Southern California breaking news and trends

Former LAPD reserve officer appointed to LAFD's Board of Fire Commissioners

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Los Angeles Fire Department

A former LAPD reserve officer was appointed to serve on the five-member civilian Board of Fire Commissioners.

A former reserve officer with the Los Angeles Police Department was one step closer today to securing a position on the Board of Fire Commissioners. 

Steve Fazio was confirmed by the Public Safety Committee. The Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to discuss his appointment on Tuesday. He would succeed Jill Furillo. The five-member civilian Board of Fire Commissioners is responsible for providing direction to the Los Angeles Fire Department. 

Fazio was a reserve officer from 1981 to 2011. He is a former president of the Brentwood Area Chamber of Commerce and was part of the effort to create the Westside Council of Chambers of Commerce. 

"I am confident that Steve Fazio will make an excellent addition to the Board of Fire Commissioners," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement announcing the appointment. “His 30 years of service as a reserve police officer demonstrates his commitment to public safety, and his consistent engagement in the local business community has shown that he has the aptitude to advance the goals of the Los Angeles Fire Department.”

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Fire Department data to be reviewed by task force

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Los Angeles Fire Department

A new task force will use LAFD's data to influence policy decisions.

Following months of questions about dispatch and response times, the Los Angeles Fire Department has established a task force to look at its data input.

The LAFD Task force on Information and Data Analysis includes representatives from RAND Corporation, USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering and the Los Angeles Police Department, which is known for its COMPSTAT data system. LAFD Assistant Chief Patrick Butler will head up the task force up. 

“This real time accurate information will enhance the leadership and policy decisions and allow our internal and external stakeholders to see and measure our performance, initiate discussion and dialogue, as well as develop and disseminate best practices throughout the department,” fire Chief Brian Cummings told the Board of Fire Commissioners.

Earlier this year, an initial assessment of LAFD's software systems found two tracking systems were generating different response times based on the same data inputs. At the time, the interim director of Statistical Analysis and Review said he did not have confidence in the department's numbers.

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City attorney, fire commissioners clash over LAFD's personnel files

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Fire commissioners told the City Attorney's Office today that blocking access to personnel files makes the civilian oversight panel irrelevant.

A fight over who runs the Los Angeles Fire Department and therefore who should have access to records containing confidential employee information erupted today at the Board of Fire Commissioners.

The Fire Commission’s independent assessor is responsible for auditing, assessing and reviewing the LAFD’s handling of complaints against sworn and civilian employees.  Last week, the man tasked with that job, Stephen Miller, told the Los Angeles Times he is being denied access to the records he needs. Miller appealed to the commission, noting that the city charter allows him to have the same access to information as the Board of Commissioners. 

That point set off a discussion on what commissioners are allowed to review. Pete Echeverria with the City Attorney’s Office told commissioners they cannot have unfettered access to personnel records because only the fire chief is responsible for disciplining employees.

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Fireworks watch: Day 2, more busts and check out our map!

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Festive fun or future inferno? LAFD says leave fireworks to the pro's this July 4th.

It's the day before the Fourth of July and police are at the climax of a crackdown on illegal fireworks in L.A. County. Tuesday morning brought word of a massive stash of explosives found in East L.A. Anyone living on the densely populated and shrubbery filled 700 block of South Kern Avenue should feel a little more at ease lighting a match. Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputies seized 2 tons of explosives from a shop there on Monday. 

Among the goods were fireworks called "Devil’s Thrill," which apparently looks like this.  “Triple Break Magnum Shells" and “Reapers Doom” explosives were also recovered. 

According to the sheriff's department, 34-year old Victor Nolasco, of East Los Angeles, was cited and released for possession of illegal fireworks. The property owner is also being investigated. 

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Fireworks watch: Day 1, big busts drain supplies, plus, how do you track this stuff?

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Festive fun or future inferno? LAFD says leave fireworks to the pro's this July 4th.

Yes, that time is upon us, when as soon as the sun goes down, shots ring out across LA's neighborhoods. Not gunshots (for the most part), but something acoustically similar: fireworks. Second-hand accounts and observations by this reporter suggest that people are already setting off firecrackers in Koreatown, Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Westlake. 

Meanwhile, police and firefighters around Los Angeles are hoping for a safe year in 2012. Previous years have seen injuries and property damage. For instance, according to the National Fire Protection Association, 15,500 fires started by fireworks in 2010 wreaked $36 million worth of property damage. That same year, emergency rooms treated 8,600 people for fireworks related injuries, almost half of them children under 15. LAFD says that with fireworks, as with many things in life, more often than not it's the bystander, not the instigator who gets hurt.  

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