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The Brea Briefing Room

Brea Briefing Room

Welcome to the Brea Briefing Room, the Brea Police Department’s official blog. Written by Captain John Burks, the purpose of this blog is to keep the community informed while providing a behind the scenes look into the operations of the Department. The blog also offers an opportunity to interact with the Brea Police Department through the sharing of information. We encourage you to express your thoughts on topics posted on the blog through respectful and insightful discussion. The Department reserves the right to remove comments that contain inappropriate language and/or material. View blog disclaimer.

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Jan 04

Emergency Preparedness and El Nino

Posted on January 4, 2016 at 11:57 a.m. by John Burks

With the much anticipated approach of a possibly historic El Nino condition in southern California, it is a good time to remind everyone about the importance of disaster preparedness. The City of Brea takes its responsibilities in this area very seriously, both as we prepare ourselves and our infrastructure, but also to provide our residents and business owners with guidance and assistance. 
For many years, the City has enjoyed the services of a full-time Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. Anna Lee Cave has been Brea’s coordinator for the past 32 years. During that lengthy period, Anna has not only experienced a number of disaster conditions, such as fires, flooding, earthquakes, and excessive heat conditions, but she has also become a leader in emergency preparedness and management throughout the State of California. Anna has served on many boards and committees, and has served multiple terms as president of the Orange County Emergency Management Organization.
Locally, Anna is known throughout Brea by many graduates of Brea’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, which trains residents in providing coordinated, emergency assistance to their neighborhoods when disaster strikes. She has also provided countless presentations on preparedness to civic organizations, business groups, and neighborhoods around Brea. You can follow Anna’s Ready Brea feed on Twitter at @BreaEM. 
For several months now, Anna and her colleagues in emergency preparedness have been focusing on readying their communities for the much anticipated El Nino storm conditions projected to hit California this winter. The City of Brea website (http://cityofbrea.net/index.aspx?NID=355) has much information about how to prepare for and handle the rain once it gets here. This includes information on sandbag procurement and placement, preparing your home for excessive rain, and hints on driving conditions during heavy rain. You will also learn how to track important information updates during rainy conditions with important websites and phone numbers. Additional information can be found at the Orange County El Nino website (http://www.ocelnino.com/).
I also want to take this opportunity to strongly encourage anyone who lives or works in Brea to sign up for emergency alerts from AlertOC. This mass notification system will contact you via phone, e-mail, or text message should an emergency threaten your Brea home or business. While Brea landline phones are automatically loaded into the system, you must register your cell phone or e-mail address if you wish to receive alerts in that form as well. This is the best way to receive emergency alerts from the City in an emergency or disaster. Please visit the AlertOC website (http://bos.ocgov.com/alertoc/alertoc.asp) for further information or to register.

Oct 05

Homeless Outreach

Posted on October 5, 2015 at 1:59 p.m. by John Burks

Most southern California cities have felt the impact of the problem of homelessness, and the City of Brea is no exception. For many years, Brea police officers periodically encountered homeless individuals in Brea and occasionally even a homeless family. Resources were readily available, and there were regional, temporary shelter options, typically enough that most situations could be resolved positively. However, since the recession, Brea officers have noticed marked increases in homeless people living on the streets in Brea or passing through town. Not only did the recession seemingly cause more homelessness, but also contributed to a reduction in available resources for shelter, medical needs, and mental health treatment.

In an effort to enhance our response to the needs of homeless people and families, the City of Brea and Brea Police Department recently entered into a partnership with the non-profit Coast to Coast Foundation. Coast to Coast is a volunteer-based organization specifically designed to assist law enforcement officers with homeless outreach. Volunteers are trained in communicating with homeless individuals, identifying needs, and locating and arranging services, sometimes including family reunification. Volunteers periodically ride with patrol officers to seek out homeless persons, and are also available 24/7 to assist with resource contacts. Often, making necessary contacts and arranging for needed services takes substantial time. Coast to Coast volunteers take on those responsibilities, freeing up police officers to resume patrol operations and handle other police functions.

Coast to Coast acquires and manages life necessity items, such as clothing, toiletries, food items, and bus passes, which can be distributed to homeless persons as needed. These supplies are stored at the police department and are readily available for use by Brea officers, including the department’s cadre of Homeless Liaison Officers (HLO), who are specially trained in handling issues of homelessness. The City has seeded the partnership with Coast to Coast for the initial purchase of supplies for the program. However, homelessness is a community issue, and the ongoing success of the program will depend on volunteers and monetary support from the Brea community. On October 3rd, Coast to Coast hosted the first volunteer Community Outreach Training Day to train Brea volunteers in homeless outreach. Fourteen Brea resident volunteers received the training, and another training session will be scheduled within the next few months.

Coast to Coast has been very successful in other cities, including Fullerton, Anaheim, and Corona. The department is extremely excited about this new opportunity to provide effective outreach and service for a difficult problem. If you would like more information about the Foundation or are interested in making a monetary donation specifically for Brea services, please visit coasttocoastfoundation.org. On the site you also will see information about an upcoming fundraising event on October 17.

The City of Brea has not limited its support of assisting the homeless population to just within Brea. The City Council recently approved a contribution of $100,000 toward the construction of a permanent, regional homeless shelter in Orange County. Plans are underway for such a facility in northeast Anaheim, and the cities of Anaheim and Fullerton have also pledged financial support. The shelter will be available for use by homeless persons referred from all parts of Orange County and is a focused effort at a regional approach to the problem of homelessness.

Coast to Coast Logo

Sep 10

Police Records Unit

Posted on September 10, 2015 at 8:57 a.m. by John Burks

The Brea Police Department Records Unit is comprised of hard-working, but often under-appreciated, civilian members of the department. Through police reports, citations, and criminal record searches, among many other functions, the department generates thousands of pieces of data every year. Those records and data must be received, processed, transmitted, and stored, and must be done so in a meticulous manner to comply with federal and state law, and to simply make the data useful for operations. Although over time most of this work has transitioned from paper and pen to digital, it is nonetheless still a heavy workload and in some cases even more difficult to manage properly.

Most of this work is conducted by the members of the Records Unit. In 2014, Brea PD Records processed over 4,200 police reports, 11,000 citations, and responded to over 4,000 external requests for report copies and others services. And that is not the extent of the everyday workload. Records staff are also responsible for accurate crime stat reporting to the federal government, processing of burglar alarm permits and false alarm fines, subpoenas for records, and court order compliance. Records staff are highly trained in state and federal guidelines on the access, usage, and storage of electronic records, such as criminal history records and DMV information. The unit is subjected to periodic audits on their handling of such records, and has a spotless record (pardon the pun).

Records Unit personnel also staff the position of Court Liaison Officer at the North Justice Center. This position is responsible for liaising with clerical staff and members of the District Attorney’s office to ensure cases and charges are properly filed and to schedule officers for testimony when called. 

The Records Unit is currently staffed with a Records Supervisor, two Senior Records Technicians, and six Records Technicians. The current crew is a very veteran staff, with the least tenured member having over ten years of service. The fact that the Unit’s members stay for so long is a testament to the very positive working environment created by recently retired Supervisor, Marsha Dell, and carried on by new Supervisor, Mary Larkin. The Records staff take great pride in their work, and are committed to providing exceptional service, both internal and external. Their workload truly takes a team effort and their success demonstrates how well they work together. Our department is extremely proud of their service record and professionalism.


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