August 26, 2015

Vandalism Arrest

On the morning of August 25, 2015, it was reported that several acts of vandalism occurred to the sidewalk of Pacific Avenue in Downtown. The vandalism consisted of spray painted markings in 33 different locations throughout the Downtown.

The vandalism consisted of square corners painted on the sidewalk and were designed to imitate actual city authorized markings that designate areas where the public can legally display items. The suspects appeared to deliberately imitate the authorized city markings in an attempt to expand the number of locations where individuals can legally display items along the Pacific Avenue sidewalk.
During our investigation, the Santa Cruz Police Department obtained video surveillance of the suspects caught in the act of painting additional unauthorized “blue corners” along Pacific Avenue. Officers were able to identify Abbi Samuels and Jonathan “Keith” McHenry in video clips. The video clearly shows the two carrying paint and template supplies. The video also depicts Mr. McHenry in the act of spray painting the city sidewalk.

Abbi Samuels
Jonathan “Keith” McHenry 
The vandalism was located in the 1200, 1300, 1400 and1500 blocks of Pacific Av and on the southeast corner of Soquel and Pacific. The City’s Economic Development Department is responsible for mapping and keeping track of the actual locations authorized for public displays along the Pacific Avenue sidewalk. They were notified of the vandalism and representatives toured the Downtown to verify which markings were unauthorized.
The investigation determined that the vandals painted 33 squares on the sidewalk throughout the Downtown. The estimated cleanup cost is approximately $950.

In addition to vandalizing the city sidewalks, the act undermines the city’s program to establish safe, orderly and fair use of the Downtown sidewalk space. Display outside of designated zones along the sidewalk of Pacific Avenue is prohibited and governed under Santa Cruz Municipal Code Sections 5.43.005 and 5.43.020.
Mr. McHenry was arrested on the sidewalk near City Hall by Santa Cruz Police Officers on August 25, 2015 at approximately 10:48 PM. Ms. Samuels was arrested approximately one hour later near the same location. Both were booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on charges of Felony Vandalism, and Conspiracy to Commit a Crime.

August 25, 2015

School is Back in Session......Please Drive Safely and Courteously

Tomorrow morning our Santa Cruz City elementary & middle schools will start back up for classes.  Please be mindful of the school commute!  Our high schools are in session and in a few weeks, UCSC will be starting classes too.  We 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 that school zones safe from aggressive and unsafe driving practices. 
To help ensure our school commutes are safe, we will have increased presence around the school zones during the first month of school operations.  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 by 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 20, 2015

Local Photographer Captures Snapshot of SCPD’s Good Work

Thank you Tarmo for Note & Photo!

On Tuesday August 18th, at approximately 9:30am, a Santa Cruz Police Officer responded to a call in the area of Soquel Avenue and Park Way for a welfare check on a suspected intoxicated woman lying on the ground. While in route to the location, Dispatch advised that another citizen had called to report a disturbance at the same location. This caller/ witness reported hearing calls for help and went to assist the woman. The victim, a women described that a man standing nearby had harassed her, rummaged through her belongings and took some items.

The suspect man, later identified as Nolan West, age 24 from Lompico CA, was agitated, shirtless and pacing erratically near a bus stop on a high traffic street. When questioned by the officer, Mr. West responses were incoherent and he began to demonstrate increasingly violent behaviors. West continued to refuse and/or could not make sense of the request to be detained.

Out of concern for Mr. West and the public’s safety, additional officers responded and assisted with the arrest of the Nolan West for 211 PC; Robbery and 148(a) PC; Resisting Arrest.  Due to the suspects resistance with Officers, The Wrap was utilized during this incident. The WRAP is a safety restraint, designed to protect subjects, officers and staff by reducing the possibility of injury. The WRAP is designed to restrain a person in a more comfortable seated upright position.

Tarmo Hannula - Photographer with the Registar Pajaronian happened to be nearby the scene as it unfolded. This is the message and photo shown above that we received from him. “ These officers were up against a violently out of control man (most likely methed out?) this morning at Soquel Ave. at Park Way. He fought every inch of the way following some form of attempted robbery of a female (I think). Though his resistance was fierce, smashing his head on the sidewalk, etc., the officers remained calm, telling him to relax, that they were trying to help him, not hurt him. It appeared nothing but professional to me, right in the middle of a very volatile situation. Quite scary! From my point of view it seemed like these officers handled this extremely well. The officer at the left did an outstanding job of verbally working this guy down, using smart and effective language to defuse things. The man was safely put into an ambulance. Thought you'd like to know. Tarmo”

Thank you Tarmo for recognizing SCPD's efforts and for taking the time to send us the note and photo. This is an everyday snapshot example of the good work SCPD officers do.

August 13, 2015

Open Now: Applications for the Next Citizens Police Academy

Don’t miss out on one of our highlight programs here at Santa Cruz Police Department.  Our next Citizen's Academy starts in mid-September and ends in November. 
Each participant will get 11 DYNAMIC sessions of behind the scenes knowledge and action as you hang out with the likes of our narcotics officers, traffic officers, K-9 Officers and their four-legged partners, detectives, dispatchers, Emergency Services Unit Tactical Team aka SWAT, and  Chief Vogel.  

  •  You will meet the amazing men and women who work hard to keep your city safe.
  • -      You will check out our motorcycles.
  • -      You will shoot our guns.
  • -      You will drive our cars.
  • -      You will catch “bad guys”. (Pretend bad guys)

Send an email to Officer Joe Hernandez or give him a call so he can get the process started with you.  

August 6, 2015

4th Annual Santa Cruz Family Fair - Saturday August 15th

Bring the family, come on out and play!
This is a free family community event designed to increase awareness within our community about neighborhood organizations and resources available at Mercy Housing. We believe that making the community a better place is just as important as building a home. We support our residents with the resources they need to be good neighbors and members of a greater community.

What: 4th Annual Santa Cruz Family Fair
When: Saturday August 15, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Evergreen Picnic Area, Harvey West Park

Join us for carnival games, BBQ, bouncy house, swimming, dunk tank, live music, face painting, field games, prizes and more!
This fantastic event is sponsored by; Santa Cruz Police Department, Mercy Housing, City of Santa Cruz Parks & Rec, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Teen Center and San Jose State University Nursing Program.
We look forward to having our community members join us for the 4th Annual Santa Cruz Family Fair.

August 3, 2015

Help Identify Suspect in Child Annoying Case

The Santa Cruz Police Department is asking for the public’s help to identify this suspect wanted in connection to a Child Annoying case.
The suspect is described as a white male about 5 feet 8” with medium build. He is in his late 60s with white hair. He was wearing a cowboy hat and sleeveless shirt at the time of the incident.

The incident occurred on Monday July 13, 2015 about 5:10pm. Witnesses reported that the suspect was taking pictures of a naked 7-year-old girl in a public shower near the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf and Beach Street. The 7-year-old girl was rinsing off at a public shower after a day the beach. Seconds later, a restaurant employee alerted the parents of the suspect’s actions. The suspect fled avoiding contact with the parents. The suspect has not been identified or located.

The image above was taken from security cameras around the area.

Anyone with information relative to the suspect’s identity is encouraged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department Investigations Unit )831) 420-5820.

Anonymous tips can also be sent to the police department through our Tip Line (831) 420-5995, or click here. Tipsters can also submit an anonymous tip via our smartphone app or from an SMS text. Visit our Website for instructions.

July 28, 2015

Press Conference Update on the Madyson Middleton Investigation

Below is an outline of the information released by the Santa Cruz Police Department today at our 11:00 AM news conference.  The press conference included Mayor Don Lane, Chief Kevin Vogel and District Attorney Jeff Rosell. 

Chief Vogel started by providing a chronological synopsis of the events in this case:

  • 8-year old Madyson Middleton reported missing on Sunday 7/26 at 6:08 p.m. from the Tannery Arts Center, 1030 River Street, where she lived.
  • Madyson was last seen late Sunday afternoon and was captured on video riding her Razor scooter in the Tannery Arts Center complex.
  • SCPD flooded the area with police officers and detectives after receiving the call that Madyson was missing.  SCPD began an extensive and exhaustive search of the area where she was last seen, including the surrounding woodland areas, open spaces and the San Lorenzo River Levee in an effort to locate her.
  • The Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team was called to assist with the search on Sunday evening.  We also requested a specially trained search and rescue K-9 unit from the State Office of Emergency Services to support our efforts.
  • SCPD staff and allied agencies worked through late Sunday night into Monday morning.  Detectives followed up on all leads and continued the search for Madyson in hopes of finding her safe and returning her home.
  • SCPD reached out to the FBI on Sunday evening asking for their assistance.  Within hours, the FBI sent a team of agents and resources to assist with the search for Madyson.  Additional resources were brought in on Monday.
  • On Monday, all available SCPD personnel, FBI personnel and Search and Rescue personnel from Santa Cruz County and adjoining counties continued an extensive search throughout the day hoping to find Madyson and returning her home.    
  • On Monday evening at approximately 7:55 pm, Detectives discovered a body believed to be Madyson Middleton. 

The following new information was provided during the press conference:

Late afternoon on Monday July 27th, Santa Cruz Police Detectives initiated a more thorough and focused canvass of the Tannery Arts Center complex.  The refocusing effort came after police neared the 24 hour mark of Madyson’s disappearance.  The initial phase of the case concentrated on a search for Madyson and an investigation into her disappearance.  As we neared the 24 hour mark, the investigation transitioned into a recovery and forensic effort.  

At approximately 7:55 pm, a Santa Cruz Police detective discovered the body of Madyson Middleton at the bottom of a large dumpster-sized recycle bin on the ground floor of the complex.  The suspect had gone to great lengths to conceal the body.  Madyson’s body was concealed and disguised inside the recycle bin in a way where it was not obvious or readily apparent.  An autopsy is pending to determine the official cause and manner of death.  

A 15-year old male juvenile was immediately arrested and taken into custody.  The suspect was actually standing near the location when Madyson’s body was discovered.  The juvenile suspect resides in the Tannery Arts Complex with his family.   Detectives interviewed the suspect into the early morning hours.  At this point, the suspect is under arrest for the murder of Madyson Middleton. 

Detectives have located evidence that links the suspect to this horrific crime.  That evidence includes Madyson’s belongings, witness statements and video evidence. 

We have determined that Madyson was an acquaintance of the suspect by virtue of both residing at the Tannery Arts Center complex.  Evidence suggests that Madyson was lured to the suspect’s apartment willingly.  Additionally, we have determined that Madyson was murdered inside of the suspect’s apartment and eventually carried downstairs to the recycle bin and concealed within the bin.  Evidence in the case indicates that Madyson was killed prior to the initial call to police on Sunday July 27th at 6:08 pm. 

We have determined the suspect acted alone and not in concert with anyone else.  There is no risk or threat to the community at this point as the suspect is currently in custody at the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Detention Facility.

Chief Kevin Vogel thanked all of our law enforcement partners who assisted and contributed with personnel and other resources for this investigation.  Chief Vogel acknowledged Sheriff Jim Hart and his Search and Rescue Team.  The team tirelessly searched miles of trails, woods, waterways and buildings in hopes of finding Madyson.  Our thanks includes the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office who also dedicated personnel to the search efforts.

Chief Vogel thanked the FBI and Special Agent in Charge Malcolm Palmore who joined our efforts and made every resource available.  Within hours, the FBI brought approx. 50 Agents and stood up a command center to assist in this investigation. 

Chief Vogel gave special thanks to the American Red Cross who sustained our first responders throughout the investigation and search for Madyson. 

Chief Vogel acknowledged and thanked the community members who came forward and offered assistance and support.  Many of our community members made signs and flyers and posted them throughout the area hoping to find Madyson alive.  Once again, you showed how well our community cares for each other during times of crisis. 

Finally, Chief Vogel addressed the family of Madyson Middleton, offering our sympathy, support and prayers.  It was our sincere hope that we would find Madyson and return her home. 

District Attorney Jeff Rosell is expected to file charges within the next few days.