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New officers sworn in; two canines to be added to patrol

Martinez Chief of Police Manjit Sappal. (COURTESY / On File)
Martinez Chief of Police Manjit Sappal. (COURTESY / On File)
By MANJIT SAPPAL
Martinez Chief of Police

Swearing in ceremony
We added to our staff this month, with the hiring of another police officer, Eric Broussard, who was sworn in on April 18, 2016.

Officer Broussard recently graduated from the police academy and we welcome him to the City of Martinez.

He has a strong background in serving the community through coaching high school football and he will be a great fit for the police department.

We introduced and had a swearing in ceremony for him, as well as Officers Evan Tozier and Ricky Vasquez at the City Council meeting on April 20. We also introduced two recently hired dispatchers, Megan Magers-Rankin and Stephanie Cooley, along with newly hired Cadet Michelle Magana.

Canine patrol
As we increase staffing, we will be adding two canines to our Patrol Bureau. We have been fortunate to have received donations to fund the program and we recently received $1,000 from the Contra Costa County Kennel Club – we want to thank everyone for their generosity.

Snapshots of police activity over the last month

Here are some snapshots of activity over the past month:

• Officer Breinig observed a U-Haul truck on Highway 4 at 680 having difficulties staying in the lane. He initiated a traffic stop. The driver smelled of alcohol and the female passenger was found to be on probation with a search and seizure clause.

During a search of the vehicle, Officer Breinig noticed the center console was loose. He removed the cup holder and found a loaded Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol that was found to have been stolen from an unreported burglary in Vallejo. A further search resulted in officers finding the following:

– A bullet proof vest;

– A loaded semi-automatic GSG-5 .22 rifle with 20 rounds of ammunition;

– A shoulder holster containing a loaded magazine for a Smith and Wesson firearm;

– A glass water pipe for smoking methamphetamine.

The driver of the U-Haul was arrested on multiple charges.

• Officers responded to the 3800 block of Vista Oaks Drive on a report of a suspect who punched his girlfriend multiple times in the face, causing great bodily injury.

The suspect fled the area on foot. The suspect is currently on parole and is outstanding.

• Officer Tozier arrested a subject on Foutainhead Court for elder abuse and financial fraud. Over a period of two years, the suspect stole approximately $45,000 in cash from the victim. The suspect was booked into Martinez Detention Facility.

• City workers were at the Harbor View Water Tower when they were approached by a man who pointed a shotgun at them. The suspect thought the workers were going to vandalize the water tower.

The suspect left the area and City workers called dispatch. Officer Miller and other officers responded, and Officer Miller located the suspect.

The suspect was arrested for driving under the influence and exhibiting a firearm. (A bb gun was found in the suspect’s vehicle. It resembled a shotgun.)

• Officer Russell was dispatched to a suspicious vehicle in the 200 block of Hidden Creek Court. She contacted the driver and he was in possession of a switch blade knife.

The driver was arrested and released with a citation.

• Officer Ramos was dispatched to Susana Street Park for possible shots fired. Officer Ramos located a witness who stated he heard a juvenile on the phone in a heated verbal conversation. The phone conversation ended and the juvenile met up with two other juveniles in the 1000 block of Estudillo Street. The three juveniles started walking south on Estudillo Street. A short time later, the juveniles ran back toward the 1000 block of Estudillo Street and the reporting party possibly heard one shot fired.

There were no shell casings located and no witnesses to an actual shot being fired. MPD units tried to locate the juveniles at the location in the 1000 block of Estudillo Street and there was no answer at the door. We called the hospital and there was no report of a gunshot victim.

• Officer Lekse initiated an enforcement stop of a vehicle on Arnold Drive at Sundance. He identified the driver and a consent search revealed .25 grams of methamphetamine in his vehicle. He was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of a methamphetamine pipe. He was released from the police department.

• Corporal Salamid observed a female parked in the parking lot of the Shell gas station on Pacheco Boulevard at Arthur Road. He knew she was on probation for drug violations with a search clause. He contacted her and a passenger and conducted a probation search. The search revealed 1.0 gram of methamphetamine in her purse. She was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and possession of a methamphetamine pipe.

• Pleasant Hill PD had a suspect flee on foot from a stolen vehicle on Riley Drive at Temple Drive. MPD Officers assisted with setting up a perimeter while a K9 attempted to track the suspect. Unfortunately, the suspect was not found.

• Officers responded to a report of a hit and run that occurred near the intersection of Court Street and Main Street. The caller/victim reported they were currently behind the suspect vehicle and had made it all the way to eastbound SR4 near Morello Avenue. Officers were able to catch up to the suspect and watched as the suspect was involved in another collision. The suspect was identified, and a hit and run investigation was conducted.

• Officer Vasquez contacted a male Antioch resident during a consensual vehicle contact in the parking lot of Chevron gas at Pacheco Boulevard at Arthur Road. The male was found to have an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The vehicle he was in was found to have paper license plates and further investigation revealed the car to be stolen. The subject was arrested for the warrant and for the possession of stolen property.

• Officer Vasquez noted an unoccupied green Ford Ranger parked in a parking stall near Pine Street and Sentinel Drive. Officer Vasquez recalled a similar vehicle being reported stolen and an investigation revealed the Ford pick-up truck stolen out of Concord.

• An Officer was checking on a homeless encampment when he slipped on uneven ground resulting in a fall. The Officer sustained an injury to his ribs during the incident.

• Officer Mayberry responded to an unresponsive female with no vital signs. He provided CPR until the fire department took over life saving efforts. The female ultimately regained her pulse and the Fire Captain from Consolidated Fire stated that Officer Mayberry’s actions were significant in saving the woman’s life.

• Officer Mayberry and other officers responded to Safeway in the 3000 block of Alhambra Avenue to a report of a male subject acting erratically. The subject was placed on a mental health evaluation hold and transported by ambulance.

We have been seeing an uptick in homelessness activity throughout the city. We are currently abating two encampments and will be increasing our presence to work with the homeless population to guide them into services.

In the event that you see any criminal activity, please do not hesitate to call dispatch at (925) 372-3440.

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