Press Releases

Court Sting Operation

Release Date/Time: 12/16/2014 2:59 PM

Incident: Court Sting Operation

Report #: N/A

Date: Tuesday, 12/16/2014

Time: 2:58 PM

Location: 240 Church Street

On today's date between 0800 and 1200 hours, officers conducted a court sting at the Monterey County Courthouse. Officers researched the court calendar ahead of time and found which defendants would be arraigned on charges related to Driving Under the Influence. Officers ran the driver's status on these defendants and found which of them were prohibited from driving. Officers went undercover in the courtrooms and viewed the arraignments. They followed suspended and unlicensed drivers out to their cars. If the defendant got in the car and drove away, the undercover officers would call in the traffic unit to enforce the violations. Two drivers were cited for being suspended or unlicensed. Both drivers had their cars impounded for 30 days.

The under cover officers followed over a dozen other suspended drivers out of the court room but these people made the intelligent decision to walk home or have someone else drive them. The traffic unit conducted a court sting operation at this time last year and seven drivers were cited. "I hope that this reduction shows that the word is getting out and suspended drivers are learning that they better not drive," said Sergeant Gerry Ross. "I was pleasantly surprised that so many people made the right decision not to drive."

Funding for this court sting operation was provided to The Salinas Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1'

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Planned DUI/Driver's License Checkpoint

Release Date/Time: 12/15/2014 3:54 PM

Incident: Planned DUI/Driver's License Checkpoint

Report #: N/A

Date: Monday, 12/15/2014

Time: 3:53 PM

Location: Undisclosed

DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint Planned for December 18th. Salinas Police Department Traffic Unit will be conducting a DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint on December 18th, at an undisclosed location within the city limits between the hours of 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely. In California, this deadly crime led to 802 deaths and nearly 24,000 serious injuries in 2012 because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Nationally, the latest data shows nearly 10,000 were killed by an impaired driver. 'Every year in Monterey and San Benito Counties we have several tragic deaths attributed to intoxicated drivers,” said Sergeant Gerry Ross. 'Several hundred more are injured every year. These are senseless tragedies that can easily be avoided.” Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment with officers checking drivers for proper licensing delaying motorists only momentarily. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes. Drugs which may impair driving not only include illegal narcotics, but many prescription drugs, marijuana, and even some over-the-counter medications. DUI Checkpoints are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public. Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes and other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out. Funding for this checkpoint is provided to The Salinas Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1'.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

664-187 PC - Attempted Murder

Release Date/Time: 12/15/2014 1:54 AM

Incident: 664-187 PC - Attempted Murder

Report #: 14-120792

Date: Sunday, 12/14/2014

Time: 11:29 PM

Location: 45 S. Sanborn Rd.

Officers responded to a call of shots fired near the Little Cesar's restaurant at 45 S. Sanborn Rd. The reporting party stated that two groups of Hispanic males were yelling at each other, after which they began shooting at each other. Both parties fled the scene in vehicles prior to police arrival. Several shell casings were located in the parking lot. Shortly after, Eduardo Rios (19) was dropped off at Natividad Medical Center with grazing gunshot wounds to his forehead and lower back. Rios was uncooperative with investigating officers and refused to give a statement. Later, at approximately 0025 hrs, Off. K. Ellsworth located the vehicle that had taken Rios to the hospital. it was occupied by Julian Fernandez (24). Fernandez had a warrant for his arrest, and was also uncooperative and refused to provide a statement regarding the shooting incident. The vehicle had gunshot damage. Fernandez was lodged for his outstanding warrant.

Release Authorized by: Jeffrey Ramsden

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

246 PC - Shooting into occupied vehicle

Release Date/Time: 12/15/2014 1:42 AM

Incident: 246 PC - Shooting into occupied vehicle

Report #: 14-120793

Date: Sunday, 12/14/2014

Time: 11:30 PM

Location: N. Sanborn Rd. / Freedon Pkwy

The victim (19) came to the police department to report that he had been shot at in the area of N. Sanborn Rd. and Freedom Pkwy. He had just left the Circle K and was driving southbound on N. Sanborn Rd. He stopped at the light for Freedom Pkwy, and the suspect vehicle stopped next to him. The suspect vehicle was described as a candy-apple red sedan (possibly a Lincoln LS) occupied by a male and a female. The male passenger fired one shot at the victim with what appeared to be a revolver, and the suspects fled the scene. No one was injured.

Release Authorized by: Jeffrey Ramsden

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Kidnapping, Child Molestation and False Imprisonment

Release Date/Time: 12/13/2014 11:18 AM

Incident: Kidnapping, Child Molestation and False Imprisonment

Report #: 14-120703

Date: Friday, 12/12/2014

Time: 4:59 PM

Location: 1800 North Main Street - Wal Mart

At approximately 0800 hours, Jorge Cervantes turned himself in at the front lobby of the police department.  He was questioned and then transported to the Monterey County Jail.  Detectives requested and received an escalation of bail in the amount of $1,000,000.00.

Release Authorized by: Sergeant Jeff Gibson

Telephone: (831) 758-7128

Kidnapping, Child Molestation and False Imprisonment

Release Date/Time: 12/13/2014 5:29 AM

Incident: Kidnapping, Child Molestation and False Imprisonment

Report #: 14-120703

Date: Friday, 12/12/2014

Time: 4:59 PM

Location: 1800 North Main Street - Wal Mart

The Salinas Police Department is  looking for Jorge Cervantes, 35, in connection with the kidnapping and molestation of a ten year old girl.  Cervantes posed as a WalMart employee and approached the victim offering his assistance.  Cervantes attempted to lure the victim out of the store but when he discovered the doors were locked, Cervantes led the victim to the bathrooms where it is believed the victim was initially assaulted.  Cervantes then took the victim from the bathroom and assaulted her in one of the store aisles before the victim was able to run from him to seek help.  Cervantes then fled the store. 

If anyone knows where Cervantes may be, they are encouraged to notify the Salinas Police Department.  Please call 911 or contact Detective Arlene Currrier at 758-7125, or Detective Zuniga at 758-7929.  Information can also be left at the Salinas Police Department crime tip lines, 758-7133 or 775-4222  

Release Authorized by: Sergeant Jeff Gibson

Telephone: (831) 758-7128

Retirement of Sgt. Ono Solis

Release Date/Time: 12/11/2014 8:33 AM

Incident: Retirement of Sgt. Ono Solis 

Date: Thursday, 12/11/2014

Time: 8:33 AM

Location:  City Hall Rotunda  200 Lincoln Ave.

After  32 years of public service Sergeant Ono Solis will be retiring.  Sgt. Solis began his law enforcement career in San Benito County.  He served two years as a Corrections Officer then was hired as a Deputy and served five years with San Benito County Sheriff's Department. He was hired by the Salinas Police Department in 1989 and after 25 years is retiring.  There will be a final briefing for him on Thursday,  December 18, 2014 at 7:30 am in the City Hall Rotunda.  His final day working will be December 29, 2014.  A complete professional biography will be available at the briefing.

Release Authorized by:  Cdr. Dave Shaw

Telephone:  831-758-7271

Avoid the 20 Winter Mobilization

Release Date/Time: 12/8/2014 11:20 AM

Incident: Avoid the 20 Winter Mobilization

Report #: N/a

Date: Monday, 12/8/2014

Time: 11:14 AM

Location: Monterey and San Benito Counties

YOU BETTER WATCH OUT, I'M TELLING YOU WHY: COPS ARE CRACKING DOWN ON DRUNK DRIVING Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Salinas CA — This time of year, with all the holiday parties and festive occasions, many partygoers will be drinking. If you're celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, the Salinas Police Department has a message for you: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across the country will be out in force December 12-January 1, 2015 actively searching for drunk drivers. The Avoid the 20 DUI Task Force will be aggressively looking for drunk drivers this holiday season with plans in place for a DUI/Driver's License Checkpoint, a Multi-Agency Strike Team, 44 local roving DUI Saturation Patrols and a DUI Warrant/Probation Sweep. The facts are grim: on average, a third (31%) of all crash fatalities in America involves drunk driving. In December 2012 there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher; 26 of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day. But on Christmas day 2012, the percentage jumped to 36 percent. For all of 2012, more than 10,322 people were killed by drunk drivers in America, with 802 of those in California alone. In California, an additional 24,000 were seriously injured. It's one of the primary missions of law enforcement, the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to eliminate these tragedies. As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign period, law enforcement will be increasing their number of patrols, setting up DUI Checkpoints, and using local media to reach all drivers. If you're drinking and driving, the Avoid the 20 DUI Task Force will be out to find and arrest you – no warnings, no excuses. You'll face jail time, fines, loss of your driver's license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses, totaling $10,000 on average. Not to mention the humiliation among your family, friends, and workplace. The only way to truly avoid a DUI is to drive sober. There are many ways to get home safely after drinking, and driving isn't one of them. Designate a sober driver ahead of time, or call a friend or family member. You could also use public transportation, or call a taxi. The cost of cab fare is nothing compared to a $10,000 DUI or the cost of someone's life, and the ‘inconvenience' of not driving your own car home is nothing compared to the inconvenience of spending the holidays behind bars. In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, Deputy Chief Terry Gerhardstein is asking all to drive safely during this holiday period and be especially alert to drunk drivers on the roadway. If you see a drunk driver on the road, do not hesitate and dismiss what you are seeing. Report Drunk Drivers - Call 911! - as soon as safely possible. Your decision to report a drunk driver could save someone's life and make the roadways safe for all. The December holiday period usually includes parties and other social functions that involve drinking. We encourage all to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends and in doing so drink responsibly if you desire. If someone you know is about to drive after they have been drinking, please do us all a favor and take their keys and try to get them home safely. We in law enforcement want to work with the community during this holiday season and year-round to reduce and eliminate the senseless act of drunk driving” Some startling data from NHTSA shows that during the holiday season in 2012, 40 percent of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior DUI on their record. And many offenders are young drivers: during that same holiday period 37 percent of the 21 to 24-year old drivers in fatal crashes were impaired. Surprisingly, almost 1 out of 6 drivers under the age of 21 in those fatal crashes were also drunk, even though they're too young to legally buy or consume alcohol. The Avoid the 20 DUI Task Force advises Monterey and San Benito County drivers follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy: • Under the right conditions, even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, the risk of having a crash. • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins. • If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation. Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Avoid the 20 DUI Task Force funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Office of Traffic Safety is offering a free mobile app – DDVIP – aimed at thanking the sober designated driver with perks and free offers at area bars and restaurants.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Deceased Body Found

Release Date/Time: 12/2/2014 4:39 PM

Incident: Deceased Body Found

Report #: 14-111394

Date: Tuesday, 12/2/2014

Time: 12:42 PM

Location: Pocket Park, Harden Pkwy / McKinnon

Jesus Villa-Gomez (59) was reported missing on 11/29/14. Family members found a suicide note and said he was distraught over specific issues. This afternoon, a nephew of Villa-Gomez was searching the pocket park adjacent to El Dorado Park and discovered Villa-Gomez's body in some bushes. It appears that Villa-Gomez took his own life. Salinas Police Detectives and the Monterey County Coroner responded and at this point, foul play is not suspected.

Release Authorized by: Sheldon Bryan

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Salinas Police Department Wins Grant to Buy Body Cameras

Release Date/Time: 12/1/2014 11:00 AM

Incident: Salinas Police Department Wins Grant to Buy Body Cameras

Date: Monday, 12/1/2014

Time: 11:00 AM

Location: Salinas Police Department

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO

Telephone: (831) 998-3000

The Salinas Police Department will be able to go ahead with a longstanding plan to equip its officers with body worn cameras, thanks to a $100,000 grant by the nonprofit Monterey Peninsula Foundation.

The grant was announced by Police Chief Kelly McMillin at a press conference today at the police department.

"We are delighted and grateful to receive this generous gift from the Foundation," said Chief McMillin. "Body worn cameras are a proven tool for supporting accuracy, accountability and transparency. Those are critical priorities for us, for the public and for the all-important relationship between us."

The Foundation's grant will be augmented by more than $49,000 in discretionary funds previously made available by the Bureau of State and Community Corrections under Assembly Bill 109, the public safety realignment measure that allows for the transfer of low-level offenders from state to local incarceration.

The Chief has wanted to buy body cameras for the department since he was appointed to his current role in 2011, but was prevented by the severe budget constraints faced by both the Department and the City.

In June, he applied to the Monterey Peninsula Foundation for grant funding, and the MPF board recently voted to approve the application.

With the grant money in hand, the Police Department will now move forward in choosing from among a variety of systems offered by different manufacturers.

'We're primarily looking for reliability, resolution, security and cost-effectiveness,” said Commander Mike Groves, whose duties include forensic technology. 'We've been testing alternatives for about three months, so we're already well on our way. We expect to take a recommendation to the City Council within the next two to three months.”

Body worn cameras attach to an officer's uniform and record everything he or she does during an interaction with a member of the public. The recording is then transferred to a secure server after the officer's shift. In order to protect both evidence integrity and the public's privacy rights, access to the footage is tightly controlled, and no one is able to access or alter it unnoticed.

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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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