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Cable Show Tunes in to Crime : Safety: Glendora's 'The Police Report' gives overview of recent crimes, offers prevention tips and seeks public's help to solve cases.

October 27, 1994|LISA O'NEILL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's not exactly "America's Most Wanted."

But once a month, Glendora Police Officer Brian Summers heads over to the local Cablevision studio to powder his face, assume Peter Jennings' posture and tape "The Police Report," a 30-minute public access show that will air repeatedly throughout the next month.

Sitting at a bare table and reading his script from papers in front of him, Summers bemoans the lack of a TelePrompTer while his cameraman, Sgt. Al Wadham, admonishes him to "sparkle. Sparkle."

Summers, decked out in police uniform, gives an overview of recent crimes, offers crime prevention tips and asks for the public's help with unsolved crimes during "Crime Stoppers Crime of the Month."

Summers, 34, Glendora's crime prevention and public information officer, has been taping "The Police Report" since January.

Fame? Of a sort. At neighborhood watch meetings, he said, he is often approached by residents who ask him: "Where do I know you from?"

He has fumbled over his wording and sweated through take after take to get it right. In addition, Summers must broadcast through dimming lights in a freezing studio. "I bet Paul Moyer doesn't have to put up with this," Summers quips.

Of Glendora's 17,000 homes, about 8,000 get Cablevision. Ratings are not tracked and it's difficult to say how many residents actually watch the show. Many Glendorans discover the show by accident, Summers said.

The concept of using cable television as a way to reach residents and warn them about crime is not a new one. Oxnard Police Department was the first department in the country to produce such a show nine years ago, said David Keith, Oxnard Police Department community affairs manager. Since then, Keith said, he has received 450 calls from police departments in the United States and Canada interested in starting their own shows. Oxnard's show is broadcast live every Monday night and 5,000 to 8,000 people watch every week, Keith said.

Wadham said the department hoped that the show would evolve into a more frequent production but lacked the time.

Locally, Monterey Park Police and Walnut sheriff's substation are among other agencies using cable television as a crime-fighting tool. Officer Roberta Villa, who hosts Monterey Park's show, "Monterey Park Police Department and the Community," said the department only recently aired its second show.

In Walnut, Deputy Frank Girard does a regular three- to five-minute segment for the city program "A Week in Walnut." He's been doing the show for about a year and said he has received positive responses from residents.

"The Police Report" airs on Thursdays at 7 p.m. before the City Council reruns and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. on Cablevision.

"Monterey Park Police Department and the Community" airs on Fridays at 3 p.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on Crown Cable.

"A Week in Walnut" airs Tuesdays through Sundays at 7 a.m., 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Walnut Community Cable.

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