Arrests Made in Child Death

Source: Citrus Heights Police Department  |  2016-12-01

On October 13, 2016, at approximately 5:30p.m., officers responded to the 8000 block of Auburn Blvd for a report of a two-year-old not breathing. Officers rendered medical aid until emergency medical personnel arrived. Medical personnel continued CPR and transported the child to the hospital where the child was pronounced deceased.

After a thorough investigation, numerous interviews, the collection and examination of evidence, it was determined the child did not die of natural causes. The investigation led detectives to have probable cause to believe the mother and live-in boyfriend were responsible for the child’s death.

On November 23, 2016, Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Rebecca Thomas and Taylor Montgomery-Gutzman. Both Rebecca Thomas and Taylor Montgomery-Gutzman were arrested and booked into the Sacramento County Jail for Murder.

The ongoing investigation will be forwarded to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.

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Todd Harms Sworn in as New Fire Chief

Source: Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-11-17

Harms has 35 years of public safety service and most recently spent nine years as an Executive Staff member for the Phoenix Fire Department.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Board of Directors will conduct a swearing-in ceremony at its regular meeting tonight for new Fire Chief Todd Harms. Following a national search, Harms was selected by the Board of Directors in August as the District’s sixth Fire Chief. He replaces Mark Wells, who, after 29 years of service in public safety and two years as Fire Chief, is retiring.

“I am truly honored to have this opportunity to lead Metro Fire,” said Harms. “I look forward to continually finding way to improve our service delivery, showing the communities we serve that Metro Fire is here every day of the year to solve their problems.”

Harms has 35 years of public safety service and most recently spent nine years as an Executive Staff member for the Phoenix Fire Department. He served as Assistant Chief of Operations, Assistant Chief of Personnel and the Training Division, with oversight of the Training Academy, Command Training Center, Special Operations, Emergency Medical Services, Technical Services, dispatch and the Regional 9-1-1 services.

Harms began his fire service career in 1981 as a Firefighter Paramedic in Peotone, Illinois. In 1987, he became a member of the Phoenix Fire Department. While there, he progressed through the ranks as a Firefighter, Paramedic, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief, Deputy Chief of Special Operations and Shift Commander. He also has been an Urban Search and Rescue team member, with deployments to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Harms holds a Bachelor's degree in Fire Service Management and is a past adjunct instructor at Phoenix College in the Fire Science Program.

“My career in the fire service was more rewarding than I ever expected,” said retiring Fire Chief Mark Wells. “I have been honored to serve this community for the last 29 years with the men and women of Metro Fire.”

Chief Wells started his fire service career with the Citrus Heights Fire District in 1987, and progressed through the ranks of Firefighter, Captain, Battalion Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief of Administration, becoming Fire Chief in 2014.

Key accomplishments during Wells’ tenure as Fire Chief include the successful negotiation of a new labor contract, the reopening of three closed fire companies, the implementation of a Joint Arson/Bomb Task Force with Sacramento County Sheriff, the development of a Residential Care Facility Inspection program, equipping all Metro Fire medic units with video laryngoscopes, power gurney systems and automatic chest compression devices, and the donation of two surplus medic units and one fire engine to local community colleges.

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Lawrence Sworn in As New Police Chief

By Elise Spleiss  |  2016-11-17

New Citrus Heights Police Chief Ron Lawrence (left) with wife Jennifer, and former police chief Christopher Boyd, now Citrus Heights city manager with wife, Marci. 
--Photo by Janet Shaefer

Ron Lawrence was sworn in as the second Citrus Heights police chief during the city council meeting on November 10, 2016. He was formerly the police chief of Rocklin, California.

The ceremony began with the presentation of colors by the Citrus Heights Police Honor Guard.  Lawrence, with his wife, Jennifer at his side was sworn in by former Citrus Heights police chief, Christopher Boyd. Boyd, who was accompanied by his wife, Marci is the new Citrus Heights city manager.

Following the swearing-in, the honor guard performed a special rifle salute welcoming Lawrence to his new job.

Lawrence then recognized Chad Butler, his replacement as Rocklin’s new chief of police, and admitted that it was hard at first to see someone else wearing ‘his’ uniform. Boyd then admitted it was also hard to see Lawrence in his old uniform, albeit not exactly the same size.

“Being police chief is a lifestyle” Lawrence said. He then presented his wife with a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses. He was accompanied to the event by his mother, two brothers and two children.

Surveying the room filled with friends, colleagues and the public, Lawrence joked that he didn’t know he had so many friends. He had worked with many in attendance. Police Chiefs and other representatives from more than a dozen California police jurisdictions were present including from the cities of Rocklin, Roseville, and Marysville to Walnut Creek, Emeryville, Gridley-Biggs and the California Highway Patrol. Over two dozen of Citrus Heights own finest were in attendance.

Lawrence commented this is “one of the most fantastic police departments I’ve ever seen” and a model in the state”. FBI records shows crime down almost 30% since its inception in June of 2006. His goal is to continue this trend.

According to a press release from PIO Lieutenant Russo, Lawrence began his official tenure as Citrus Heights’ second Chief of Police on October 31, 2016. Some of Chief Lawrence’s initial priorities include preparing for public safety challenges from the recent passing of Proposition 57 (Criminal sentences and Parole) and 64 (Marijuana Legalization).  He assures all that his department is ready.

Other priorities are to “focus on gearing-up property crime prevention and driving under the influence enforcement during the upcoming holiday season.”

In a previous media release quote Boyd said of Lawrence, “I have tremendous respect for Chief Lawrence as a law enforcement executive and know his standards in leadership, community service, and public safety will well lead the Citrus Heights Police Department into its next chapter.”     

Chief Lawrence has over twenty-seven years of law enforcement experience in the Sacramento and Bay Area regions, five in Rocklin. He has an excellent reputation with law enforcement professionals in the region and statewide.

Lawrence said, “I am honored to oversee the exceptional police department former Chief Christopher Boyd worked so hard to build. This opportunity is exciting for me both personally and professionally.  I am ready for a new challenge and am much looking forward to working alongside outstanding law enforcement professionals, that is, the men and women of the Citrus Heights Police Department.”

Source: Citrus Heights Police Department

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Early Morning Apartment Fire in the Arden Area

Source: Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-11-10

Just after 6:00am on November 5th, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to an apartment complex on the 3300 block of Edison Ave in the Arden area. First arriving crews reported fire coming from the upstairs unit of a 4-unit complex and immediately initiated fire attack. Multiple hoselines were brought inside the units, while additional crews searched for potential victims.

A total of twenty-five firefighters worked to extinguish the fire and ensured 16 occupants were safely evacuated. Firefighters also rescued a kitten, returning it to its owner; and recovered an urn with the ashes of loved one, returning them to another resident. Arson investigators responded to the scene; the cause is currently under investigation. Damage is estimated at $100,000. No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

Remember that smoke alarms do save lives. Make sure to test yours regularly and replace the batteries when you change your clocks.

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CHPD Make Special Delivery to Kids at Sayonara Center

Source: Citrus Heights Police Department  |  2016-11-04

The Citrus Heights Police Department received a donated basketball hoop from the Basketball Cop Foundation (#hoopsnotcrime). This foundation was founded by active duty Police Officer Bobby White from the Gainesville Florida Police Department. Officer White responded to a noise complaint of kids playing basketball in the street. When Officer White arrived on scene he talked with the kids and proceeded to play basketball with them.

The incident was captured on his in-car camera. The video went viral, attracting the attention of retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. Officer White told the kids he would return to play with them again and he would bring “back up”. When he returned, Shaquille O’Neal was the back-up.

A resident from Citrus Heights sponsored the basketball hoop to be donated to children in the city of Citrus Heights. The Citrus Heights Police Department looked into several different areas for the hoop to call home. It was finally decided to donate the hoop to the children at the Sayonara Center. This is an after-school program that helps 50-70 children from the surrounding neighborhood with school work and life skills. They delivered the hoop on September 28 to the kids at the Sayonara Center.

The center is located at 7861 Sayonara Drive in Citrus Heights.

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Eight Units Damaged in Apartment Fire, One Resident Injured

Source: Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-11-03

Six engines, three trucks, and four medics were involved in caring for the injured resident, extinguishing the fire, protecting the adjacent units, and saving residents’ personal belongings.

Just after 1 pm on October 30th, Metro Fire crews responding to an apartment fire at 1251 Fulton Avenue in the Arden area found heavy black smoke coming from a second story apartment. The fire, which had started in a bathroom, had already spread to the attic and an adjoining apartment.

Bystanders reported multiple victims, so three additional medic units were requested while firefighters initiated fire attack and began searching for victims. Crews searched and evacuated the involved units, ventilated the structure, and kept the fire from spreading to other units. One female victim was located and transported to the hospital with moderate injuries; there were no other victims from the fire.

A coordinated fire attack allowed firefighters to contain the fire to the two upstairs units. Two additional apartments sustained smoke damage, while four more sustained water damage. Six engines, three trucks, and four medics were involved in caring for the injured resident, extinguishing the fire, protecting the adjacent units, and saving residents’ personal belongings.  The residents of all eight units will be displaced; Red Cross was requested to assist them. No firefighters were injured in the fire. Updated damage estimate is $75,000, with the cause of the fire still under investigation.

Our hearts go out to the resident injured in this fire, and to all the families displaced. Please take a few extra steps to lower the risk of fire hurting your family or destroying your home: test your smoke alarms, keep space heaters at least three feet from anything combustible, use flameless candles whenever possible, and always dispose of your fireplace ashes in a metal container.

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CHPD Awarded Grant for Traffic Safety

Source: Anthony Boehle, Citrus Heights Police Department  |  2016-10-21

The Citrus Heights Police Department has been awarded a $145,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries. Citrus Heights Police Department will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education.

“I am proud of our continued partnership with the Office of Traffic Safety. It is because of our combined efforts we have seen success combating impaired driving in the City of Citrus Heights,” said Lieutenant Jason Russo. “CHPD is looking forward to seeing even greater success in reducing collisions through the use of innovative strategies into 2017.”

After falling to a ten year low in 2010, the number of persons killed has climbed nearly 17% across the state with 3,176 killed in 2015 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Particularly alarming is the six-year rise in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, along with the growing dangers of distracting technologies, and the emergence of drug-impaired driving as a major problem. This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as drunk driving, speeding and crashes at intersections.

“Years of research tell us that enforcement and education work best jointly to combat unsafe driving,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “This grant brings both tactics together, with the Office of Traffic Safety and the Citrus Heights Police Department working in concert to help keep the streets and highways safe across Citrus Heights and the state.”

Activities that the grant will fund include:

  • Educational presentations
  • DUI checkpoints
  • DUI saturation patrols
  • Motorcycle safety enforcement
  • Distracted driving enforcement
  • Seat belt and child safety seat enforcement
  • Speed, red light, and stop sign enforcement
  • Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders
  • Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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