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How LA County’s Largest Women’s Facility Is Successfully Combating COVID-19 In the Jail 150 150 SIB Staff

How LA County’s Largest Women’s Facility Is Successfully Combating COVID-19 In the Jail

Century Regional Detention Facility is the largest women’s jail facility in Los Angeles County and has been able to keep the exposure of the COVID-19 virus to both inmates and staff to just below double digits. How are we able to do this? Watch the video below as CRDF Captain Angela Walton and Assistant Director Dr. Melissa Kelley explain to Spectrum News 1 the precautions and protocols they are taking daily to keep the inmates and staff safe, and the COVID-19 virus out of the jail.  #COVID-19

Sheriff Villanueva’s Weekly Press Briefing 1024 819 SIB Staff

Sheriff Villanueva’s Weekly Press Briefing

As we continue working together through the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department staff continue striving to keep the public informed through weekly press conferences, and regularly updating statistics and data on our website, found at

During his weekly virtual press conference on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, livestreamed from the Sherman Block Building, Sheriff Alex Villanueva thanked Los Angeles County residents for their efforts to help protect our personnel from potential COVID-19 exposure.  Because of the nature of law enforcement, there is always a risk of coming in contact with someone who is infected.  Advising desk staff during requests for service if anyone at the location is ill or displaying signs of the virus, filing applicable reports online, and wearing personal protective equipment gives deputies the opportunity to be aware of the circumstances, and helps keep them from becoming ill or transferring sickness to others.

Since inception of the current health crisis, a total of 1,697 personnel were affected by COVID-19, of whom 1,152 were sworn and 545 were civilian staff; there were 189 cases of personnel who tested positive for the virus, of whom 138 were sworn and 51 were civilian staff.  Currently, there are 585 personnel quarantined, of whom 433 are sworn and 152 are civilian staff; there are 51 employees identified as high-risk, of whom 14 are sworn and 37 are civilian staff.  On the positive side, there were 1,049 employees returned to work, 694 of them sworn and 355 civilian personnel. 

The Sheriff pointed out the numbers average one employee quarantined out of every 18, some of them being quarantined twice because of the large and constant risk of exposure in the patrol and custody environments.  He praised their work and willingness to return, despite the risks.  “We have this issue,” said the Sheriff, “that we’re going to be continually exposed to the COVID-19 virus, but that doesn’t mean the job stops.  We are going to continue working.”

Sworn, civilian and medical staff worked diligently to keep a lid on COVID-19 inside our jail facilities.  Correctional Health Services medical staff and/or Department of Public Health employees hold the authority to designate an isolation of an inmate or quarantine of a housing area.  There are 5,145 inmates currently quarantined, 252 current inmates who tested positive, and 337 inmates isolated.

Overall, violent crimes are down by 7%, as compared to the same time last year; criminal homicides are up by 7% and rape reporting dropped 30%.  Property crimes fell by 7%, and, since Sunday, March 29, 2020, there were four COVID-19 arrests made and 73 citations issued. 

Yesterday, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Sheriff Villanueva testified on the introduction of Assembly Bill 2655, known as AB-2655 for short, and the amendment of California Penal Code 1524, or 1524 P.C.  The passing of AB-2655 would create new penal code section 647.9, which would make it misdemeanor-level crime for first responders to capture the image of a deceased person or portion of their body for any purpose, other than official law enforcement business or the welfare of the general public, by means such as a camera or mobile phone.  Whether the device is their personal equipment or it belongs to their employing agency, using it to capture the images with the intent to invade the person’s privacy, would be punishable by a fine not exceeding $5,000 per violation, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or both. 

The already-existing 1524 P.C. would be amended to reflect authorization of a search warrant to be issued when the property or things to be seized consist of evidence which tend to show a violation of 647.9 P.C. occurred or is occurring.

Lastly, Sheriff Villanueva introduced Mr. Alexander Algar and presented him with the Department’s prestigious and well-deserved Humanitarian Award.  It was on Friday, May 1, 2020, that Alexander helped foil the kidnapping of a six-year-old boy in a Westlake Village Park.  Instead of deciding a situation was not his business or waiting for someone else to do something, Alexander took action when two total strangers needed help right away. 

The hero was enjoying an afternoon in the park when he heard the sound of voices arguing, and saw a man chase a woman and a little boy.  From hearing the yelling and seeing their demeanor, Alexander sensed it was a sinister situation.  The suspect wrenched the little boy out of his mother’s grasp, tucked him under his arm, and walked about 100 feet away with him.  The desperate woman fought against the kidnapper and struggled to get her boy back.  Neighborhood residents yelled for the suspect to let go, but it was Alexander who caused the boy’s release.  Despite the danger to his own safety, Alexander went to the defense of the woman and the little one.  He ran after the fleeing suspect and engaged him in a physical confrontation, in an attempt to gain control of the young victim.  The suspect released the boy and walked away; the neighborhood residents surrounded and detained him until Malibu/Lost Hills Station deputies arrived.  Because of Alexander’s actions, as well as the concerned neighbors, a very thankful woman got to take her son home that day.  Thank you for what you did together to keep our communities safe and safeguard our children!

View this story and watch the press conference below:




On Monday, April 20, 2020, Sheriff Alex Villanueva started his weekly press briefing by offering his condolences to those that have been affected by the COVID-19 virus. He shared that his own niece is in quarantine as a result of exposure to the virus and the department has now two Custody Assistants in the ICU on ventilators. Over 600 people have now lost their lives in Los Angeles County and the Sheriff stressed the importance of physical distance, hand washing, and wearing a face covering to help during this fight.

Sheriff Villanueva expressed his gratitude to the public safety personnel, medical professionals, grocery workers, transportation professionals, and those performing jobs which are vital during this difficult time. He proceeded to share the latest crime statistics and compared to last year, violent crimes are down by 10%; homicide is down by 21%; rape is down by 29% and property crime is down by over 11%. There has been one COVID-19 related arrest and 30 citations issued since the Governor mandated the stay at home order on March 29, 2020. Sadly, domestic violence-related calls have increased. Last year during this time, there were 863 calls and this year, the number has gone up to 933. Sheriff Villanueva urged the public to call 911 if they see or hear indications of domestic violence.

Villanueva moved on to speak about COVID-19 statistics in the department. A total of 307 sworn and professional staff are on quarantine; 51 have tested positive; and 543 are back to work. A total of 1,724 inmates are quarantined; 64 are in isolation; 26 have tested positive and 7 have fully recovered and are back with the inmate population. Sheriff Villanueva noted that now two negative testes are required in order to protect employees as well as inmates.

The next topic on the agenda was budget. The Sheriff made it known that despite tragic events such as the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash and the Saugus High School shooting, the department estimates that this fiscal year, it will spend $11 million dollars less than last year in overtime. He announced that several months ago, a portion of the LASD budget was frozen and those funds are needed in order to continue operating properly and without compromising the safety of the community. He gave several examples of why the release of funds is imperative. He shared that there is a fleet of approximately 300 new patrol cars parked and collecting dust and they need to be equipped with computers and emergency equipment. The COVID-9 pandemic has resulted in an increased in expenses such as more cleaning and hygiene supplies for jails, which was not previously budgeted for. Other essential supplies that will be affected are rape kits, which are an absolute necessity to protect one of the most vulnerable of all, victims of sexual assault. The process for gathering evidence and submitting DNA to a lab requires supplies and those supplies are low so the need is critical.

Other police agencies within Los Angeles County contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to help provide services to the residents that they serve, such as testing DNA and rape kits in a laboratory, or using one of the few rescue helicopters that are operational to save lives of stranded citizens in the mountains or sea. Sheriff Villanueva shared the importance and the high cost of operating rescue helicopters which are used to save lives of hikers and nature lovers that get stranded or injured. He emphasized that access to these funds would allow the department to continue providing the basic necessary safety services for the community we serve and operational needs for the department.  

Wearing A Face Covering Is Now Law. 900 900 SIB Staff

Wearing A Face Covering Is Now Law.


A public health order requiring masks or face coverings for employees at essential businesses dealing with the public is now in effect in Los Angeles County. Any customer of an essential business will also be required to wear cloth face coverings to enter.

Business owners that are operating an essential business in LA County are required to provide cloth face coverings to their employees, as well as post any physical distancing plans for the public to see on the interior and exterior of their business.

A face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

Children under the age of 2 (including infants) should not wear cloth face coverings. Those between the ages of 2 and 8 should use them but under adult supervision to ensure that the child can breathe safely and avoid choking or suffocation. Children with breathing problems should not wear a face covering.

The best defense against COVID-19 is to wash our hands frequently, avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth. However, face masks are an additional tool that can protect others from possible exposure to respiratory droplets that may come from our mouth when we talk, sneeze, or cough. 

Protect yourself and protect others by practicing physical distance and wearing face masks when you’re outside in public. 

For updates regarding COVID-19, please visit or

Close up of hands worning on a Sewing machine.
Inmates Use Pedal Power to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 774 396 SIB Staff

Inmates Use Pedal Power to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Inmates Use Pedal Power to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

When COVID-19 entered the picture, immediate consideration was taken for our vulnerable custody environment, which holds not just our inmate population, but thousands of sworn and civilian personnel, and medical staff.  With roughly 17,000 inmates cycling through seven custody facilities and thousands of employees interacting with them, immediate action was necessary to protect the health of all. 

Custody Assistant Sue Tupper is the sewing instructor who oversees the Century Regional Detention Center (CRDF) sewing program.  She teaches interested females housed there to imagine, cut and follow sewing patterns, and create things which are not just useful, but detailed, functional and pretty. Officer Tupper explains the differences between the English and metric measuring systems, defines various sewing terms, demonstrates the use of different applications, and outlines the different kinds of sewing machines and their capabilities. 

Deputy Christine Badaracco, assigned to North County Correctional Facility (NCCF), oversees the male inmates in the sewing shop where they produce all the inmate uniforms for the Department.  They have one sewing instructor and more than 280 sewing machines.  The men sew clothes but also mend various Department assets to keep them in good shape and extend their use, and create new pieces of equipment, like holster bags.  Some of the more experienced men learn upholstery and other specialty work, which can be useful and even lucrative on the outside, such as custom items, custom-covered furniture, boat canopies, and car covers.  Their goal is to teach the inmates a valuable vocation as a skill for life, so they can find work on the outside, make money to support themselves and, hopefully, not return to jail.

When COVID-19 began to affect the jail system, Deputy Badaracco and Officer Tupper took the health crisis as an opportunity to do something good with benefits, which came two-fold.  On Friday, March 27, 2020, Officer Tupper crafted a prototype fabric face mask and taught inmates how to sew them, too.  That day, they made 33 of them.  In a short time, the creations increased in numbers, and became helpful precautions against spreading the virus through droplets from sneezes, coughs and everyday speech.  Employees and inmates who wear them are slowing the spread, and inmate-students who made them learned a new and beneficial project. 

The masks were initially created for CRDF inmate workers with assignments as trustees and kitchen workers.  Now, the majority of women there have a mask, with the goal of providing each inmate within our jail system with at least two masks.  When an inmate is released, they may keep their mask, to encourage them to practice personal safety measures.  So far, the women created more than 1,200 masks and continue to produce them, cranking out an impressive 100 pieces in an eight-hour shift! 

An average of ten females are assisting Officer Tupper in the production, alongside a half-dozen staff who help speed production by preparing the material and cutting it into patterns.  Whether inmate or employee, everyone involved in the mask project sees this as a basic human need and takes great pride in participating.  The project grew so much in popularity, inmates are waiting to be selected to help!

Officer Tupper puts her heart into her work and teaches with an earnest desire to see her pupils’ success.  “You put your best foot forward so that, if even one person makes it, it was worth it,” she said.

The CRDF sewing shop has five industrial sewing machines and ten domestic machines, which were donated.  The material also comes from donations or from scraps from the North County Correctional Facility (NCCF) sewing shop, where they produce the inmate uniforms.  Since Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the CRDF mask-producing enterprise was in conjunction with male inmates at NCCF. 

Deputy Christine Badaracco and vocation instructors at NCCF have trained 15 inmates to put the pattern pieces together and sew them into a complete product.  With a staff of five, they work side-by-side with inmates in a fluid production line:  Cut material into squares, fold three pleats and baste, heat-press the pleats, sew the edges with bias tape to create tie-strings, snip to separate, and box them up.  Because there is no elastic in the masks and they don’t stretch, they are crafted into two different sizes to accommodate large and small faces.  The favored material at that facility for making masks is the brown material used to sew clothes for inmates housed in the medical ward because it is softer.  So far, they made more than 3,000 and are making more every day. The men, who normally sew clothing, enjoy the change of pace in making something different, and like the sense that they are contributing to others’ health and wellness.

Personnel assigned to Custody Division were given N95 masks and are using them if they do not have a surgical, dust or fabric masks.  The hand-crafted masks will be made available to staff, as well, but not until all inmates have a mask or have access to one.

Before the mask movement, male inmates in the NCCF sewing shop learned their sewing skills on the heavier-duty material to keep the jail population clothed.  Female inmates in the CDRF sewing shop used the heavier-duty material from the inmate uniforms to create tote-bags for wheelchairs, walkers and crutches.  More delicate material was used to make quilts and stuffed toys; the tote-bags, quilts and toys were donated to a variety of outlets, including children participating in the 999 for Kids program and the Special Olympics.

As each facility is unique, so may be their circumstances.  Although there are 75 inmate-students at NCCF, no more will be trained to sew masks, as staff wish to avoid compromising the others from becoming ill or infected.  For now, though, we press forward together for the wellness and betterment of all, and hope for a quick ending to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women’s History Month 768 960 SIB Staff

Women’s History Month

Today we would like to recognize #LASD Assistant Sheriff Limon, thank you for your hard work and dedication to our Department. #womenshistorymonth

Assistant Sheriff (A/S) Limon graduated from the Academy in 1989 and began her LASD career as a Line Deputy at Sybil Brand Institute for Women. In 1991, she transferred to Transportation Bureau where she was assigned as a bus driver.

In 1995, A/S Limon transferred to Norwalk Station (NWK). During her tenure at NWK, she worked as a Patrol Deputy, Field Training Officer and a member of the COPS team. In 1999, A/S Limon promoted to Detective at Major Crimes Bureau, where she worked the Major Crimes Vice & Gaming Unit.

In 2001, A/S Limon was promoted to Sergeant. She served as a Line Sergeant at both North County Correctional Facility and Inmate Reception Center until moving to Pico Rivera Station in 2003 as a Field Sergeant and Watch Sergeant. In 2008, she moved to Emergency Operations Bureau as a Sergeant for the Tactical Planning Unit.

In 2010, A/S Limon promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to Men’s Central Jail as the Watch Commander and Risk Management Lieutenant. A/S Limon transferred to Court Services Division where she served as an Area Lieutenant and Operations Lieutenant for Court Services East Bureau and an Area Lieutenant for Central Bureau. In 2015, A/S Limon returned to NWK station. While assigned there, A/S Limon served as a Watch Commander and the Whittier Service Area Lieutenant.

In December 2018, she was selected by Sheriff Alex Villanueva and promoted to the rank of Chief, where she was charged with overseeing Court Services Division. In early 2019 she promoted again, to the rank of Assistant Sheriff. In her current role, she oversees Countywide Operations, which includes Court Services, Special Operations, Countywide Services, Technology & Support Division, and Detective Division.

A/S Limon has received numerous awards and commendations over her career for her dedication to the Department and hard work displayed in the communities of Los Angeles County.

A/S Limon has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Whittier College and a Master’s Degree in Emergency Services Management from California State University, Long Beach.

Captain Tonya P. Edwards 819 1024 SIB Staff

Captain Tonya P. Edwards

Captain Tonya P. Edwards is a 31-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, beginning her career in 1988. After graduating from the Academy, she worked at Sybil Brand Institute (SBI). Nine years of patrol began with training at Firestone Station, and later at Lynwood Station where she worked on bicycle patrol. She helped open Century Station in 1994, and later became a Field Training Officer. She transferred to Industry Station, where she worked patrol, Youth Activities League (YAL), and C.O.P.S. She left patrol in 1999 and worked as a Gang Enforcement Team (GET) deputy at Safe Streets Bureau, then she spent the next four years as a detective at Narcotics Bureau. In 2005, she promoted to sergeant and worked Custody at PDC – North/South. She transferred to Patrol at Norwalk Station and was later assigned to Safe Streets Bureau – OSS Detectives, where she was part of the Monrovia/Duarte Gang Task Force, and also worked as an OSS Detective at Compton and Carson Stations.

In 2010, she was promoted to lieutenant and worked watch commander at Men’s Central Jail, then Crescenta Valley/Altadena, and San Dimas Stations. She also worked at Century Station Patrol in Operations and at Custody Support Services (CSS) as the Division Compliance Lieutenant, then at Men’s Central Jail in Operations, and as an Executive Aide to the Custody Division Assistant Sheriff, Mr. Robert J. Olmsted and Bruce D. Chase.

In 2016, during Captain Edwards’ assignment at CSS, she was given the Custody Training Officer (CTO) and Probationary Employee training project, which sought bonus status and a 5.5% pay increase for custody training personnel. She also oversaw the revamp of the entire Custody Division training curriculum for newly assigned deputies, including the approval of a new database to assist with the probationary employees and their training.

Captain Edwards holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Long Beach State University in Occupational Studies, and a Master’s Degree from National University in Public Administration, and she is certified fluent in Spanish.

Captain Edwards will participate in the 2020 Police Unity Tour in Washington DC, and also enjoys snow skiing and weight lifting. Thank you for your years of dedication to our Department. #blackhistorymonth

LASD Department Statement 150 150 SIB Staff

LASD Department Statement

The Sheriff’s Department is aware of recent media reports alleging deputies shared images from the January 26th, 2020 helicopter crash, which tragically claimed the lives of nine people. The facts surrounding these allegations are currently under investigation, as are the effectiveness of existing policies and procedures. The Sheriff is deeply disturbed at the thought deputies could allegedly engage in such an insensitive act. A thorough investigation will be conducted by the Department, with the number one priority of protecting the dignity and privacy of the victims and their families.

-Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Sheriff Announces “We All Count” Campaign for Voting at Women’s Jail 1024 630 SIB Staff

Sheriff Announces “We All Count” Campaign for Voting at Women’s Jail

Sheriff Villanueva Announces “We All Count” Campaign for Voting at Women’s Jail

Just because someone is incarcerated, doesn’t mean they can’t still exercise certain rights, like voting.  Many inmates housed in Los Angeles County jails are still eligible to vote.  They are also encouraged to vote, and to express opinions through their ballot choices on issues which affect them and their families.   

During a joint press conference with Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; and Registrar Dean Logan, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, the Sheriff introduced the “We All Count” voting campaign.  This unique and innovative pilot program was introduced at the Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF) and allowed eligible inmates housed there to register to vote, become empowered to make informed voting choices, and cast ballots inside the facility. 

Population management Bureau personnel and Education Based Incarceration staff engaged qualifying women housed at the facility and determined who was interested in voting.  Once eligibility was confirmed, the inmates attended a non-partisan civics course to gain a basic understanding of civic life, politics, government, and a brief history of how our nation and government were developed.  Election materials were provided and, if an inmate was not registered, she was assisted through the process. 

In past practices, participating inmates used the vote-by-mail process, either through their facility voting coordinator or their own designee.  However, on Saturday, February 22, 2020 and Sunday, February 23, 2020, as part of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s voting campaign, they made ballot marking devices available to the eligible women inside the jail facility.  This is a unique and innovative event, to increase civic engagement for justice-involved residents. 

The press conference took place at the doorstep of the CRDF housing facility on Sunday, February 23, 2020, where the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk also made voting available to the public that day, inside of a temporary, mobile polling booth.  This was to encourage local members of the community, visitors and even facility personnel to vote early through its location of convenience.  

“I’m pleased to say that almost 2,200 inmates throughout all Los Angeles County housing facilities chose to participate in voting and were registered,” said Sheriff Villanueva. 

Eligibility for incarcerated persons to vote is determined by several factors.  Participants must be:    

  • 18 years of age or older, 
  • a citizen of the united states, 
  • awaiting trial or on trial for any crime, 
  • in jail for a misdemeanor conviction, 
  • in jail on a probation violation, 
  • in jail on felony probation, 
  • or are serving a county jail sentence under the California public safety realignment act, Assembly Bill 109. 

The only time a person cannot vote while in county jail is if they are: 

  • awaiting transfer to a state or federal prison for a felony conviction, 
  • in jail for a parole violation, 
  • serving a state prison sentence under a contract with a county jail, 
  • currently deemed mentally incompetent to vote by a court. 

LASD Sheriff's Department Logo
Double Homicide – Carson 600 128 SIB Staff

Double Homicide – Carson

Suspects Sought in Murder of Two Young Women Sitting In A Vehicle In Carson; Family Asks For Public To Help Find Killers; Detectives to Announce $30K Reward

Detectives are searching for the suspects involved in the shooting deaths of 19 year-old Erin Lavender and 17-year-old Dalelaja Hearn that occurred on Sunday, December 15, 2019, in Carson.

That evening, at approximately 8:50 p.m., Erin and Dalelaja, along with three other individuals, were sitting in a vehicle that was parked outside of a residence at the 20300 block of Alvo Avenue, in the city of Carson.

As Erin and Dalelaja were seated in the front of the vehicle, two suspects who wore hooded sweatshirts, were seen on video surveillance walk towards their vehicle. One of the suspects directly approached the front driver side of the vehicle, and fired several shots aimlessly into the vehicle.

Immediately after the shooting, both of the suspects ran southbound on Alvo Avenue, towards Del Amo Boulevard and out of view. While the suspects were running away from the scene, a light colored sports utility vehicle is captured on video surveillance driving in the same direction passed the suspects. Detectives are asking the occupants of that vehicle to contact investigators with any information that they may have seen or can provide, to help shed light on the circumstances of this heinous incident.

Right after the shooting occurred, one of the individuals in the vehicle with Erin and Dalelaja, saw that they had both been struck by gunfire, and drove them to a local hospital. Both Erin and Dalelaja were struck in the upper torso, and unfortunately succumbed to their injuries a short time later.

Today, Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Sheriff Villanueva and Homicide Bureau Detectives announced a combined $30,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Erin and Dalelaja’s murders.    

During the press conference, Sheriff Villanueva asked the public for their assistance in helping to locate those responsible, and said, “It is always tragic when a life is loss, but when two young ladies lose their lives, it is extremely heartbreaking. These ladies were just beginning their lives, and we need the public’s help to locate those responsible.”

Mayor Albert Robles, from the City of Carson, also pleaded to the public for their help with any information about this case, stating “It touches every single human being to think, what happened here? This senseless killing. I know there is someone out there that knows something about this. We are begging you to do the right thing. Come forward. Share what information you know.”

A reward of $10,000 has been sponsored by Supervisor Mark Ridley- Thomas, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Second District. Along with a second reward of $20,000 from the City of Carson and approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, has been graciously offered in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the shooting death of both victims.

Incidentally, Erin and Dalelaja were in the area attending a vigil for a mutual friend of theirs, who had just passed away.  

At the time of her death, Erin Lavender was only 19 years-old. She was just beginning her life and was a student attending a local college and an avid softball.

Dalelaja Hearn was only 17 years-old at the time of her death. She was a high school student in Central California, and was also an avid softball player.

Both Erin and Dalelaja grew up surrounded by their loving family members, and will be missed dearly.  Anyone with information about the murders of Erin Lavender and Dalelaja Hearn are encouraged to call Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.  If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may call “L.A. Crime Stoppers” at 800-222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 MOBILE APP” on Google Play or the App Store, or use the website