In October 2009, Glendale Police Dept. introduced its first North Area Commander, Lt. Ian Grimes. He was a perfect fit because not only had he begun his police career patrolling the Crescenta Valley area, he was also a resident. After 31 years with the Glendale Police Dept., Grimes has retired.
His familiar face at many community events in both the far north Glendale area and La Crescenta will be missed.
“When the Chief [Ron DePompa] started the [area command], I had a choice of where I wanted to work and I chose La Crescenta,” Grimes said. “I knew there was a core of officers that lived in the area.”
Grimes put together a team comprised of officers that knew the area and the residents.
“It was a pleasure working with all of them,” he said.
He added that what he liked was the sense of cohesion and community in Crescenta Valley.
“You don’t hear people say, ‘I am from Glendale or La Crescenta’ – we are just from Crescenta Valley,” he said.
The CV area is a unique geographical area that is split between the city of Glendale and Los Angeles County, which is under the Sheriff’s Department.
“We worked well with the Sheriff’s Department, CHP (California Highway Patrol) and LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department),” he said. “I think that is the legacy of [the command area].”
Far north Glendale has boundaries on the east bordered by L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and on the west, at Lowell Avenue, is LAPD.
For many officers there is that one case that stays with them, the one that doesn’t leave their mind or heart. For Grimes that case is the murder of two local teenagers found on the Valley View Elementary School campus.
In July 2000, Christopher McCulloch, 13, and Blaine Talmo, 14, were brutally murdered on the campus.
Grimes and Sgt. Dennis Smith were the two officers that worked the case. Smith has said, in a previous interview, that the murders were due to a robbery that went bad. Michael Demirdjian, who was 16 at the time, was convicted of the murders. He had been linked to a drug deal that went wrong earlier in Crescenta Valley.
Both teens were beaten to death, and the brutality of the murders was especially difficult for the victim’s families, the community and the police to forget.
“I think for my career, the Valley View case was the [one] that influenced me the most. It was one of the reasons I chose to come back to the area,” Grimes said.
Grimes worked closely with the victims’ families. He went above and beyond to help the families try to come to terms with this senseless crime.
“He was always very professional, patient and very good at keeping me abreast of events before, during and after the trials of the young man who murdered my son,” said Aileen Bristow, mother of Christopher.
“Lt. Grimes was the one who actually broke the news to me that my son had been killed and the way in which he very gently and humanely handled that situation is something I’ll never forget,” she said. “I hope he has a long and happy retirement and is able now to spend lots of quality time with his family.”
Grimes said although the area is a safe community, there are still challenges. He added that the community has banded together to help work with the drug and alcohol issues.
Now that he is retired, Grimes plans to travel and enjoy some time off. When asked what he will miss the most he said, “the people.”
“When you are young, you think it is about the cases and arrests but it is really about the relationships both inside and out of the department,” he said. “The interaction with colleagues and in the community….In reflecting on my career, I think it is the people [I have met and worked with] that have had the most profound effect on me.”