Message from the Chief of Police, Sept. 2018

By MANJIT SAPPAL
Martinez Chief of Police

MARTINEZ, Calif. ­­– This month our community celebrated another successful National Night Out and every year the event gets better and better! We saw an incredible turn out at various locations and it was a great opportunity for the community to come together and support one another.

National Night Out takes various forms across the country and for us in Martinez it is a time to meet neighbors and build friendships.

Every aspect of our lives are centered around relationships, personally and professionally, and building relationships in the community are no exception. The stronger our relationships are within the community, the stronger our community becomes.

When we can rely on one another to do the right thing, to respect each other, to be inclusive, and to look out for one another we make for a better community.

While I was not able to make it to every event, I did stop in at a few locations to find a great deal of family related activities, good food, and music.

The events were lively, upbeat, and positive. We had officers at all locations to meet the community and had the opportunity to showcase some of our equipment as well as provide canine demonstrations that showed how police dogs are used for community safety.

I received nothing but positive feedback and I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone that attended and to those that sponsored the event.

It was another great National Night Out and I look forward to next year! To the right are a few photographs of some of the events.

Summer is winding down and schools are back in session. With schools back in session, one of the most frequent complaints we receive focus on traffic related issues. Many of our schools can be a challenge to navigate around given the width of the roads and with the increase in traffic during school drop off and pick up, we start seeing more congestions.

While we do work on enforcement and police visibility at schools during the school year, we need the help and cooperation from the pubic in maintain traffic safety on our roads, especially near schools. Please do not speed, do not drive around cars in violation of the law, and be mindful of small children that are trying to make it to school. Everyone in our community is responsible for driving safely and being cognizant of changing road and traffic conditions, so please drive safely, do not drive while being distracted, and be courteous to others on the roadway. We will be focusing on enforcing traffic laws, so please do not make us issue you a ticket!

We recently received a request from Amtrak to participate in their second annual “Operation Clear Track”. This initiative was created to call attention to train safety laws along the railroad tracks in each community. As an effort to promote the important of safety on railroads tracks, we plan on participating – this entails enforcing laws related to vehicles and pedestrians at railway crossings as well as educating those that are stopped on the dangers of such behavior.

Speaking of railroads, we have received numerous complaints and reports about trains blocking access to the Marina and areas north of the tracks downtown. While we are working on resolving this problem, please keep in mind that the City has no authority over railroads, but we are doing what we can.

“If you are stuck at one of the crossings for more than ten minutes, give the MPD Dispatch Center a call at 925-372-3440 to report the incident.”

We have been logging these complaints over the last several months and we are working through Congressman Mike Thompson’s office on setting up a dialogue with Union Pacific in an effort to troubleshoot the problem as well as come up with a solution. We have had numerous reports of trains blocking both railroad crossings downtown for up to an hour at a time, so I would request that if you find yourself stuck at one of the crossings for more than ten minutes, you give our Dispatch Center a call at 925-372-3440 to report the incident.

Please specify how long the train has been blocking the tracks and whether it is blocking the Berrellesa Street side, the Ferry Street side, or both. We wish to ensure we have data to share with Union Pacific about the extent of the problem; this issue creates emergency response problems to the marina and has a negative impact on traffic in the downtown area.

Please help us by reporting incidents on train blockages for more than ten minutes. We hope that Union Pacific works with us to resolve this long standing problem as we have reached out to them for help, but have not made any traction on addressing this important community concern.

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