La Verne Police and Fire focus on public safety

Dave Monday, a firefighter from New York’s Engine Rescue 5, tells San Dimas and La Verne residents Lupe Arellano, Sandra Mendez, Roman Mendez and Karina Mendez the heartbreaking story of a 9/11 fire engine Saturday during the La Verne Police and Fire Departments’ public safety open house. Out of 14 crew members on the engine, there was only one survivor, Bill Spade. / photo by Megan Peralez
Dave Monday, a firefighter from New York’s Engine Rescue 5, tells San Dimas and La Verne residents Lupe Arellano, Sandra Mendez, Roman Mendez and Karina Mendez the heartbreaking story of a 9/11 fire engine Saturday during the La Verne Police and Fire Departments’ public safety open house. Out of 14 crew members on the engine, there was only one survivor, Bill Spade. / photo by Megan Peralez

Melissa Gasia
Staff Writer

Police officers and firefighters welcomed the community with their annual public safety open house at the La Verne Police and Fire Department’s open house last Saturday.

The event gave the community a chance to interact with the police officers and firefighters. Police and fire department tours were held throughout the day, so visitors could see what goes on inside their everyday life.

“We’re here to protect people and help, so these events are really good because people who help us work closer to the community will realize what we do, how we help and they need to know where their tax dollars go to,” said Wayne Tolosa, San Dimas Mountain Search and Rescue Team Reserve Captain.

K-9 demonstrations and fire department vehicle demonstrations took place on Third Street to give visitors additional information about their duties.

“Fighting these fires is not just one engine going out there and laying this hose spraying water but the bigger picture is all these agencies working together as a team to accomplish some mission,” said firefighter of U.S. Forest Service James Chung.“That’s what drives me to come in and enjoy my job because we’re all part of this big emerged response team. We’re here to serve the public.”

The LVFD taught children the “stop, drop and roll” concept. Children were put in a scenario where they envisioned they were alone in a room when the smoke detector alarm went off. They quickly crawled under the net filled with red and black balloons, which acted as the smoke. The children went out through the cardboard window and rushed to the nearest cardboard tree to wait for their parents and the fire department.

Informational booths about basic safety procedures were located at the fire department’s back lot.

“It’s good to give information out to the public as far as what not to do with fire to let everybody know that we’re a public service and we’re here for them,” said Khary Allen, assistant fire engine operator of U.S. Forest Service.

Police officers answered residents’ questions about public safety. They invited visitors to get in their police car and explained the car’s equipment.

“We’re trying to build trust and to reduce crime levels in the community by educating people,” LVPD reserve police officer David Stitt said. “I thought this would be a good way to give back to the city that I live in and make it safer.”

Visitors took photographs of a Los Angeles impact helicopter, jail cardboard cut-out, SWAT vehicles and police cars that were on display in the police parking lot.

The event had jumpers, rock climbing walls, earthquake simulators and activities available for the children.

“It’s a good opportunity for everyone to see what is going on in the community,” La Verne resident Janine Delgadillo said. “You can actually get to build a relationship and get to know them.”

Melissa Gasia can be reached at melissa.gasia@laverne.edu.

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