Briefly In Public Safety

Workman appointed as police chief

Interim Police Chief Paul Workman has been appointed permanent chief for the city of Laguna Beach, City Manager Ken Frank announced late Wednesday.

“Since April of this year Paul Workman has been serving as interim police chief for the city of Laguna Beach. Previously he had been a captain for 15 years. He has worked approximately 30 years as an officer with the Laguna Beach Police Department and currently resides in Laguna Beach," Frank stated.

“Effective immediately I am appointing Paul Workman as permanent police chief."


Frank pointed to “substantial accomplishments" during Workman’s first eight months on the job:

?A reorganization under which new lieutenants have been selected to assist in the management of the department and shift lieutenants have been appointed to provide greater accountability and supervision at peak periods of police activity;

?Arrests of approximately a dozen suspects involved in jewelry store robberies in Tustin and Laguna Beach. “This excellent cooperative investigation effort has solved gang related robberies in the South Orange County/San Diego area," Frank said.

?Arrest of a suspect in the murder of Damon Nicholson. “The alleged perpetrator is in custody as a result of thorough work by Laguna Beach detectives," Frank said.


?Frank credited Workman with initiating a crackdown on people camping at Main Beach and Heisler Park.

“The intense police activity, coupled with the initiation of a temporary homeless shelter and the enactment of several ordinances to prohibit obnoxious behavior, have all combined to return Heisler Park and Main Beach to the general public," Frank said. “While many city officials, county officials and representatives of local nonprofits were instrumental in combining efforts to reduce the nuisance activities in our parks, our police employees have participated actively in helping reach a reasonable conclusion."

Bank refuses forged checks written in L.A.

A Laguna Beach resident was the victim of check fraud, but did not lose any money.

Two fraudulent checks on the victim’s account were refused by a bank after being written for a total of about $6,200 at two different Best Buy stores in the Los Angeles area, Laguna Beach Police Lt. Jason Kravetz said.

The check fraud was reported to Laguna Beach police at 12:49 p.m. Nov. 19.

Stolen take-out meal lands man in jail

Christopher Carl Barnett, a 50-year-old homeless man, was arrested on suspicion of burglary after walking into Johnny Rockets and allegedly stealing a bag of food at 5:24 p.m. Nov. 19, Kravetz said.


The suspect allegedly took the bag from the take-out area; the bag contained a grilled cheese sandwich and a salad that totaled $9.91.

Officers found Barnett in the 200 block of Forest Avenue eating the food, Kravetz said.

Barnett was booked at the police station and taken to Orange County Jail, where he was held on $20,000 bail.

Melee at party causes $1,800 in damage

Crashers at a teen party led to a street fight involving numerous juveniles at 9:57 p.m. Nov. 20 in the 500 block of Diamond Street, Kravetz said.

Officers were called to the scene on a report of a large fight in progress and arrived to find 50 to 60 juveniles in the street, Kravetz said. The officers were told that a 16-year-old was having a party when party crashers showed up and were denied entry.

A fist fight between multiple people ensued. Sometime during the fight, all the front windows of the house were shattered, about $1,800 worth of damage, Kravetz said.

After police arrived, the suspected combatants all fled the area, but a 15-year-old boy turned up at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach with lacerations all over an arm, Kravetz said.


Officers routed the party and noted there was alcohol in the residence. The owner of the house was contacted, and a crime report was taken for vandalism to the shrubbery and windows.

Burglar steals from antique store shed

Laguna Beach Police are seeking a suspect who stole $6,000 worth of items from an antique store in the 300 block of North Coast Highway at 4:02 a.m. Sunday, Kravetz said.

The property was stolen from a shed on the property.

A citizen heard the crime in progress and called police, but the suspect fled in a car while the call was being made, Kravetz said.