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Chief speaks on academy, Lt. Roth’s training, crime & more

Chief-Sappal-rgb
Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal. (ON FILE)

By MANJIT SAPPAL
Martinez Chief of Police

On Jan. 11 we kicked off our first 10 week Community Police Academy with 24 participants that will be exposed to a variety of information about the Martinez Police Department and the services that we provide. We had a great group attend and have had two classes so far. The most recent class featured a mock dispatch center and allowed the group to gather insight on the important and difficult job that dispatchers face each day as they gather information from the public and guide officers in responding to community concerns; these concerns run the gamut from emergencies to non-police related issues, but the dispatchers are committed to trying to get people help during their time of need.

On another positive note, we are proud of the fact that Lieutenant Aaron Roth was selected to attend the FBI National Academy for 10 weeks of management training. The FBI National Academy is an elite management program that accepts about 1 percent of all police executives, worldwide. The selection involves a thorough vetting process; there are limited spots available for each region that falls under the purview of a local FBI office, both in the United States and abroad. The courses typically have police representatives from all over the world.

Lieutenant Aaron Roth of the Martinez Police Department. (ON FILE)
Lieutenant Aaron Roth of the Martinez Police Department. (ON FILE)

Lieutenant Roth was selected to attend and will receive 10 weeks of training in Quantico, Virginia, with all costs associated with training, housing, and meals paid for by the FBI. While we hope he is enjoying his training, we would like to point out that his inbox is getting heavily stacked and he will have plenty of tasks and assignments on which he can apply his new found knowledge when he returns!

As far as crime is concerned, we have seen an uptick in property crimes, as have other nearby jurisdictions, over the last part of 2015. While this is a concern, it is also an opportunity to remember to take precautions to prevent from being a victim in the first place. Keeping your doors and windows locked, calling in suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, and looking out for your neighbors can go a long way towards preventing crime. If something or someone does not look right in your neighborhood, please call us so we can check things out.

I have heard people tell me that sometimes they see someone they do not recognize walking through their neighborhood and while they are concerned, they do not feel that it rises to the level to warrant a police response. I would encourage all of you to call us if you are concerned, so we can check into the issue. It may result in us verifying that there is nothing to worry about or it may provide us with a lead on a crime that has occurred – it may also help prevent a crime as anyone up to mischief now knows that the residents in the neighborhood are paying attention and this might not be the area in which to commit a crime.

In an effort to push crime prevention information out to the community, we recently created a Crime Prevention link on our police department webpage accessed at www.mpdcops.org.

I want to thank everyone involved in putting the information together and I especially want to thank Renee Jacobs, our Administrative Secretary, for putting the information online. We will be updating the site over time to provide information to help prevent victimization. While most of the information is basic, it serves as a good reminder to practice the basics of crime prevention, so we do not let criminals gain the upper hand.

We had two major crimes of note [last] month. The first was a shooting on Fountainhead Court that took place on Jan. 9 at 11:14 a.m. The victim and the suspect were involved in an argument over a business deal when the suspect shot the victim in the foot. One of five of the gunshots struck a nearby house and fortunately, no one else was injured. We do have the suspect identified and we have a warrant for their arrest. The case is currently under investigation.

The second significant violent crime was a robbery at Wing Stop, 1029 Arnold Drive, on Jan. 14 at 10:30 p.m. Two suspects entered the business, brandished knives at the cashier, and fled after robbing the store. We do not know if the suspects fled on foot or got into a car to make their getaway. Wing Stop has surveillance cameras and captured images of the suspects that we posted on the Martinez Police Department’s Facebook page – please take a look and let us know if you recognize them or if you have seen them before. One of the suspects was described as a Hispanic male in his 20s wearing a black jacket, grey hoodie, and blue jeans. The second suspect was described as a Hispanic male approximately 20 years of age wearing a red jacket, black beanie, and black jeans.

On a final note, we are working on hiring personnel and have several people in the final stages of the testing process for police officer and police dispatcher. We hope to continue with hiring in an effort to expand our capabilities and keep Martinez safe.

This message originally appeared in the February 2016 City newsletter, and is re-printed here with permission. To view the newsletter, visit http://cityofmartinez.org.

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