City Manager's Updates

Monthly updates from El Cerrito City Manager Karen Pinkos.

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Mar 07

Police Department Updates

Posted on March 7, 2012 at 5:54 PM by Suzanne Iarla

K-9 King
As most people know, it is with great sadness that the Department announced the death of El Cerrito Police K-9 King. On February 10, 2012 while off-duty, El Cerrito Police K-9 King began
showing signs of physical distress. His partner, Officer Joshua Del Prado, took King to the Veterinarian where emergency surgery was performed in an effort to identify the source of King’s illness, and to find a remedy. Once surgery was performed, it became clear that King had suffered a catastrophic and unavoidable intestinal torsion which medical care could not repair. King’s condition was not survivable. With his partner and other members of the El Cerrito Police Department by his side, King died. 

Read more about the K-9 Unit.
Significant Crime Incidents
On February 5th at 2:40 a.m. police officers responded to an audible alarm at business located in the 10000 block of San Pablo Ave. Upon arrival officers discovered a suspect on the roof of
the business. A perimeter was set up around the business and a search of the rooftop was conducted. During the search, officers located Lee Stewart, a transient, on a nearby rooftop trying to conceal himself from officers. Stewart was placed under arrest for attempted burglary without incident. Stewart is a parolee who had a prior arrest record for burglary.

On Valentine’s Day Detectives identified the suspect in a crime spree that occurred earlier in the day. He was identified by detectives who matched his method of operation from a home invasion earlier in the year with those that occurred on this day. His crime spree included two home invasion robberies in El Cerrito, one in Martinez, one in Vacaville, one car-jacking in
Kensington, and one in Martinez. El Cerrito detectives located the suspect in Richmond where, with the assistance of RPD SWAT, the suspect was taken into custody after a foot and vehicle pursuit.

Read about other recent law enforcement activities on the Police Department's Recent Activity page

Volunteers in Policing (VIP)
This is a Nationwide program offering citizens an opportunity to get involved with their local police and sheriff departments. The most recognizable volunteers in the El Cerrito Police
Department are the Department’s Reserve Police Officers. In the last twelve months, the Department has increased its reserve officer staffing level to eleven officers. The VIP program also seeks additional community members who might not want to be a reserve officer but can offer service and value to their community in other ways.

The citizen volunteer program is new for the Department, but very exciting. Some of the same people involved in the City and Fire Department’s CERT program could also be involved in the VIP program. Volunteers are used in many cities and offer an invaluable service.

As part of the VIP program, the PD is planning on initiating a Citizen Police Academy for late summer/early fall. The Citizen Police Academy will be a nine week program providing citizens the opportunity to see what happens behind the badge, in a patrol car, processing a crime scene, driving a police car, and riding a bicycle. The classes, which will be taught by staff,
will meet Wednesday evenings. There is an interest list forming for the VIP program and for the Citizen Police Academy. One can find information on the Police Department’s web page and can complete an on-line interest card. Any questions should be directed to ct Lt. Steve Bonini at 215-4424.

Personnel Update:
On February 21, 2012 the Department hosted an officer swearing in and promotion ceremony for a Cadet, 4 Reserve Police Officers and 5 Police Officers. Two Corporals, and one Sergeant were promoted. This brings police department staffing to 42 sworn (4 vacant) with testing beginning to fill remaining vacancies.
  • Officer Terry Schillinger was awarded Officer of the Year by the Elks Lodge 1251 in large part for his crime prevention actions, and his furtherance of
    the department’s mission. 
  • Sgt. Lauren Caputo was awarded the Mothers Against Drunk Driving
    (MADD) Award for leading the department in DUI arrests during the MADD
    campaign in December 2011.