Press Releases

Cinco de Mayo DUI enforcement

Release Date/Time: 5/4/2017 9:27 AM

Incident: Cinco de Mayo DUI enforcement

Report #: N/A

Date: Thursday, 5/4/2017

Time: 9:26 AM

Location: City of Salinas

Cinco de Mayo has become a deadly holiday due to drunk and drugged driving. Forty people were killed in impaired driving crashes across the nation during the Cinco de Mayo holiday period in 2015.

Officers from the Salinas Police Department's DUI Enforcement Team will be deploying this weekend to stop and arrest alcohol and drug-impaired drivers. DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy on Friday, May 5th and Saturday, May 6th from 6pm until as late as 3am, in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests.

High Visibility Enforcement using both DUI checkpoints and DUI Saturation Patrols has proven to lower the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug impaired crashes. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized proactive DUI operations are conducted routinely.

From 2011-2015, 270 people were killed nationwide in impaired driving crashes during the Cinco de Mayo holiday period. In California, alcohol involved collisions led to 1,155 deaths and nearly 24,000 injuries in 2014 because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Over the course of the past three years in Salinas, Salinas Police have investigated 474 DUI collisions, which have claimed 4 lives and resulted in another 205 injuries.

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. 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. In recent years, California has seen a disturbing increase in drug-impaired driving crashes. The Salinas Police Department supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that 'DUI Doesn't Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.

Plan your sober ride home before the party begins this Cinco de Mayo. Drivers are encouraged to download the Designated Driver VIP, or 'DDVIP,” free mobile app for Android or iPhone. The DDVIP app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver, from free non-alcoholic drinks to free appetizers and more. The feature-packed app even has social media tie-ins and even a tab for the non-DD to call Uber, Lyft or Curb. The cost of a ride home is cheap!

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions and other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out.

Funding for this DUI operation is provided to 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

Distracted Driving Month results

Release Date/Time: 5/3/2017 10:42 AM

Incident: Distracted Driving Month results

Report #: n/a

Date: Wednesday, 5/3/2017

Time: 10:41 AM

Location: City of Salinas

Salinas PD Conducts Successful Distracted Driving Effort

Safety Message Strongly Enforced During the month of April

Motorists caught violating California's distracted-driving law received a clear message from law enforcement during the high-visibility enforcement campaign. 'Using a hand-held phone for calls, texting or apps while driving is something we all know is dangerous and wrong, but too many drivers are doing it anyway. So when we see it, we show zero tolerance,” said Traffic Sergeant Gerry Ross, Salinas Police Department.

Salinas PD issued 76 citations to violators of California's distracted-driving law during the recent enforcement period. The law provides that it is illegal to hold and use a cell phone while texting, calling or using the apps while driving. It must be affixed to the vehicle, may be operated in hands free mode using voice activation, or used with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver's finger.

'Distracted driving kills too many people for us to ignore the facts and pretend it's okay—it is never acceptable to text and drive,” said Ross. According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed nationwide, and another 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.

Offenders caught texting and driving will face tickets totaling at least $162, and higher for a second violations. Though the high-visibility enforcement effort is over, law enforcement officers will continue watching for distracted drivers to make sure all motorists keep their eyes on the road, and their hands on the wheel.

This campaign is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Bicycle Safety Month

Release Date/Time: 5/2/2017 12:14 PM

Incident: Bicycle Safety Month

Date: Tuesday, 5/2/2017

Time: 1:12 AM

Location: City of Salinas

The Salinas Police Department and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) today call upon bicycle riders and motorists alike to be cautious during May's National Bicycle Safety Month, and every other month during the year. For riders and drivers, "Roll Model" means actively decreasing the risks of traffic crashes, preventable injuries and deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 818 bicyclists died and over 45,000 were injured in crashes in 2015, with deaths rising over 12% from 2014 numbers. Over the 10-year period from 2006 to 2015, the average age of cyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes increased from 41 to 45. Alcohol involvement – either for the motor vehicle operator or for the cyclist – was reported in 37% of all fatal cy¬clist crashes in 2015.

'The Central Coast just might be the best place in the world for biking,” said Salinas PD Traffic Sergeant Gerry Ross. 'The weather is great and the scenery is beautiful. It's a great time for the whole family to strap on helmets and get some great exercise while having fun. But whether you are riding or driving, everyone needs to constantly be aware of bicycle safety, now more than ever.”

Salinas PD will be conducting a specialized Bicycle Safety Enforcement Operation patrols during the month in an effort to lower deaths and injuries. Extra officers will be patrolling areas frequented by bicyclists and where bicycle crashes occur.

California has the Move Over Law to share the road requiring motorist to pass bike riders with at least a 3-foot cushion. Support community efforts in your community, be involved in bicycle safety, whether while riding a bike, or driving a vehicle. Officers will focus on violations observed by both motorist and cyclist.

Salinas PD reminds everyone – Be a Roll Model:

Ride and Drive Focused - Never ride or drive distracted.

Ride and Drive Prepared - Always expect the unexpected.

Safety First - Always wear a bicycle helmet when on a bicycle and a seat belt when in a vehicle.

Know the Rules of the Road - A bicyclist is considered a vehicle on the road with all the rights and responsibilities of motorized traffic.

Share the Road - Both motorist and bicyclist should look out for each other and show mutual respect.

For more information on Bicycle Safety Month, please visit www.NHTSA.gov/bicycle-safety

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The message to all drivers and motorcyclists is: share in the responsibility and do your part by safely 'sharing the road.”

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Release Date/Time: 4/27/2017 9:50 AM

Incident: Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Report #: N/A

Date: Thursday, 4/27/2017

Time: 9:49 AM

Location: Salinas

May is Motorcycle Safety Month

Riders Urged to Get Trained and Ride Safe

Improving Motorcycle Safety Aim of SalinasPolice Department Operation

The Salinas Police Department is joining law enforcement statewide and across the United States in the National Motorcycle safety awareness month special enforcement operations. In addition, the California Motorcyclist Safety Program is offering special, low cost rider training classes during the month of May. Salinas PD will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation in May in an effort to lower deaths and injuries. Extra officers will be patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur. Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers and riders alike that can lead to motorcycle crashes. They will be cracking down on both those operating regular vehicles and motorcycles who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, making illegal turns, or any other dangerous violation.

The California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) training program is offering a 'Total Control Refresher Training” course during the month of May. This four-hour riding class is for experienced riders with a current motorcycle license. Riders will use their own street-legal motorcycle during the class taught by CMSP-certified Instructors at a cost of only $95. Log onto the CMSP website (http://cmsp.msi5.com) to register at a location near you.

California motorcycle fatalities saw a phenomenal drop of 37 percent from 2008 to 2010, but then rose 31 percent by 2015. Efforts like these are aimed at curbing any more rises in motorcycle deaths and sending the numbers back downward. Over the course of the past 5 years in Salinas, motorcycle involved collisions have resulted in 5 fatal and 65 injury crashes.

News Riders are urged to get basic training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information and training locations are available at http://www.californiamotorcyclist.com/ or 1-877 RIDE 411 (1-877-743-3411).

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The message to all drivers and motorcyclists is: share in the responsibility and do your part by safely 'sharing the road.”

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Missing Juvenile

Release Date/Time: 4/21/2017 7:07 PM

Incident: Missing Juvenile

Date: Friday, 4/21/2017

Time: 7:07 PM

Location: Homestead Ave and Central Ave

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Brian Johnson, Investigations Bureau

Telephone: 831-758-7128

Leilani Gonzales was last seen on April 19, 2017 near Central Park in Salinas.  She was on her way home in the area and never made it home.  She was last seen wearing a grey sweathsirt, black jeans and black shoes.  If seen, contact the Salinas Police Department at 831-758-7321.

 

No Tolerance Day

Release Date/Time: 4/21/2017 8:53 AM

Incident: No Tolerance Day

Report #: N/A

Date: Friday, 4/21/2017

Time: 8:52 AM

Location: City of Salinas

April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This year the Salinas Police Department designated, yesterday, April 20th as a special No Tolerance Day. The Department deployed four motor officers and two officers in patrols cars on grant funded overtime to spend the day concentrating on enforcing cell phone violations. A motor officer from Marina PD joined these officers, and patrol officers working a beat kept an eye out for cell phone violations.

The officers on overtime wrote 31 citations for cell phone use, 29 citations for texting, and 2 citations for a driver under 18 years of age using a cell phone. One of the drivers had a suspended license and another was driving while unlicensed. The officers working patrol wrote another 17 cell phone violations for a total of 79 distracted driving violations. Several other tickets were written for other violations.

'This is by far the most cell phone violations written in Salinas in one day, 'said Sergeant Gerry Ross. 'We would love to hit the street and not find anyone using their cell phone illegally, but apparently, drivers are not listening to the message. Distracted Driving kills and hurts people. Hold that call or you will be holding a ticket.”

Assembly Bill 1785 went into effect on January 1, requiring all drivers in California to keep their cell phone out of their hands while operating a motor vehicle. Under the new law, a driver may activate or deactivate a feature or function of the cell phone or wireless communication device by swiping or tapping its screen only if it is properly mounted or not being held in a driver's hand.

Sergeant Ross said that a driver, who is violating the law and causes a death as a result of a collision, could be charged with Vehicular Manslaughter. 'It is too tempting to answer the phone when you get a call or a test,” he said. 'Turn off your phone before getting in the car and make a commitment to yourself that you will not use your phone while driving.”

First time violators will be paying fines of $162. This operation was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Homicide Update

Release Date/Time: 4/6/2017 12:57 PM

Incident: Homicide Update

Date: Wednesday, 4/5/2017

Time: 12:00 AM

Location: 236 Dennis Ave

The Salinas Police Department recieved information from the Monterey County Sheriff's Coroner's Office, that the second victim from the 3/25/17 shooting on Dennis Ave, Rutilio Salvador Vega (33), has succumed to his injuries.  Vega is the 15th homicide victim of the year.

 

******Original News Release and Update**********

Homicide/Attempted Homicide

Release Date/Time: 3/26/2017 3:56 AM

Incident: Homicide/Attempted Homicide

Date: Saturday, 3/25/2017

Time: 11:07 PM

Location: 200 Blk of Dennis Ave.

On Saturday, March 25, 2017, at approximately 11:07 PM, we received a ShotSpotter activation stating there was 23 gunshots fired in the 200 block of Dennis Ave. A short time later, the reports of shots fired started to come in from residents in the area. As officers arrived, they were advised of a victim of a shooting at a residence. When the officers arrived, they found a 31-year-old male, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. In the backyard of the same residence, officers found a 33-year-old male victim also suffering from gunshot wounds. Salinas Fire and American Medical Response (AMR) arrived and pronounced victim 1 deceased. They ultimately transported the second victim to Natividad Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

It appears the victims, who are cousins, were in the driveway of the residence drinking beer when two suspects confronted them. It is unknown if anything was said prior to the suspects pulling out guns and opening fire. Victim 2 was able to run into the backyard even though he had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Both victims lived in Salinas and have no gang contacts. They both were said to work in the fields so the motive for the shooting is unknown. The suspects fled on foot westbound on Dennis and may have gotten into a vehicle near the intersection of Dennis Ave. and Miami St. No other information was provided as to where the vehicle went from there. The only description of the suspects was two males dressed in dark clothing.

The name of the deceased victim is being withheld until proper notification can be made to family members. Although the victims are not associated with any gangs, this shooting is indicative of being committee by gang members, therefore, is being investigated as gang related. This is the 13th homicide in the City of Salinas this year.

The Investigations Bureau is asking anyone who may have seen the shooting or has any knowledge of the shooting to call Detective Rudy Roman at (831) 758-7270 or Detective Arlene Currier at (831) 758-7125. 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.

Homicide Victim Identification

Release Date/Time: 3/28/2017 2:38 PM

Incident: Homicide Victim Identification

Date: Tuesday, 3/28/2017

Time: 1:36 PM

Location: 200 Blk of Dennis Ave.

The victim killed in the Saturday night, March 25th, shooting on Dennis Ave. has been identified as 31-year-old Fidencio Torres-Vega of Salinas. Torres-Vega was shot as he visited with his cousin in the driveway of a residence on Dennis Ave. At least two gunmen approached Torres-Vega and his cousin and shot them several times. It is unknown if there was some type of confrontation prior to the shooting. The suspects were described as males, dressed in dark clothing. They were last seen running southbound on Dennis Ave. at Miami St.

 

 

Release Authorized by: Stan Cooper, Commander

Telephone: (831) 758-7350

Attempted Homicide Arrest

Release Date/Time: 4/5/2017 4:22 PM

Incident: Attempted Homicide

Date: Wednesday, 4/5/2017

Time: 4:22 PM

Location: 1301 North Davis Road

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Brian Johnson, Investigations Bureau

Telephone: 831-758-7128

On March 27, 2017, at approximately 9:20pm, officers were dispatched to a victim of a shooting at the Applebee's Restaurant, located at 1301 North Davis Road.  Patrol officers arrived and found a 27-year-old male suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Patrol officers investigated the incident and obtained enough suspect information to determine the shooter had fled the scene toward Highway 101. With the assistance of the CHP Helicopter, 34-year-old Royce Curl was located a short time later and taken in to custody. He was lodged at the Monterey County Jail for attempted murder and other charges.

During the investigation, Patrol officers and detectives reviewed video from the restaurant.  The video shows several males were involved in a discussion near the front of the restaurant.  The group walked through the doors towards the parking lot.  As Curl exited the building, he turned and fired several rounds towards the restaurant.  Surveillance video showed customers in the crowded restaurant trying to take cover from the shots being fired in their direction.  The victim was hit several times. During the review of the video, officers discovered a second shooter had exited the restaurant after Curl and fired gunshots at Curl as he fled through the crowded parking lot. Somehow, no other people were injured during the shootout.

The Investigations Bureau authored an arrest warrant for 27-year-old Timothy Hampton.  Hampton was contacted near the Salinas Police Department on April 4th and taken into custody without incident.  He was lodged in Monterey County Jail for attempted murder, assault with a firearm, and negligent discharge of a firearm.

The Investigations Bureau is asking anyone who may have seen the shooting or has any knowledge of the shooting to call Detective Jared Sivertson at (831) 758-7132 or Detective Derek Gibson at (831) 758-7442. 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.

Distracted Driving Month

Release Date/Time: 3/31/2017 2:43 PM

Incident: Distracted Driving Month

Report #: N/A

Date: Friday, 3/31/2017

Time: 1:42 PM

Location: City of Salinas

WORKING TOGETHER TO STOP DISTRACTED DRIVING

April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In California, the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the Salinas Police Department, CHP, local law enforcement, and community partners throughout the state are working together to make the roads safer by highlighting the dangers of being distracted while driving, especially by cell phones. 'Law enforcement would rather see everyone off their cell phones than hand out a lot of tickets,” said Rhonda Craft, director of the Office of Traffic Safety. 'Take care of calling, texting, setting your GPS and everything else before you hit the street.”

Lawmakers agree that distracted driving continues to be a growing problem among California's motorists. Assembly Bill 1785 went into effect on January 1, requiring all drivers in California to keep their cell phone out of their hands while operating a motor vehicle. Under the new law, a driver may activate or deactivate a feature or function of the cell phone or wireless communication device by swiping or tapping its screen only if it is properly mounted or not being held in a driver's hand. Specific information on the new law can be found at www.ots.ca.gov.

The Office of Traffic Safety will begin a new public awareness campaign throughout the state in April emphasizing how the new law makes virtually all hand-held cell phone activity illegal – talking, texting, and using apps The campaign aims to end distracted driving through education and raise awareness about the associated dangers. The goal is to change motorist behaviors and save lives, not just in the month of April but year-round.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers in 2015. That is a 9 percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year. Salinas PD will join other law enforcement agencies throughout the state to provide educational experiences as well as zero tolerance enforcement efforts to discourage distracted driving. Officers will have a special emphasis this month on enforcing all cell phone and distracted driving laws. The goal is to gain voluntary compliance by drivers, but sometimes citations are necessary for motorists to better understand the importance of driving distraction free.

Salinas PD is deploying extra traffic officers with grant-funded resources on several different dates in city locations with the highest numbers of traffic collisions. Violators will be stopped and cited with fines set at $162 for first time offenders. This campaign is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Homicide Arrest

Today at approximately 10:30 am, members of the Salinas Police SWAT Team and Salinas Police Investigations Bureau served an arrest and search warrant in the 500 block of Santa Maria St. seeking to arrest Charles Gutierrez (25) for the August 7, 2015 murder of Eliot Cerna Guerrero (22) in the parking lot of 150 Sherwood Dr.  At the time of the original incident, Detectives had very limited information, and what turned out to be a partially sanitized crime scene.  The victims were exiting the mobile home park in a vehicle when they were approached by a group who began challenging them for their gang affiliation.  As the victims attempted to speed away, Gutierrez pulled a handgun and began firing, striking Cerna as he sat in the car.  Cerna's friends drove him to the hospital; however, he succumbed to his wounds a short time later.  While Gutierrez' name came up early in the investigation, Detectives have been reviewing evidence and tracking down witnesses over the course of the subsequent 1 1/2 years, and were eventually able to bring forth sufficient evidence to the District Attorney's Office to have a $1.25million warrant issued for his arrest.  Today's warrant service was conducted to not only locate and arrest Gutierrez for the homicide, but also to seek additional possible evidence.  Upon arriving on scene, SWAT and Detectives surrounded and called Gutierrez out of his residence; he was taken into custody without incident and later booked into Monterey County Jail for the warrant.

***********Original Release**********

Homicide and Attempted Homicide

Release Date/Time: 8/8/2015 2:49 PM

Incident: Homicide and Attempted Homicide

Date: Friday, 8/7/2015

Time: 10:02 PM



Location: 150 Sherwood Dr.

NMC contacted the police department for a gunshot victim who had arrived in the emergency room.  The victim, Eliot Cerna Guererro (22) was driven to the emergency room by family members.  Guererro died shortly after his arrival. It is believed at this point in the investigation, the shooting occurred at 150 Sherwood Drive.  The victims were confronted by several gang members who challenged the victims about their gang affiliation.  The surviving victim attempted to drive away to avoid a confrontation when the suspect(s) blindly fired upon the vehicle shooting and killing Guererro and narrowly missing a juvenile who was seated behind the victim.  This is being investigated as a gang related homicide although the victim had no apparent gang ties.  If anyone may have witnessed the homicide or can provide information, they are encouraged to contact Detective Derek Gibson at 758-7442.

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Question of the Day

What can I do if I see a car parked in my neighborhood which I think may be abandoned?

The City of Salinas has people specifically designated to handle abandoned vehicles and long-term parking problems. These problems are generally handled on a complaint basis. The abandoned vehicle office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. The phone number, day or night, is (831) 758-7316.

The following information will help you determine whether or not a vehicle has been abandoned or is a long-term parking problem:

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