we have a perimeter set up, and the helicopter is above. If you see anything or hear anything in your yard, call us to let us know.’” McDonnell said that when people are able to find out quickly why a helicopter is overhead or why a section of a particular street has been cordoned off, the police and the general public will be able to work together better. “That changes the whole dynamic of being inconvenienced (by helicopter noise) to being part of the solution,” he explained, adding that Nixle also covers the activities of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He noted that the LBPD is work-

Steve Shaw

ing on its Nixle transmissions to make them as timely as possible, but it needs more work. “We are trying to (develop) a real-time crime center that will operate under our Emergency Communications and Command Center (on Redondo Avenue),” he said, adding that he hopes that at some point in the near future all public and private surveillance cameras in the city will be connected to the Emergency Communications Center through the Internet. He explained that such connections would greatly enhance the LBPD’s ability to apprehend criminals. “It’s in its infancy now,” he said. “It’s not being done this way anywhere else in the country to my knowledge, but the capability, I believe, is there, and it will only get better over time.” McDonnell added that once the real-time crime center is up and running, its staff will have access to police activity throughout the city and will have the time and ability to be able to transmit Nixle messages quickly and to respond to media inquiries about what is going on. McDonnell noted that the LBPD is now working with private security firms throughout the city to come up with a database as to what businesses have cameras. “It’s up to them to cooperate or not, but I think it is in their interests to do so,” he said. “What we would require would be a modem on the camera so that we, through an IP address, could tap into that without running cables to the Command Center.” In addition to outlining the hightech communications and surveillance advancements, McDonnell told the reporters that he wants open and honest communication between the media and the LBPD in an atmosphere of cooperation. “For us to be adversarial is counter to the interests of what the people of Long Beach need,” he said. “That’s why it is so important for us to continue to talk and be honest with each other.” The chief invited reporters to come up with ideas on how the LBPD and other city officials and could make information more readily available to the news media. He noted, however, that some information pertaining to police investigations, witnesses and other protected information cannot be shared with the media. -------------------------------------MORE INFORMATION (877) 649-5362 local.nixle.com

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