By Mary O’KEEFE
After four and a half years of being the “go to” cop for Montrose and far north Glendale, Officer Matt Zakarian will be moving downtown to a new position in the Glendale Police Dept.
For over four years Zakarian has been the lead community officer for the North Command area of Glendale. In 2009, GPD implemented the area command program. The city was sectioned off into specific areas including the Central Business District, West, East, South and North command. The objective is to have community policing where officers get to know the residents and business owners of the area.
Zakarian helped build the North Command by implementing active Neighborhood Watch programs. He also reached out to local parents who had children that were having issues with drugs and alcohol. He began by inviting them to the GPD community office, then expanded to what is now the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition, of which he is president.
In addition to organizing programs, he also brought back Coffee with the COPPS. Through these morning coffee meeting he gathered law enforcement from other agencies as well as city officials to meet with local community members.
He has now been promoted to the rank of detective and will be working in the Violent Crimes Bureau.
“I hope to make an impact there,” Zakarian said.
He will be working with issues like domestic violence, rape and assault.
“I’m excited about learning how investigation works. I am looking forward to understanding the nuances,” he said.
He said although he is looking forward to his new position he will miss the community outreach that has played such an important role at his time in Montrose.
“I will miss the people here and making a difference with the programs [we have started],” he said.
The new community officer has also been in the area for a while. Officer Abe Chung has been with the GPD for five years, three of them patrolling in the North Command area.
“I think this is a great area,” he said. “I like the small town feeling.”
He said he is going to continue with the programs Zakarian has set up like the Neighborhood Watch and Coffee with the COPPS. But both he and North Area Commander Lt. Scott Bickle will be concentrating on those on probation in the area.
“If we stop someone who is on probation and they may be from somewhere else, like Tujunga, we are not going to just stop there,” Bickle said.
He said the officers would follow up on probation compliance checks. They will be looking at any connections between someone on probation and nearby burglaries.
Bickle said there have been a few burglaries in the area and the officers are going to be proactive by watching who is driving through the local neighborhoods.
Zakarian, whose last day was Wednesday, has been introducing Chung to community members throughout the week. He said he is looking forward to working closely with the business owners and residents in the area.