Air Operations - FAST

The South Pasadena Police Department continues its involvement with the Foothill Air Support Team (FAST).

FAST is a regional Air Support partnership founded in 1999 by then Pasadena Chief of Police Bernard Melekian. FAST provides a regional law enforcement helicopter air support program to enhance public safety services in the San Gabriel Valley. FAST also assists with Homeland Security checks at major sporting events in the San Gabriel Valley.

 Currently, FAST is a partnership between the cities of Alhambra, Arcadia, Covina, Glendora, Monrovia, Pasadena, Pomona, San Marino, Sierra Madre, and South Pasadena.

Participation in FAST requires each agency to provide an officer to perform the role of an observer, called a “Tactical Flight Officer” (TFO), twice a month. The TFO monitors radio transmissions from the partnering cities and prioritizes which calls to respond to. From its aerial view, the TFO can coordinate ground units and other resources.

The FAST helicopter was upgraded to include a Video Downlink System. This allows a live feed of an aerial view for ground units. Night Vision Goggles were also acquired to assist the TFO in locating suspects/persons at nighttime. The Night Vision Goggles along with the Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system are an extension of the helicopter’s ability to help fight crime at night. FLIRs are thermal imaging and can detect body heat at night, while Night Vision Goggles allow the TFO to see in low light conditions.

Communications Division

The South Pasadena Police Communications Division is the primary answering point for all 9-1-1 emergency calls and non-emergency calls, and is responsible for the dispatching of police services. Communications is overseen by the Support Services Division and are assigned to each patrol shift. There are eight Full-time Communications positions. 

The South Pasadena Police Communications Division accepts and processes an average of 6,300 9-1-1 calls per year and over 60,500 non-emergency calls per year. In 2021, Communications also dispatched 54,312 calls for a field service response. 

The Communications Division is the critical link between community members calling in for assistance and the Police Officers in the field. When you contact the Communications Division, you will speak with a highly trained Public Safety Dispatcher, whose mission is to provide the highest level of quality service. They are in constant contact with police field personnel and are responsible for the deployment and coordination of resources for both emergency and non-emergency requests for assistance.

The Communications Division operates with state-of-the-art equipment, including a computer aided dispatch system, intelligent 9-1-1 phone workstations which include language translation services. This service allows dispatchers to participate in a three-way conference call with a translator, agency member of the Interagency Communications Interoperability System (ICIS) radio network with the ability to communicate with other police agencies throughout Los Angeles County. South Pasadena is a UHF, trunked radio system operating in the UHF (450-512 Mhz) band 

PLEASE Remember to use the 911 system for emergency calls only! For non-emergency calls, phone (626) 403-7270. The on-duty Watch Commander can be reached at (626) 403-7265

Crime Prevention Unit

The Crime Prevention Unit is the community outreach program to educate ways to prevent crime from happening through literature, public speaking, station tours and events. 

Getting involved with your community and knowing your neighbors is an effective way to help prevent crime.  Knowing what is suspicious and calling the police on any suspicious activity is critical.  

Knowing your neighbor is not just for crime prevention, but also for any natural disaster.  You know which neighbor may need assistance, i.e., elderly, physically handicapped, etc.  The Crime Prevention Unit has a variety of programs in which to teach people of all ages.  All the programs are a FREE service to the community.  Contact the Crime Prevention Unit for information on any of the following programs: 

  • Neighborhood Watch Program - The core of the crime prevention programs, and one of the most powerful and successful tools we have.
  • Business Watch Program - Similar to Neighborhood Watch, except that it is directed towards businesses.  Businesses look out for each other and report suspicious activity.  
  • Home and Business Security Inspections - The Crime Prevention Officer will walk through your home or business and offer suggestions on ways to better secure your home or business.
  • Community Opportunity for Property Security (COPS) - This is more commonly known as Operation Identification.  We loan you an electronic engraver for FREE to mark your property.  The electric engravers were graciously donated by the South Pasadena Masonic Lodge Number 290. 
  • Crime Prevention Brochures - The Crime Prevention Unit offers crime prevention brochures on various crimes. 


Detectives Bureau

The Detective Bureau is the investigative branch of the police department and is primarily responsible for conducting follow-up investigations on criminal cases in order to ensure successful prosecutions.  The follow-up work required on cases typically includes (but is not limited to) analyzing evidence, contacting and interviewing witnesses, preparing and serving search and arrest warrants, and contacting and coordinating with outside agencies.  Detectives also file the criminal cases with the LA County District Attorney's Office and assist patrol in responding to emergency calls for service, arrange extradition of suspects from out of county/out of state, and at times speak to the media regarding certain cases.

The Detective Bureau is staffed by a supervising Sergeant, Corporal, three full-time detectives,  and one detective/crime analyst/crime prevention officer. 

Physical evidence is often critical to the successful resolution of criminal cases.  Surveillance videos continue to be of great assistance in identifying suspects.  Surveillance videos are occassionally posted to the department’s YouTube Channel as well as being released to the media.  A suspect in a dog theft case turned himself in after seeing the surveillance video of himself on TV.

DNA also continues to help identify suspects. In one case, DNA from a robbery case was collected from a glove left behind by the suspect.  In another case, a watch that the suspect attempted to take from another robbery was recovered and processed for DNA. Both suspects were eventually identified through their DNA and ultimately arrested.

Field Operations Division (Patrol) 

The Field Operations Division is tasked with providing front-line police services to the community. The primary mission of the Field Operations Division is simply to improve the quality of life in South Pasadena. The Field Operations Division endeavors to improve the quality of life through the reduction of crime utilizing the latest crime prevention strategies including predictive policing, responding to all calls for service in a timely manner, investigating all cases to an appropriate conclusion and applying the three E's traffic philosophy (Education, Engineering and Enforcement) to promote traffic safety.

At the beginning of their shift, each patrol officer is assigned at least one service area and is responsible for handling non-emergency calls for service and investigations generated from within that geographic area(s). For patrol purposes utilizing their available time, officers are not restricted to patrolling within their assigned geographic area(s).  In the case of an emergency call for service, officers can respond anywhere in the city within a matter of moments.

Records Division

The Records Division processes and manages all police-related records and documents (electronic and paper) that flow through the department.  The unsung heroes of the department, our Record Clerks and Cadets, are critical to the effective and efficient day-to-day operations of the department which include performing specialized police-related records management activities.

On a typical day, our Record Clerks assist citizens at the counter with many varied requests which include, but often are not limited to, processing requests for police reports, vehicle impounds, issuing and managing parking permits, resolving parking issues, assisting with those contesting citations and fingerprinting job applicants.  Additionally, Records Clerks process records of arrested people for submission to the District Attorney’s Office, oversee and issue electronic subpoenas for witnesses and officers and electronically preserve and archive all police reports.

Traffic Unit

The responsibilities of the Traffic Unit include traffic enforcement, community education, and collision investigation. The goal of traffic enforcement and education is to encourage motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to voluntarily comply with city ordinances and the California Vehicle Code in order to save lives, reduce collision rates, and prevent economic loss.

 As part of traffic enforcement, the Traffic Unit coordinates DUI Sobriety checkpoints, DUI saturation patrols, and targeted vehicle code enforcement operations in partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and in coordination with local law enforcement agencies. Two radar trailers are frequently deployed in various locations to remind drivers to mind the speed limit.

Commercial vehicle enforcement is also a continued emphasis of the Traffic Unit. Commercial vehicle enforcement primarily focuses on commercial vehicles ensuring that they are in compliance with California Law in regards to weight, size, safety equipment and stay on designated truck routes in the city. The weight of a commercial vehicle greater than 6,000 pounds on non-designated truck routes can cause damage to the street due to the heavy weight of the vehicle. Commercial vehicles are vehicles that are greater than 10,000 pounds, or 40 feet in length.