Pasadena Police Department changes daily procedures to keep officers and community safe


At 4 a.m. Pasadena Police Corporal Cristian Allen prepares for the arrival of the first shift.  

He wears a mask, gloves and has a table set up with infrared thermometers, alcohol wipes, and hand sanitizer for anyone who needs some.  

With a quick flick of the wrist, Corporal Allen is able to take the temperatures of the officers, quickly alerting him if they can head out into the field.  

It’s either a pass or officers are sent home to isolate, self-monitor, or referred to a medical center for testing depending on symptoms.

On this Monday morning, everyone passes, and officers make their way into the field.  

Pasadena Police Corporal Cristian Allen uses a thermometer to check his temperature at the Pasadena Police Department at the beginning of his shift on Monday, April 13, 2020. (photo by James Carbone)

As COVID-19 continues to tremor through California and the rest of the world, Pasadena PD steps up and launches its new procedural process that will keep its team and community as safe as possible.  

In the last month, the Pasadena PD has restructured its shifts, going from three shifts to two to have larger patrols cover day and night –while eliminating the mid-shift.  

Temperature taking is now a part of getting ready for work, along with gloves and having a mask.  

Pasadena PD has redeployed many officers from specialized assignments taking officers from the Traffic Section, Community Services, and Detective and placed them back into Patrol or on desk assignment to assist with phone reporting. This role has been revamped to help with social distancing, allowing dispatchers to screen calls to ensure that police resources are utilized in a manner that limits the possibility of exposure to community members and officers in the field.  

“Let’s say someone calls to report their vehicle as stolen. They call and report to dispatch like normal, our dispatchers will screen the call, and after obtaining some information, they determine if a field officer should respond or if its something they can send over to a desk officer.  The desk officer will speak to the caller and obtain all the information needed to complete their report asking all the necessary investigatory questions that an officer would on the scene,” explains Allen. “This is just one preventative step that was put into place because of the need to socially distance.”

Covid-19 signs are posted throughout the Pasadena Police Department to remind the staff about cleanliness and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday, April 13, 2020. (photo by James Carbone)

The Department’s Dispatch team has also added a series of COVID-19 questions to ask when a call comes, including if they’ve traveled recently and if they’ve been around anyone sick the last few weeks.  

This helps officers prepare the protective equipment they may need before arriving at a call, according to Allen.  

In the last month, the Pasadena PD has also closed its lobby, and community members have been asked to make an appointment if they need to  speak with someone in person. The department has also brought in a company called Steri-Clean, to sanitize and disinfectant all police cars.  

Each new procedure has been set in place to help keep employees from exposure and infection as the City continues to try and protect and serve the community during the pandemic.  

“It is important the Police Department take all necessary precautions to try and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Chief John Perez.  “The sooner we implement the essential protocols for limiting exposure and transmission of the virus, the better shot we have at keeping our employees from being infected. Developing these procedures has been challenging, primarily because we are learning as we go. However, the lessons we have learned throughout this process will make us a better police department for the future.” 

Infrared thermometers are now used to check the temperature of Pasadena Police Officers and employees at the Pasadena Police Department at the beginning of their shift during the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday, April 13, 2020. (photo by James Carbone)