HomeCity NewsIncontro Praises San Marino Officers, Promotes Home Safety

Incontro Praises San Marino Officers, Promotes Home Safety

Appearing recently at the monthly City Club Zoom meeting, Police Chief John Incontro introduced three officers who have stepped up in rank, and briefed club members on the ways the department is working to solve burglaries through technology.

With Cmdr. Timothy Tebbetts retiring after 22 years this week, Incontro kicked off the meeting on May 9 by announcing the promotions of Nia Hernandez, Frank Calistro and Naved Qureshi.

Hernandez, who has been promoted to corporal, will join SMPD’s first line supervision. In her new role, she will assist sergeants in the field. She has been with the department for several years, having previously served with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as an assistant city clerk.

Last week, Hernandez also graduated with a Master of Public Administration degree from USC.

“She did that all while being pregnant and having a baby and working for us full time as a detective,” Incontro said of Hernandez. “Nia is going to be an outstanding addition to our patrol force as a corporal.”

Hernandez, who appeared at the remote meeting with her children by her side, said she is ready to continue her service.

“I’m looking forward to better assisting the community and being here to help you all,” she said.

Meanwhile, Calistro is moving up from corporal to sergeant. He has served 18 years with SMPD since first joining as a cadet. While still in training, Calistro was going to law school but ultimately chose to follow his passion.

“When he graduated from law school, he made the decision that becoming a police officer is the best thing for him and that’s what his true calling is,” Incontro said.

Incontro praised Calistro for spearheading a bicycle patrol unit. Calistro found funding to support the formation of the unit, obtain the bikes they would ride, and identified training for those patrolling — all of which he did to provide opportunities to others.

“He wanted others in the department to have an opportunity to ride these bikes and be in the field on these bikes,” Incontro said of Calistro. “That selflessness really struck a chord with me, and he is that kind of a leader — he’s what I would call a servant leader.”

Qureshi, who has been with the department for a little more than a decade, will assume the role of commander. He previously served the city of Upland in capacities including criminalist, investigating physical evidence.

“Naved has moved forward and quickly through the department,” Incontro said. “I’m honored that I’ve been able to promote everybody who is a corporal and above in the department since I’ve been here, and Naved has really shown strong leadership skills.”

Incontro said he recognized Qureshi’s leadership potential a few years ago, when he attended the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute and “showed his interest, desire and a strong, strong skill set in being a leader.”

“He is a quiet leader, who leads by example and is dedicated to the officers and the city of San Marino,” Incontro said of Qureshi. “I’m extremely honored and pleased to have promoted him. He’s already gotten a star on his collar and we’re giving him a lot of work already.”

The single star emblazoned on Qureshi’s uniform represents his rank as commander.

Qureshi said he’s looking forward to engaging with the community and “making our department and the community a better place.”

Incontro said one of his duties that he takes much pride in is making these kinds of promotions.

“I really do feel good and honored to have all these folks working for us,” he said.

Incontro then discussed crime. Burglaries in particular have been a concern within the community, with SMPD observing an uptick.

Incontro gave the example of a recent incident regarding an individual who came into Colonial Kitchen and stole the cash register off the counter. Through technology, including the SMPD’s Flock Safety cameras, and with help from other city departments, he said they now believe they know where this person lives and plan to apprehend the suspect.

Incontro said the use of technology has been very beneficial to the department. There are 40 Flock Safety cameras throughout the city. He also said officers are being trained to collect DNA and fingerprints on occasions when the Pasadena criminalist is not available.

The trend of “burglary tourists” from South America are a problem, Incontro noted, and while the department has had related crimes in the past, there are few such cases in San Marino.

In most burglaries, SMPD has encountered suspects who will look around the neighborhood to see if there are unoccupied homes, watching out for any signs of people being inside. Lights turned on, noise and cars parked in the driveway are all indicators that may deter a criminal from trying to enter a home.

“If the house looks lived in, they will go on to a different place,” said Incontro, who added that suspects also keep an eye out for cameras and alarm systems to avoid.

On the other hand, Incontro said, residents should be aware that burglars frequently attempt to enter homes through the rear of a property. He urged homeowners to avoid leaving ladders near the exterior of the house, because the second floor of a home is also a go-to entry point for criminals.

Many homes have first-floor alarms, motion sensors and glass breakage sensors. Incontro encouraged residents to consider installing the same level of protection on the second floor, especially in the back of the house.

“We found that people who have alarms that are being used and do sound when someone breaks a window or enters the home, the suspects are there for a very short period of time, if they even go inside,” Incontro said. “When a window is broken, if there’s no alarm activated when they enter the property, they will stay for quite some time.”

Criminals will then search for things they can take right away, Incontro warned. Jewelry, small electronics and luxury designer handbags especially have been a target. Purses are likely to be sold on online reseller websites, which the fire chief said are searched as part of an investigation on handbag theft.

Keeping the serial numbers of belongings like purses, as well as photos, are ways people can “take the time to keep your property,” Incontro said. It helps the police locate the stolen goods.

Safes are also items burglars seek. Incontro said the best way to keep them from being taken is to make sure they are bolted down to the floor and wall, just like he has done at his home.

“If you leave it unsecured, they will pick it up, bag it or on some of the flimsy safes … they will simply use a pry bar,” he said.

After burglaries occur, the SMPD will knock on the neighbor’s door to check for witnesses or see if they might have other information, like home security camera footage that might capture the crime itself or license plate numbers.

“Through our Flock cameras, we do checks and we are able to find the license plate,” said Incontro, noting that SMPD can exchange Flock camera information with neighboring cities like Alhambra, Arcadia, Pasadena, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre to help expand the search for a vehicle suspected in a burglary.

The Flock camera system also has the capability of notifying officers if a particular license plate has been repeatedly detected in the city, and where that vehicle enters and leaves the city.

Though Incontro said clusters of crime occur every now and then, there are no definitive clusters of crime or time pattern. Regardless, he asks residents to remember that Fridays and Saturdays tend to be the days with the most opportunities for burglars to strike.

SMPD checks this data every day and creates a map for officers, said Incontro, who added: “We want to assure people that we are being very diligent in our investigations.”

First published in the May 16 issue of the San Marino Tribune


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