Salinas Police HQ
Release Date/Time: 9/23/2014 9:17 PM
Date: Tuesday, 9/23/2014
Time: 9:17 PM
Location: 100 Howard Street
Release Authorized by: Officer Angel Gonzalez
Telephone: (831) 970-7874
MEDIA RELEASE Media Contact: Officer Angel Gonzalez
Phone: (831) 970-7874
Salinas Police Activities League to open
PAL Youth Center doors
(Salinas, CA – September 29th) The Salinas Police Activities League is announcing that they will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony of their 'Salinas PAL Youth Center” on Monday September 29th.
The project, which has updated and breathed new life into the old California National Guard Armory, allows Salinas PAL to have a central hub for all of the programs that they offer to the youth of the community. 'The center allows us to expand current programs that will continue to bridge the gap between the community and police officers,” said Salinas Police Officer and PAL Executive Director Angel Gonzalez. 'While the building still has some work to be done, we felt that it was most important to open the doors and get kids involved in our programs.” Youth will be able to participate in programs coached and mentored by the very police officers who are patrolling the streets as well as community minded volunteers who want to help Salinas PAL fulfill its mission of providing a safe and nurturing environment for recreational, educational, cultural, and social programs while bridging the gap between police officers, youth, and the community. The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 5pm on the front steps of the center. Light refreshments will be served following the ceremony.
For over 22 years, the Salinas Police Activities League has been providing FREE programs to the youth of our community ages 5-18. These programs have ranged from archery to tennis, and the addition of the building will allow Salinas PAL to expand its current programs. 'We are extremely thankful for the community partnerships and donations that have brought us to this point. We can't thank each and every individual, company, and group enough. This is a great day for Salinas PAL and our entire community,” said Officer Gonzalez.
'Salinas Police Activities League to open
PAL Youth Center doors”
100 Howard Street
Monday September 29, 2014, 5:00pm
Release Date/Time: 9/21/2014 9:54 PM
Incident: Attempted Armed Robbery with a Shotgun
Report #: 14-091120
Date: Sunday, 9/21/2014
Time: 8:33 AM
Location: 1395 Nogal Drive - Natividad Creek Park
Officers were dispatched to an armed robbery in progress at Natividad Creek Park. One officer arrived within 30 seconds and met with the victim. The victim was walking through the park when three Hispanic Male Adults approached. One of the suspects, Jimmy Little Rodriguez, 18, was armed with a shotgun. He pointed it at the victims head and demanded his wallet and money. The victim refused to cooperate. The victim was able to run away. A witness directed officers to an area of the park leading up to Nogal Drive. All three subjects, including Rodriguez, were located. The shotgun was recovered in the park. Rodriguez appears to be the only one of the three involved in the crime. The other two subjects were identified and later released. Rodriguez was booked into the Monterey County Jail for attempted robbery, probation violation, being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Release Authorized by: Commander David Crabill
Telephone: (831) 758-7250
Release Date/Time: 9/21/2014 11:04 AM
Incident: Burglary, Conspiracy, Resisting Arrest
Report #: 14-091031
Date: Friday, 9/19/2014
Time: 1:07 PM
Location: Oyster Bay Cir.
Salinas Police received a report of suspicious vehicle in the cul-de-sac at Oyster Bay Cir. The information provided was that a vehicle which did not belong in the neighborhood was parked with four males inside. Police were later given additional information that some of the males had gone into a house and were committing a burglary. An officer arrived and saw the vehicle parked with only one occupant, Jose Melgoza (19). As the officer contacted Melgoza, two other officers positioned themselves near the house where they suspected the burglary was ocurring. The remaining suspects saw the officers from the upstairs bedroom of a different house and fled out the back door towards the creek near Safeway. A short time later, a golfer at the Twin Creeks Golf Course called 911 to report three males came out of the bushes and sitting on a bench near the 4th hole. When an officer approached the three suspects, they fled on foot. The officer gave chase for a considerable distance and caught Erik Llamas (19) in the apartment complex at 1125 Alamo Way. Officers also apprehended a 14 year old juvenile male, and Francisco Narez (19), hiding nearby. All the suspects, including Melgoza, were booked into the county jail or juvenile hall. The successful outcome would not have been possible without the assistance police received from the public.
Release Authorized by: Commander Henry Gomez
Telephone: (831) 758-7250
Release Date/Time: 9/20/2014 5:53 AM
Incident: Disorderly Conduct - Secretly Recording in Women's Bathroom
Report #: 14-091030
Date: Friday, 9/19/2014
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: 1071 Parajo Dr. - St. Paul's Episcopal Church
On September 19, 2014, officers were called to St. Paul's Episcopal Church regarding suspicious circumstances. A member of the church had found a small video camera in the women's bathroom. It appears the camera had fallen to the floor from a hidden location within the bathroom. With the help of the Church's administration, officers contacted Daniel Murguia (age 60), a longtime maintenance worker for the church. The investigation revealed he was the owner of the camera and had placed the camera in various bathrooms within the church to record unsuspecting females. Officers were able to determine at least 20 different instances where females were unknowingly recorded.
Murguia was transported to the Monterey County jail and booked for several counts of Disorderly Conduct (647(j)(2) PC). Other electronic devices were seized from Murguia's residence and will be reviewed by the Salinas Police Department's Computer Forensic Unit. Detectives will be working on identifying any victims. This investigation is ongoing.
Release Authorized by: Commander Henry Gomez
Telephone: (831) 758-7250
Release Date/Time: 9/18/2014 12:08 AM
Date: Wednesday, 9/17/2014
Location: 1030 E Alisal
We received a call from a cab driver stating that a male had walked up to him as he was parked in the lot of Foods Co, holding a gun and asking him to call the cops. The driver felt threatened that he may be shot if he didn't respond as Elpidio Pacheco (30) simulated racking the slide of the pistol he held. Pacheco then got into the front seat of the cab, holding the pistol in his lap. When officers arrived, Pacheco dropped the gun on the floorboard, placed his hands in the air, complied with officers instructions, and was taken into custody without incident. The gun was found to be a replica semi-automatic firearm. Pacheco admitted he was despondent and had intended to commit suicide by cop, describing his intent to point the weapon at responding officers. When the officers arrived Pacheco had a last minute change of heart and decided to comply. He was later lodged at MoCo Jail for threatening a violent assault and drunk in public in addition to a felony drug warrant out of Santa Clara County.
Release Authorized by: Stan Cooper, Commander
Telephone: (831) 758-7250
Release Date/Time: 9/15/2014 6:34 PM
Incident: Fatal Traffic Collision
Report #: 14-090795
Date: Monday, 9/15/2014
Time: 2:53 PM
Location: East Bernal Drive / Natividad Road
At the listed time officers responded to a traffic collision on East Bernal just west of Natividad Road. Upon arrival they found an 83-year-old WMA seated in the driver's seat deceased. His red Nissan Altima was leaning vertical against a telephone pole with the rear bumper on the ground and the front grill pointed straight up. The only visible injuries were minor and appeared to be post-mortem. The investigation showed that the driver was s/b Natividad Road when he probably suffered some type medical ailment that caused him to go unconcious and lose control of the car. Just as he began to turn right onto Bernal, the car straightened out and drove across the dirt medium for about 145' before traveling another 92' across the e/b lanes of Bernal and the sidewalk before striking the guide wire to the pole. The car went vertical and rotated to where it came to rest against the pole. It did not appear the driver tried to brake or steer to avoid the collision. The case is still under investigation.
Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross
Telephone: (831) 758-7975
Release Date/Time: 9/15/2014 4:56 PM
Date: Monday, 9/15/2014
Time: 4:56 PM
Location: 108 Williams Road
Three Hispanic male suspects entered the business. Suspect #1; early 20's, green shirt with a yellow skull picture on the front and camo pants, #2; white hat, white long sleeve button up shirt, large belt buckle, gray pants, carrying a black semi-auto handgun, #3; 30's, black jacket, black SF hat, black Jordan shoes and blue jeans. Suspect #1 distracted the clerk while suspect #2 walked around the register to the clerk. Suspect #2 brandished the handgun and demanded money from the clerk. Suspect #3 acted as the lookout. Undetermined amount of cash was taken. The suspects fled the area on foot in an unknown direction. The Salinas Police Department is asking for the communities assistance in identifyinig the suspects. Anyone recognizing the suspects is asked to contact the Salinas Police Department at 831-758-7321 or the tip-line at 831-775-4222 or We-Tip at 1-800-76-CRIME.
Release Authorized by: Crd. Dave Shaw
Release Date/Time: 9/14/2014 12:58 AM
Incident: Attempted Murder/Shooting
Report #: 14-090712
Date: Saturday, 9/13/2014
Time: 11:15 PM
Location: Curtis and Rodeo
A 23 year old male was walking in the area of Curtis and Rodeo when a vehicle, occupied by 2 or 3, drove up. One of the occupants shot multiple times, then drove away. The victim was transported by private vehicle to a local hospital for treatment from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. This is believed to be gang related.
Release Authorized by: Sergeant Danny Warner
Telephone: (831) 758-7250
First posted May 25, 2014. Updated Sept 5, 2014, 5:15 PM. (Español)
There have been four officer-involved shootings so far this year in Salinas, when the average is one per year. Many people have questions about the shootings, and we'll do our best to answer them here based on what we know so far. Please note that while the investigations go on, we can't speculate about conclusions, but we can offer information based on the evidence we have and based on police policies.
We'll be adding and updating questions and answers frequently, so please check back if you don't see what you're looking for yet, or if you have a suggestion, please contact us.
All of the people shot by police this year were Latinos. Are the police targeting Latinos?
Absolutely not. But we understand and acknowledge the emotions behind that question.
The Salinas Police Department has long followed strict policies against any form of social injustice. But as a community, Salinas, like much of America, has a painful history of discrimination against minorities. In our case it has often been Latinos who have suffered.
As a community we are still healing from that history – the process is not over.
But it is a fundamental principle for the Salinas Police Department that everyone, no matter what their background, must be treated with fairness and respect. Any police officer who violates this principle faces the strictest sanctions. If you're wondering why you should believe that, please see "Why should I believe you?" below.
Why have so many people been shot by police?
The four shootings by police officers this year are very unusual – in recent years the average for Salinas is one officer-involved shooting per year -- out of thousands of arrests and tens of thousands of contacts.
All the shootings are being very thoroughly investigated. When things happen in a cluster like this, it often looks like they must be connected – as in, "suddenly the police are shooting more people." But random clusters of events are common, and there is no evidence these shootings are connected.
If the shootings aren't connected, why did they all involve Latinos?
In Salinas, 77% of the population is Latino. That means that, all other things being equal, nearly 8 out of 10 of the small number of people who commit violent crimes would probably be Latino -- just because nearly 8 out of 10 people who do everything in Salinas are Latino. That includes all the good things, which are far more common.
In reality, more than 9 out 10 of the small number of people who commit violent crimes are Latino -- but not because they're Latino, of course. Mountains of research show that violent crime is more likely in underserved neighborhoods, meaning neighborhoods that suffer from poverty, lack of services and lack of opportunity. In Salinas, those neighborhoods are much more likely to be Latino. In other areas, it's other groups who live in underserved neighborhoods, and those neighborhoods also have higher crime rates.
In short, what we see in Salinas is that when police have contact with a violent person, that person is likely to be Latino, but that's because (a) everyone is likely to be Latino, and (b) violent crime is more common in underserved neighborhoods.
Why did Salinas Police ask the Monterey County District Attorney to handle the investigation of the July 10, 2014 officer-involved shooting of Frank Alvarado?
To get the best answers as fast as possible. Normally, the police department investigates officer-involved shootings and then the DA’s office reviews the investigation. But the police are occupied with other investigations, and this is the busiest time of the year. So to avoid delay, Chief Kelly McMillin asked the DA to take over this investigation from the start.
Why did the police officers shoot Frank Alvarado?
District Attorney Dean Flippo gave a press conference about the shooting the day after it happened and will continue to share information. Only the DA’s office can do that, because it’s their investigation. You can find widespread coverage in the local media, for example in this article from the Monterey Herald.
I read a story that says the Salinas police are guilty of "murders of innocent people" who were unarmed - what do you say to that?
A widely-shared story from AntiMedia.org radically re-interprets a responsibly reported story from ktvu.org. We hope you'll read our corrections, and compare the AntiMedia story to the ktvu.org story they re-interpreted. And if you've shared the AntiMedia story, we hope you'll share the corrections.
Why did the police shoot Carlos Mejia (the man with the shears seen in a cell phone video) when he was walking away from them?
They didn't. When you slow down and zoom in on the cell phone video, you see that the officers did not shoot Mr. Mejia when he was walking away, they shot him when he turned and attacked them with the shears. More context is added by a surveillance camera video as well as by a 911 call from a woman who said Mr. Mejia was trying to break into her house and assault her.
Police Chief Kelly McMillin took reporters through the videos and audio at a press conference on May 22, 2014.
- Find the Salinas Californian's coverage of the press conference here.
- See KSBW-TV's analysis of the cell phone video here.
- See the 911 call transcript here.
Why didn't the police Tase Mr. Mejia?
They tried to, twice. The first officer fired his Taser, but it malfunctioned. Then the second officer fired his, but one of its contacts struck a telephone pole, which prevented it from having any effect.
Why didn't they shoot him in the arm or leg?
Although you see that happen on TV and in the movies, that's not what police are trained to do. When an armed person attacks, their first priority is to stop the threat to public safety as fast as possible. There are many cases of civilians and police being seriously injured or killed by armed, violent people who have been wounded. So police are trained to use enough force to stop the threat immediately.
Why did they shoot him more than once?
Once someone attacks, police are trained to stop the threat, both to themselves and members of the public. We can't at this point know exactly what the officers' judgment was, but it's common for police to shoot multiple times to stop a threat.
Why did they get close enough for him to attack them?
To stop a violent person with a weapon, police have to gain physical control of him, typically by putting him in handcuffs. They start by ordering the person to drop the weapon and surrender, and then need to get control of the person as soon as possible so they can prevent harm to members of the public.
Why did the police leave Mr. Mejia's body uncovered?
Police never cover a body before investigators arrive, because doing that would contaminate evidence. Instead, out of respect for the dead and in consideratiion of onlookers, they put up a visual barrier. That's what the police did in this case.
What is the police department's policy on use of force?
Please click here for a PDF of our use of force policy document.
Why did the police put up security cameras near the scene of the Mejia shooting?
Witnesses of the incident have reported they've been threatened and intimidated. The cameras are there temporarily to help with the investigation of the threats and intimidation and to help protect the witnesses.
Why have the cameras been taken down?
Two of them had stopped working (this is not uncommon -- we only have a few, and they're quite old), and the third was needed elsewhere.
Why should I believe you?
We expect to be held accountable by our actions, not just our words. Here are some of our actions:
After the recent shootings
- We know that some people don't trust "cops investigating cops." We think if they could see how strict, thorough and impartial the internal investigations are, they'd change their minds. But because of the level of concern right now, Chief McMillin has asked for a total of three independent reviews of the police department's investigations. In addition to the standard review by the Monterey County District Attorney, Chief McMillin has asked for an additional review by the FBI and a third one by the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice.
- The Salinas Police and the City of Salinas are recognized nationally as leaders in reducing crime through a community-based strategy of prevention, intervention and re-entry services, working to reduce the need for enforcement. Salinas was invited to be a founding member of the President's National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which is focused on community-based solutions to crime and on the recognition that "you can't arrest your way out of the problem."
- Salinas is the leading agency in the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, (CASP) which brings together community groups, social services, the faith community, local governments and law enforcement around the Prevention-Intervention-Enforcement-Re-entry (PIER) strategy. Even though Salinas is facing severe budget shortages, it dedicates a full-time staff member to serve as the manager of CASP and give it every possible support. The Police Department is also facing shortages, and is seriously under-staffed, but it has assigned two full-time "CASP officers" to the Hebbron Heights neighborhood of the Alisal. These officers, who have been recognized nationally for their work, make very few arrests, devoting almost all of their time to assisting members of the community and building connections among families, neighborhoods, community groups and service providers.
- Chief McMillin has committed the police department to the legitimacy and procedural justice model of policing, which holds that true authority comes not from the use or fear of force but from the trust of the community. According to a recent KSBW-TV story: "The method recognizes that people want to feel heard, feel respected and want to know their police are neutral and trustworthy." The Salinas Police Department is the first on the West Coast to train all officers in legitimacy and procedural justice.
- The Salinas Police Department is among the pioneers in using the Operation Ceasefire strategy, which has led to dramatic reductions in violence in cities across the country while improving relationships between police and the communities they serve. Operation Ceasefire's originator, David Kennedy, mentions the Salinas Police in his ground-breaking book Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America.
- Chief McMillin was recognized by the White House in 2012 as a Champion of Change. The recognition was for his work to prevent youth violence within the community through Operation Ceasefire and the CASP strategy.
Yesterday, 9-1-14, an 8 year old boy was in a bathroom at Northridge Mall when a male, wearing dark clothing with a Batman logo on it, attempted to lure him into a bathroom stall. Northridge Mall was able to obtain video of the suspect and still photos were later released to the media. A Monterey County Probation Officer recognized the subject as Kevin Rodney Gray (34) and called salinas Police with the information. Detectives were unsucessful in locating Gray throughout the day and other citizen tips came in identifying Gray as the suspect from the Mall incident. At approxiamtely 1745 hrs, Gray arrived at the Police Department stating he knew police were wanting to talk to him. Gray was taken into custody and later lodged into MoCo jail for Annoying or molesting children and violation of probation. Gray is curently on probation for a similar offense involving chidren and is a registered sex offender.