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Public Safety

  • Officials: Operation Hilltopper a success

    With her neatly-combed hair and nice smile, she certainly didn’t seem like a stone-cold killer.

    But that was the role high school student Katelyn Leslie was destined to play Monday morning during a town-wide emergency drill called “Operation Hilltopper.”  

    With the high school as a backdrop, Leslie and other students got to play villain and victim during an event that no one ever wants to see happen for real — a school shooting.

    “I guess I was picked because I was the least likely person they’d suspect,” she said. “I just waited for them (the police) in a conference room to find me, and then I’d have a shootout with them,” she said matter-of-factly.

    After an intense morning of watching Operation Hilltopper unfold, Phil Taylor, the emergency management coordinator for the Los Alamos County Office of Emergency Management, said the drill was worth the time and effort.

  • Police Beat 10-09-12

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Sept. 27

    2:25 p.m. –– Police arrested a 17-year-old juvenile on a charge of battery in the 1300 block of Diamond Drive.

    11:55 a.m. –– A 12-year-old boy reported to police he was a victim of a larceny. The amount was less than $250. The crime occurred at Hawk Drive.

    6:10 p.m. –– Charles Luster, 27 of Los Alamos was cited for having an animal making an “unreasonable amount” of noise in the 300 block of Ridgecrest Avenue.
    5:15 p.m. –– A 44-year-old Los Alamos female reported criminal damage to property in the 100 block of Casa Grande Drive. Damage was less than $1,000.

    4:59 p.m. –– A 14-year-old boy reported a larceny to police that occurred at 1300 block of Diamond Drive. The larceny was less than $250.

    Sept. 28

    11:15 a.m. –– A 14-year-old female was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery at 1300 Diamond Drive.

  • Teens attack bus stop

    Police responded to a bizarre vandalism incident recently involving a group of teens and a bus stop on San Ildefonso Road.

    According to the police report, a group of teens all dressed in black, including facemasks descended upon an Atomic Transit bus stop at San Ildefonso road and proceeded to smash the glass panels in.

    One of the teens climbed on top of the shelter and cracked one of the windows while another smashed a panel from the other side, according to a witness at the scene.

    But just as quickly as they appeared, the masked teens quickly vanished back into the surrounding neighborhood and haven’t been seen since.

    “I canvassed the neighborhood in the surrounding area in an attempt to locate them. I was unable to locate anyone matching the description given,” the responding officer said in a report about the incident.

    “We are not actively looking because we haven’t identified any suspects, but if we do get any information, we will be sure to follow up on it,” said Los Alamos Police Department’s Capt. Randy Foster.

    — Tristram DeRoma

  • Operation Hilltopper set for Monday

    Emergency first response organizations in Los Alamos County have, for the past year, been training their personnel, polishing their plans and tweaking their equipment in a comprehensive effort aimed at preparing to deal with a scenario that nobody hopes will ever arise — an active shooter loose at a school.

    Operation Hilltopper, scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Monday, is a full-scale exercise designed to test police, fire, emergency medical support, Los Alamos Medical Center and Los Alamos High School personnel and their abilities to adequately respond to just such an event.

    Toward that end, the Los Alamos County Office of Emergency Management is letting residents living in the vicinity of Los Alamos High School know that on the day of the exercise, from 8 a.m. to noon Monday they will see a significant number of emergency vehicles around the high school and the hospital.

    In addition, observers are likely to hear gunshots (only blanks, no live ammunition will be used) and even the screams of actors portraying victims.

    “We would also like to give residents an advanced heads-up regarding possible traffic delays, especially at the Canyon/Diamond intersection while this exercise is taking place,” the county said in its press release.

  • Problems found at peanut butter plant in 2010

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration found what it called "objectionable conditions" at a New Mexico peanut butter plant in 2010, two years before the current outbreak of salmonella poisoning linked to Trader Joe's peanut butter produced there.

    The FDA said Friday that a recent inspection found salmonella in the plant which produced Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter and many other nut butters and nut products for several large national grocery chains. The Trader Joe's peanut butter is now linked to 35 salmonella illnesses in 19 states — most of them in children under the age of 10.

    Though the illnesses have only been linked to the Trader Joe's peanut butter, New Mexico-based Sunland Inc. has recalled everything made in the plant since March of 2010 — a total of 240 products. The company last month recalled 101 products that were manufactured in the plant this year.

  • Doc: 'Never Seen' Meningitis Outbreak Like This

    A rare meningitis outbreak has infected 35 people in six states, health officials warn. All received steroid injections, a fairly typical treatment. One New York anesthesiologist says "It's the first time I've ever seen anything like this."

  • LAPD makes two drug arrests

    The Los Alamos County Police Department made two drug arrests last week as part of a ongoing investigation that stemmed back over a year ago, where several drug arrests were made due to subjects manufacturing and trafficking methamphetamine.

    Two females, Doe Chapman, 55, and Chliuyen “Cyd” Shockey, 38, both of Los Alamos, were arrested Sept. 26.

    Both were charged with trafficking methamphetamine, conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Shockey also had additional charges for possession of several different types of controlled medication without a prescription.

    Both females were arrested at separate locations simultaneously, while LAPD detectives and patrol officers moved quickly and obtained search warrants.

    LAPD Capt. Randy Foster said overall, approximately 47.7 grams of methamphetamine was seized, as well as $1,410 in cash. The price of methamphetamine can vary, however. The street value of the meth seized can go anywhere from $2,800 to $4,700 for that amount.

    “I am very proud of the hard work on this case by all officers and detectives that were involved. The results of their hard work will have a long lasting positive impact on this community,” Foster said.

  • LAFD rescues passengers from LANL elevator

    A group of passengers on an elevator in one of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s buildings had a thrilling end to a long day Monday when the elevator they were riding in started malfunctioning.
    In a report released by the Los Alamos Fire Department, the elevator went from the first floor to the third floor and repeated the action without stopping.
    It took about 20 minutes before the LAFD and LANL personnel took control of the situation by cutting the power to the malfunctioning elevator. That action turned on the elevator’s emergency automatic override, which made the elevator stop at a floor and open the doors. According to Fire Deputy Chief Justin Grider, no one was hurt in the incident.
    “They were able to exit unharmed, and everyone that was on the elevator left the building before we could interview them about what happened,” Grider said.
    The LAFD then turned the scene over to LANL’s security personnel.

  • Motorcyclist tries to flee police, crashes at intersection

    Sunday was not Tyler Webb’s day.

    Webb, 26, was driving down Diamond Drive on his 2000 Honda Interceptor motorcycle around 5 p.m., when a Los Alamos Police officer flagged him for going 49 mph in a 35 mph zone.

    However, the officer was traveling the opposite direction and could not turn around and pull him over. When another officer traveling the same way as Webb tried to pull him over, Webb sped off. Police did not give pursuit.

    “Chasing is very dangerous,” LAPD Capt. Randy Foster said. “We only chase someone when the danger outweighs the risk of chasing a suspect. A speeding ticket was definitely not a dangerous situation.”

    So the LAPD decided to let events run their course. They did not have to wait long.

    Webb, allegedly driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, crashed his motorcycle at the intersection of Jemez and Diamond.

    Webb apparently ran a red light at the intersection; narrowly missing a Los Alamos National Laboratory security vehicle traveling through the same intersection on a green light.

  • Smoke from prescribed burns may be seen in LA

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two national forests in New Mexico are planning prescribed fires this week that are designed to clear out hazardous fuels from hundreds of acres.

    Officials with the Santa Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico plan to treat more than 200 acres east of Santa Fe as long as the weather cooperates.

    The treatment is focused on improving the health of Santa Fe's watershed.

    Smoke will likely be visible from Santa Fe, Pecos, Los Alamos and as far south as Albuquerque.

    In southern New Mexico, Lincoln National Forest officials are planning to burn slash piles over a 470-acre area southwest of Glencoe.

    The Skillet 3 project is the first of several fuel reduction treatment scheduled on the Lincoln forest this fall.