By Mary O’KEEFE
The first Tuesday of every month Los Angeles residents in Tujunga and Sunland have a chance to talk to a Los Angeles Police Department officer about whatever issue they would like to discuss.
The morning coffee hour is similar to the Coffee with the COPPS scenario utilized by Glendale. It is a community outreach effort that is designed to make residents feel more comfortable with their police department and make officers more aware of local issues.
Senior LAPD Lead Officer Richard Wall was at Albertsons grocery store talking to residents who stopped by.
“The biggest problem in this area is vehicle burglaries,” Wall said.
In the last two weeks six vehicles were broken into while parked at a dirt lot used by those hiking near La Tuna Canyon and the Foothill (210) Freeway. Like the recent vehicle burglaries in Crescenta Valley and Angeles National Forest, many of the vehicles had their windows shattered and items like iPods, cellphones, wallets and purses were stolen.
Wall advised those who are hiking in the La Tuna Canyon area to leave their valuables at home, or at the very least not easily visible in their car.
“We have signs that [read please] don’t leave valuables in your vehicle,” Wall said.
Like other areas, Tujunga has its share of drug issues. Wall said that methamphetamine is a problem, however the most rampant drug being used is marijuana. Tujunga has several medical marijuana dispensaries.
“[The dispensaries] are out of control,” Wall said.
Recent raids found the average age of users is between 18 to 25 years old.
“And many of the [people] we saw during those raids were from Montrose, La Crescenta and Glendale,” he said.
Wall said he understands the purpose of the medical marijuana law was to give an alternative medication to those with serious medical conditions, but whatever the intent, the result is much different.
Wall is part of a group of law enforcement from the area that meets once a month to discuss issues in Tujunga, La Crescenta, Glendale, Montrose and La Cañada.
Having that shared information is valuable for law enforcement, he said.
Community members are invited to meet with Officer Wall at Albertsons at 6240 Foothill Blvd., at the corner of Lowell Avenue and Foothill Boulevard in Tujunga, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. the first Tuesday of every month.