Remembering Traffic Victims — and Preventing Them in Irvine

Sunday, November 18, 2018, is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

This day is dedicated to remembering those killed or injured in road crashes, as well as to pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, police, fire and medical professionals who daily deal with the traumatic aftermath of road death and injury.

Unfortunately, this Day of Remembrance has increasing significance for the City of Irvine.

At our most recent City Council meeting, residents told us about witnessing extremely dangerous driving behavior and very close calls involving their children.

I am sure you also witnessed close calls or have heard similar frightening stories from your neighbors.

I am very concerned — as are others — that we will see an increase in serious injuries and deaths in Irvine because a motorist did not obey a stop sign, respect a pedestrian’s right of way, or pay attention.

I have set a meeting with our Chief of Police to step up traffic enforcement and to make sure that our police have every resource they need to ensure that our city is safe for children, other pedestrians, and bicycle riders.

I will be discussing numerous ways to increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety, especially for children, including stepped-up enforcement, more illumination of crosswalks, and better lighting and visibility at stop signs. Your suggestions are invited.

The truth is, we can greatly improve the safety of our streets simply by being better and more respectful drivers, and by all of us — drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians — following the rules of the road.

The most common cause of vehicular accidents is driver behavior, especially distracted driving.  In fact, distracted driving accounts for an astonishing 95 percent of all auto collisions.  According to the National Safety Council,  using a mobile phone while driving now the most prevalent cause of a traffic collisions.

Globally, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people aged 15-29 and claim more than 1.25 million lives each year. In the United States, motor vehicle fatality is the leading cause of accidental death among teenagers, representing over one-third of all teenager deaths.

As I have said, Irvine is world-famous as a safe place to live and raise our families, but it won’t stay that way unless Irvine motorists make a conscious decision to reject distracted driving, obey stop signs, and respect pedestrians’ right-of-way.

It’s not just our reputation as America’s safest city that is on the line.  Our lives, and the lives of our children, are at stake.

Meet Your Irvine Police Officers at Coffee with a Cop!

Join Irvine Police Department personnel on Thursday, November 8, 2018, for a cup of coffee at Starbucks in the Los Olivos Marketplace.

Our Police Department not only keeps us the Safest City in America, it also helps to keep us among most welcoming to diversity.

As our Police Chief Mike Hamel has said, “One of the best things about Irvine is that we are dynamic and diverse. We are made up of people from cultures and countries all over the world, but this also means that various community groups may have specific and unique needs. We are here to do all we can to help address your needs.  It doesn’t matter where you come from, your lifestyle, what language you speak or what religion you practice, we are your police department and we are here for you.”

“Coffee with a Cop!” is a chance to meet our Irvine police officers and get your public safety questions answered in a relaxed environment.

Kids are welcome! Stop by any time between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

WHAT: Coffee with a Cop!

WHERE: Starbucks in the Los Olivos Marketplace, 8539 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, California 92618.

WHEN: Thursday, November 8, 2018, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.  Join us at any time during this two-hour event.

WHO: This is a kid and family-friendly event. All ages are welcome!

COST: Free.

See the “Coffee with a Cop?” Facebook event page here.

Irvine Again is Safest City in America: Thank you Irvine Police!

Irvine, CA  — The city of Irvine has again been named the Safest City in America.

​Each year the FBI ranks the public safety levels of U.S. cities according to population and considers a number of factors including murder, rape, assault, burglary, arson and auto theft.  This is the 13th year in a row Irvine has held the top spot as America’s Safest City among cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

Irvine Chief of Police Mike Hamel said, “The safety of our City is truly a collaborative effort. The dedicated men and women of the Irvine Police Department work tirelessly every day to keep our community safe. Our residents and members of the business community partner with IPD to prevent and help solve crime. Our City leaders have always made public safety a top priority, ensuring IPD has the resources necessary to provide only the highest level of service to the public. It is this comprehensive effort that has allowed Irvine to preserve the safety and quality of life our residents have long enjoyed.”

Councilmember Melissa Fox said, “We are America’s safest city because the men and women of the Irvine Police Department continue to perform their duties at the very highest levels of professionalism and integrity.  Our community knows that our police officers treat everyone with fairness and respect, and are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our residents and defending the Constitution of our country.  Thank you, Irvine Police Department.”

For more information on programs and services provided by the Irvine Police Department, visit irvinepd.org.

To view the FBI report, visit http://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s.

 

I’m Proud to Honor Irvine and Anaheim Police Officers for Rescue of Missing 80-Year-Old Irvine Resident

It was recently my pleasure to present a Commendation from the Irvine City Council honoring the members of the Irvine Police Department and the Anaheim Police Department who went above and beyond the call of duty to rescue a missing 80-year-old Irvine resident.

On February 28, 2018, hundreds of Irvine police personnel from the Patrol Division, Detective Bureau, Community Response Team (CERT), and the Irvine Disaster Emergency Communications (IDEC) responded to the call of a missing 80-year-old Irvine resident who had walked away from a local market.

In collaboration with Anaheim Police Department, Police Officers Eric Grisotti and Jay Poland assisted in their police helicopter “Angel” searching for a heat source near where the missing elderly man was last seen.

The helicopter search was successful, and the Irvine resident was rescued 32 hours after the initial report was taken.

Irvine Police personnel and Orange County Fire Authority personnel provided medical attention to the elderly man who suffered minor injuries.

The Commendation from the Irvine City Council reads:

WHEREAS, on February 18, 2018, members of the Irvine Police Department’s Patrol Division, Detective Bureau, Community Emergency Response Team, CERT, and Irvine Disaster Communications (IDEC) responded to a search for an 8O-year-old missing Irvine resident with dementia, who walked away from a local grocery store; and

WHEREAS, working collaboratively to search neighborhoods, parks, and shopping centers, police personnel located video footage of the missing individual walking in a specific direction; and with the assistance of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), several hours of bus video was also reviewed, the search to the area in and around Tustin Station; and

WHEREAS, upon discovery of the missing individual’s shopping cart with groceries at 2:00 a.m. near the edge of a ravine, Irvine Police Department requested helicopter assistance through the Anaheim Police Department; and using Forward-Looking Infrared technology, Anaheim Police Officers Eric Grisotti and JayPoland scanned the dark ravine searching for a heat source; and

WHEREAS, and on the verge of hypothermia, the missing individual was located 32 hours after the initial report, rendered first aid by Irvine Police and Orange County Fire Authority personnel, and transported to the hospital with only minor injuries.

NOW THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Irvine DOES HEREBY COMMEND all the participating first responders for their dedication to duty, professionalism, and lifesaving efforts that resulted in the successful reunification of the missing Irvine resident with his family.

Thank you to our outstanding public safety team!