Press Releases

Officer Ernie Sanchez Retirement

Release Date/Time: 7/29/2016 1:22 PM

Incident: Officer Ernie Sanchez Retirement

Date: Monday, 8/1/2016

Time: 7:30 am

Location: 100 Howard St.

The Salinas Police Department would like to announce the retirement of Officer Ernie Sanchez.  His final briefing will be Monday, August 1, 2016 at 7:30 a.m. in the Salinas Police Activities League building, across the street from the Salinas Police Department. 

Ernesto Sanchez, known by the department as Ernie, was born in Michoacan, Mexico and moved to the United States at the age of ten. He attended local elementary schools and graduated from North Salinas High School.  He became a United States Citizen in January 1991. 

Ernie was hired as a Police Recruit and graduated from the Gavilan Police Academy. He was sworn in as a Police Officer on July 26, 1991.  

Ernie's collateral duties included: Crime Scene Investigator, Narcotics Detective, Traffic Enforcement Officer, Hostage Negotiator, Field Training Officer, Crisis Intervention Team Member and English/Spanish Translator. 

Ernie has worked as a Crime Scene Investigator longer than all of the current CSI's combined.  

Throughout his career Ernie received numerous commendations for his professionalism, positive attitude, dedication to duty and always going out of his way to assist anyone in need.  

In November 1993, Ernie received a commendation from City Mayor Alan Styles for his professional response during a major disturbance and in January 2002, Ernie received the Award of Valor from the Monterey County Peace Officers Association. 

After 25 years of service, Ernie is looking forward to retirement where he can spend more time with his family.  


Release Authorized by: Commander Henry Gomez

Telephone: (831) 758-7279

4th of July DUI enforcement

Release Date/Time: 6/29/2016 2:59 PM

Incident: 4th of July DUI enforcement

Report #: N/A

Date: Wednesday, 6/29/2016

Time: 2:58 PM

Location: Monterey and San Benito Counties

This Fourth of July, There's No Excuse— 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” by the Avoid the 20 Monterey and San Benito Counties' DUI Task Force

Every year Americans head out on our nation's highways to celebrate the Fourth of July at picnics, parties, parades and more. For many, the celebration frequently includes drinking alcohol, which, unfortunately, too often leads to drunk driving on one of the most heavily traveled holidays of the year. From 2010-2014, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. There were 397 people killed nationally in motor vehicle crashes in 2014 over the Fourth of July holiday. Of those fatalities, 41 percent were killed in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In California during the holiday, an average of 6 people are killed and 110 are seriously injured each year.

To crack down on drunk driving this Fourth of July, the Avoid the 20 DUI task force will be out in full force, aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger.

• Several DUI Saturation patrols will deploy on Friday and Saturday in different cities throughout Monterey and San Benito Counties.

• CHP officers will deploy a Maximum Enforcement Period during the 3 day weekend with all available officers patrolling freeways and county roads.

'If you're thinking about drinking and driving this Fourth of July; Dont do it! Every police agency in both counties will be out looking for you,” said Traffic Sergeant Gerry Ross. 'The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving – no excuses.” The consequences of drunk driving are that serious. Not only are impaired drivers putting their lives and the lives of others at risk, but a DUI arrest means a loss of freedom and money that can include going to jail, losing a driver license, and paying steep financial costs of $10,000 or more.

The Avoid the 20 DUI Task Force recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving.

• Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver.

• DDVIP: The California Office of Traffic Safety DDVIP mobile app is available for free download on iOS and Android devices. The DDVIP app allows users to 'Map a Spot” with their current location to find DDVIP partnering establishments in their area or a 'List of Spots” to search all participating bars and restaurants throughout California. Users can stay up-to-date with the latest from DDVIP and see what other users are saying via its social tab. Also through the app, for those who want to imbibe but also make it a point to plan ahead, users can easily order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft or Curb – all from one screen.

• DRUGS, MEDICATION & ALCOHOL= CRASHES: Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate – 'Report Drunk Drivers! Call 911!”

• If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take your friend's keys and help your friend make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going safely.

Funding for the Avoid the 20 DUI Campaign is a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Avoid DUI Task Force will deploy checkpoints and DUI patrols next during the 18 day August/Labor Day DUI Mobilization.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Click It or Ticket Campaign

Release Date/Time: 5/19/2016 9:57 AM

Incident: Click It or Ticket Campaign

Report #: N/A

Date: Thursday, 5/19/2016

Time: 9:53 AM

Location: City of Salinas

New 'Coast to Coast” Seat Belt Enforcement Effort Aims to Increase Click It or Ticket Participation, Save Lives

Salinas CA – From May 23 to June 5, 2016, local law enforcement personnel will participate in the national Click It or Ticket campaign in an effort to save lives through increased seat belt use. This education enforcement period comes ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while 88.5 percent of passenger vehicle occupants buckled up in 2015, almost 50 percent of occupants of fatal crashes nationwide are not restrained. In some states, the rate is as high as 70 percent unrestrained in fatal crashes. In California, more than a half million people travel our roadways at grave risk without proper restraints. These facts gravely highlight the need for increased education, awareness and enforcement of seat belt use.

This year, NHTSA is aiming to increase campaign participation even more by coordinating a 'Coast to Coast” seat belt education and enforcement effort with the California Highway Patrol and law enforcement around the I-10, I-40, I-70 and I-80 corridors. Additionally, law enforcement agencies statewide are joining the Click It or Ticket effort to emphasize the 'Coast to Coast” seat belt safety awareness campaign in all 50 states.

'Throughout the nation the principal job of law enforcement is to protect its citizens,” said Sergeant Gerry Ross of the Salinas Police Department. 'One of the best ways we can protect people is to make sure they are buckling up. We see the deadly and often gruesome results that come from those who fail to wear their seat belt. I've seen people walk away uninjured from some pretty gnarly crashes because they were buckled up. If you want to survive a crash and minimize any injuries, take a second to buckle up before driving away.”

In 2014, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationally were unrestrained, according to NHTSA. During the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number increased to 57 percent of those killed. Law enforcement agencies will write citations day and night, with a zero-tolerance approach. 'Hundreds of thousands of citizens will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend, as well as throughout the summer vacation season. We want to make sure that people are buckling up to keep themselves and their families safe. It is the greatest defense in a vehicle crash,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. For more information on the Click It or Ticket campaign, please visit

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

2016 Fall Session of the Salinas Police Community Academy

2016 Fall Session of the Salinas Police Community Academy


The Salinas Police Department will present a Community Academy from September 1st through November 17th, 2016.  The Community Academy will run from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM each Thursday night for 12 consecutive weeks, with the final class to be held on November 17th, 2016. 

Community Academy participants will have the opportunity to go on a ride-along with a patrol officer, observe what the Salinas Police SWAT team does, learn all about our Crime Scene Investigation Unit, participate in scenarios, watch a demonstration of the K9 program, learn about the hiring process of police officers and much more.

Each night features a new topic, with speakers, demonstrations and discussions. We will answer questions and give an in-depth, behind the scenes look at police operations. 

To attend the Community Academy obtain an application and submit it to the Salinas Police Department, Community Services Unit by Friday, August 19th 2016.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old, live or work in Salinas or involved in a community-based organization that provides services to Salinas residents. Applicants must not be on probation or parole or have any recent felonies on their record.

Class size is limited to 25 - 30 students; so prospective applicants should not wait to submit their application.  Applications may be obtained by sending an email request for a Community Academy application to [email protected] Applications can be returned by filling them out on your computer and returning them via email or by printing them out and returning the hard copy to Sergeant Heath Johnson/Community Services Unit, 222 Lincoln Avenue, Salinas, CA, 93901. Applications may also be picked up and turned in at the Salinas Police Department Front Desk. 

If you have questions, feel free to email or call Sergeant Heath Johnson at 831-758-7247.

Motorcycle vs. DUI Driver

Release Date/Time: 7/27/2016 12:12 AM

Incident: Motorcycle vs. DUI Driver

Report #: 16 07 1341

Date: Tuesday, 7/26/2016

Time: 9:18 PM

Location: Boronda / Rider Ave.

A 22-year-old male was riding eastbound on Boronda at Rider Avenue when Mateo Perez (31), turned left from westbound Boronda onto Rider Avenue in front of him. The motorcycle struck Perez' vehicle resulting in serious injuries. Perez fled the scene. A witness took a photo of Perez' vehicle capturing the license plate, and officers located the vehicle and Perez at Natividad Creek Park. Perez was positively identified as the driver of the vehicle involved in the collision. Perez' blood alcohol content was determined to be almost twice the legal limit. He was booked into County Jail for felony DUI, and felony hit and run.

Release Authorized by: Cmdr. John C. Murray

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Gang Member Possession of Firearm with Narcotics, etc..

Release Date/Time: 7/26/2016 4:56 PM

Incident: Gang Member Possession of Firearm with Narcotics, etc..

Report #: 16-071278

Date: Monday, 7/25/2016

Time: 6:10 PM

Location: Parking Lot of 914 Acosta Plaza

Officers on foot in the area of Acosta Plaza observed two subjects; Marcos Sanchez, 19 and a 22-year-old sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot. Upon walking up to the car officers smelled marijuana and asked the driver to step from the vehicle. A search of the driver, Marcos Sanchez, 19, revealed a loaded .380 Kel Tec semi-auto in his right front pocket. Four bindles of cocaine and a small amount of marijuana were found in the vehicle. Sanchez was booked in County Jail and the 22-year-old passenger was released.

Release Authorized by: Cmdr. John C. Murray

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Shooting Update--Homicide

Release Date/Time: 7/26/2016 3:49 PM

Incident: Shooting Update--Homicide

Report #: 16-071155

Date: Tuesday, 7/26/2016

Time: 3:46 PM

Location: 35 E. Rossi St.

On Saturday, July 23, 2016, a shooting occurred in the area of 35 E. Rossi St. Officers were called to the area at approximately 8:10 am for a victim that had been shot several times. The victim, later identified as 57-year-old Israel Tate Jr., had been chased to the backyard area of one of the residences and shot. Tate was transported to Natividad Medical Center in critical condition. Today, we were advised Tate died from his wounds.

The investigation has revealed a disturbance may have occurred in the area of Lake St. and Bridge St. just prior to the shooting. It appears Tate was fleeing from the Lake and Bridge area onto E. Rossi with a black 4-door sedan chasing him. Witnesses say Tate ran down the driveway of 35 E. Rossi St. followed closely by the sedan. After the shooting, the sedan pulled back onto E. Rossi St. and fled eastbound toward Sherwood Dr.

This homicide is not being investigated as gang related. This is the 18th homicide in the City of Salinas this year.

The Salinas Police Department's Investigations Bureau is asking anyone with information regarding the incident on Lake St. and/or the shooting on E. Rossi St., to please contact Detective Cameron Murphy at (831) 758-7322; or Detective Stephen Craig at (831) 758-7929. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78 CRIME, or text information to the Text to the Text Tip Line with the code "SPD831" to "847411".

Release Authorized by: Christopher Lane, Investigations Sergeant

Telephone: (831) 758-7496

Possession of a Firearm with Controlled Substance while out on bail, Possession of Stolen Property and Possession of a Dismembered Hawk

Release Date/Time: 7/22/2016 5:06 PM

Incident: Possession of a Firearm with Controlled Substance while out on bail, Possession of Stolen Property and Possession of a Dismembered Hawk

Report #: 16-071125

Date: Friday, 7/22/2016

Time: 12:54 PM

Location: Under 50 block of East Romie Lane and 400 Block of Riker Street

Salinas Police Directed Enforcement Officers and Salinas Parole Agents assisted the California Highway Patrol (CHP) on a traffic stop conducted on Raul Gonzalo Tapia, 38, in the parking lot of a business in the under 50 block of East Romie Lane.  The CHP canine alerted to the vehicle and a search was conducted. A semi-automatic Glock pistol was located in the vehicle and a loaded magazine was in Tapia's pants pocket.  Tapia had in his possession over 16 grams of methamphetamine and a small amount of cocaine on his person. Tapia's residence was searched and a stolen California Department of Corrections ballistic vest and a small amount of methamphetamine was located.  A dismembered hawk was located in Tapia's freezer.  The head had been removed from the body and wrapped in a towel along with the talons and wings.  California Department of Fish & Game was contacted and it was determined that the possession of a hawk in this condition is a misdemeanor crime.  Tapia had been arrested previously by Salinas Police and Salinas Parole in June of 2016 where 3 firearms and approxmately 1/2 pound of methamphetamine was recovered during that investigation.  Tapia was out on bail for that previous arrest.  Tapia was booked into the Monterey County Jail for various gun, narcotic, stolen property and fish & game violations.

Release Authorized by: Sergeant George Lauricella

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Child Molest at a Daycare Facility Arrest

A licensed daycare facility was operating at 120 Valenica Street.  The facility was operated by the mother of Jairo Lopez(21).  A victim contacted police stating in 2012 Lopez would touch the victim inapproriately while at the daycare facility.  Lopez was interviewed and admitted to the allegations.  He was lodged at Monterey County Jail on numerous sexual assault charges.  It is believed there are possibly more victims from the facility. 

Anyone with information regarding Lopez or victim iniformation is encouraged to contact the Salinas Police Department Investigations Division at (831) 758-7226; or Detective Gonzalez at (831) 758-7127 or [email protected]. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at (831) 775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78-CRIME, or text information to the Text Tip Line with the code "SPD831" to "847411".


Question of the Day

Can I drink alcohol while walking down a City street in Salinas?

No, it is illegal to drink any beverage that contains alcohol while on public property. The Salinas Municipal Code Section (21-2)  states that, "No person shall drink any beer, wine or other intoxicating beverage on any public street, sidewalk, alley, highway, plaza parkway, parking lot, airport terminal, or bus or train depot in the City...

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