August 26, 2014

School Starts Tomorrow...Let's Make This Year a Safe Commute School Year!

Hard to believe.....but summer is coming to a screeching halt.  In case you haven't stocked up on lunch supplies, backpacks and's a reminder!!!
Most Santa Cruz City Schools start tomorrow (Wednesday August 27th)
In just a few weeks, UCSC will be starting classes too.  What this likely means to you is that you will experience more traffic in your morning and afternoon commutes.  This increased traffic comes in all varieties; vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.  
Traffic safety and safe school commutes are a priority issue for the Santa Cruz Police Department.   Our traffic officers are dedicated to ensuring school zones that are safe from aggressive and unsafe driving practices.  
We will be increasing our presence and traffic enforcement around our school zones, so you will be seeing more of this:
Don't let your driving habits give you cause to meet these guys!
They will be out in force to help ensure our school commutes are safe!! 
Here are a few common violations we see around the schools:
  • Speeding (parents late for drop off or pickup)
  • Illegal parking (parents late for drop off or pickup and not willing to walk from a distance)
  • Illegal turns (parents trying to get that coveted up-close drop off/pick up location)
  • Stop Sign Violations
  • Not yielding to pedestrians
  • Pedestrians crossing unsafely
It is our hope that commuters engage in safe and courteous habits to avoid experiencing an enforcement action.  Some tips to help your commute:
  • Leave in plenty of time and anticipate heavier than usual traffic
  • Be aware of school zones and traveled routes to school
  • Be courteous and respectful to all traffic
  • Be respectful to neighbors of schools avoiding parking in their driveways or parking lots without their permission
We encourage all commuters to develop safe and courteous habits and help us ensure this school year is a safe one.  If you have any questions or concerns about traffic safety in your school zone, please contact our Traffic Unit Sergeant @ (831) 420-5850. 

August 25, 2014

Another Gun and Felons off the Streets

All in a Day’s Work for the SCPD Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET).  Another felon and another gun off the streets thanks to their hard work and street savvy.   

Last week NET was working a surveillance detail when... out of the blue, they spotted our suspect Mr. Jeremy Pineda - 32 years old. 

Mr. Pineda is known to our officers as someone with a long criminal history chalked full of felony convictions, including auto theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  He’s a legitimate Probation All Star. 

Our officers stopped Mr. Pineda and found he had a warrant out of Santa Clara County.  A subsequent search of his car found a loaded .45 caliber handgun.  Turns out, the handgun was stolen in May during a residential burglary here in Santa Cruz.    

Mr. Pineda was arrested and booked into jail for his outstanding warrant, and a host of gun charges to include being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Thankfully, the on-call judge granted our request for a bail increase from $50,000 to $200,000.   

While we were at it, we contacted Mr. Pineda’s female acquaintance, Ms. Fallon Feurtado – 23 year old. 

She too is on probation 2x over for drug convictions.  She was subject to search as a term of her probation so we obliged and searched her motel room at the Mission Inn.  We found heroin and paraphernalia in the room.  Ms. Feurtado was booked into jail for violating her probation and drug possession charges. 

August 22, 2014

Suspect Arrested in Gang Motivated Stabbing

Santa Cruz Police Department Detectives made an arrest in a gang-related stabbing that occurred on August 17th at approximately 10:55 PM.  The stabbing took place at an apartment complex in the 100 block of Sycamore St.  

Our patrol officers were first notified of this stabbing when the victim arrived at the Dominican Hospital Emergency Room.  The victim is a 23 year old Santa Cruz resident.  He walked into the Emergency room under his own power and reported the stabbing to hospital staff.  The wound was substantial and life threatening.  The victim was immediately taken into surgery and is recovering.    

With limited information, our officers were able to locate the crime scene.  Detectives were called in to assist in the investigation and have been working on the case since. 

Investigators followed up on leads and were able to identify the suspect as:

Anselmo Castillo – 23 years, Watsonville resident
Mr. Castillo is also a Watsonville "Norteno" gang member. 

Detectives were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Mr. Castillo charging him with Assault with a Deadly Weapon and a Criminal Street Gang Enhancement. 

Detectives stayed hot on the trail.  On August 20th at approximately 4:30 PM they tracked Mr. Castillo to a home on Linden Rd in Watsonville.  Mr. Castillo surrendered without incident and was taken into custody.   

Fantastic work by the initial responding patrol team, and great follow up by the Investigation team to identify and track down our suspect. 

August 20, 2014

Great Patrol Work Takes 2 Guns and 3 Suspects Off The Streets

Over the past week, our patrol teams have taken two guns off the streets from gangsters.

The first case involved our Neighborhood Enforcement Team tracking down a suspect with a felony drug warrant.  The suspect, Andrew Villa was found in an apartment in the 300 block of Cliff Street.   After taking him into custody, a search of his belongings discovered this unregistered .22 caliber revolver. 

Mr. Villa was booked into jail for his warrant, being a felon in possession of a firearm, as well as the enhancement for being involved in a criminal street gang.  Here is his booking photo
Mr. Villa is a Sureno gang member.  Mr. Villa is a 19 year old Santa Cruz resident.  

In the second case, our officer spotted a known Sureno gang member and gang associate near Ocean and Broadway.  Our officer knew the gangster, Mr. Jonathan Luis and also knew he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. 

Our officer contacted Mr. Luis and his juvenile associate.  Mr. Luis was arrested for his warrant.    
 Mr. Luis is an 18 year old Santa Cruz resident. 

The young Padawan (on his way to being a full-fledged, card-carrying gangster) was contacted for what we call a “Field Interview”.  That’s where we document who they are, tattoos, gang clothing, associates, etc. 

Thankfully, our officer searched the juvenile because in his waistband was this loaded .22 caliber revolver with the serial number removed. 
 Once we discovered the gun, the fight was on.  Our officer successfully restrained the suspect and removed the firearm. 

We won’t identify him, because he is a 15 year old juvenile, but rest assured his conduct is every bit as concerning as any adult.  The juvenile was booked into Juvenile Hall for being in possession of a loaded firearm, as well as being in possession of a firearm that has the serial numbers removed. The juvenile is a 15 year old Watsonville resident. 

Once again, great intuition and follow through by our patrol teams; taking dangerous people and weapons off the streets.   

August 18, 2014

Six Arrested in Drug Sales Sting

It is so good to have the staffing to bring back our Neighborhood Enforcement Team.  The team is making an impact and paying dividends with their hard work! 

On Friday last week our team was back at it.  This time conducting a drug sales sting.   Their efforts resulted in the arrest of six people for selling methamphetamine to undercover officers. 

Here is what we did:

Posing as buyers, our officers focused on the Harvey West area and the top of Ocean Street.  Officers purchased various quantities of methamphetamine from street level sellers in these areas.  Sometime after the deal was done, arrest teams swooped in and arrested the sellers.   

Here are the arrestees:

Kevin Jones, 42 years – County resident, a felony probationer.  Mr Jones sold us methamphetamine at Harvey West Park

Kathryn Gibbons, 32 years – Transient, a state parolee and felony probationer.  Ms. Gibbons sold us methamphetamine at Grant Street Park

Paul Ensminger, 49 years – County resident.  Mr. Ensminger both conspired and sold us an amount of methamphetamine in the area of the 200blk of Coral Street

Anthony Rodriguez, 52 years – Santa Cruz resident.  Mr. Rodriguez both conspired and sold an amount of methamphetamine in the area of the 200blk of Coral Street

John Burke, 55 years – Santa Cruz resident.  Mr. Burke both conspired and sold an amount of methamphetamine at Harvey West Park

James Beck, 45 years – Santa Cruz resident, a felony probationer, both conspired and sold an amount of methamphetamine at Harvey West Park

Note to Drug Sellers........Our Neighborhood Enforcement Team will be back!!! 

July 28, 2014

Who's Cooler Than a Slurpee on a Hot Summer Day

 We are teaming up with our local 7–Eleven Stores® for “Operation Chill”.  This program promotes positive interactions and reinforce good behavior with the kids in our community during a non-enforcement contacts.    

Here’s How it Works: 

Courtesy of 7–Eleven, officers are hitting the streets with “Operation Chill” coupons.  When officers observe kids exhibiting good behavior, they can issue an “Operation Chill” coupon.  The coupons are good for a FREE small Slurpee® drink at any one of the four 7–Eleven Stores in the City of Santa Cruz.

Special thanks to each of these stores for participating in the program.  The locations are:

367 Ocean Street
218 Cardiff Place
602 Laurel Street
2429 Mission Street

Examples of behavior that will get a coupon are wearing safety helmets, observing traffic safety rules, good citizenship and good deeds, being “brave” after a traffic collision or other emergency event, etc. 

The officers enjoy having something positive to reward the kids, and the kids are as excited as this photo of Sergeant Jones on the cover of the Slurpee machine box when he was a kid.  
Coincidence.....we think not!!

For all you adults who are thinking about creative ways to pose as a kid to get your hands on one of these......just know, we're wise to your disguise!!

Since its inception in 1995, Operation Chill has allowed police departments to issue more than 12.5 million coupons, or “tickets” to kids in communities throughout the country.  That's a serious amount of Alienade and Berry Citrus Slam, or Mountain Dew Blue Shock!!!!  

The program has helped promote positive relationships while reinforcing good behavior and safety habits. 

The program will last for as long as the coupons do.  The coupons expire December 31, 2014.