Rumors are flying about the safety of one Central Coast city after its police officers said they have no confidence in their chief. One officer wants to set the record straight. We went to find out why a regional Peninsula task force, says it has a firm handle on crime.
We sat down with a Seaside police commander to get his take on a growing concern surrounding the city's ability to fight crime, following that vote of no confidence in Police Chief Vicki Myers. He said he's worried about some of the conversations happening when it comes to crime in the city.
Commander Bruno Dias said he wants to bridge a growing gap between some residents and the Seaside Police Department. Dias said the Monterey Peninsula Regional Violence and Narcotics Team (PRVNT), a collaborative effort between all Peninsula police departments, is working hard to take down those responsible for crime.
"They may not see us in a patrol car driving around. But we're doing our best to help every agency maximize their investigative presence in every city on the Peninsula," Dias said.
Some residents we spoke with claim crime is up and the city's police leadership isn't doing enough. But Dias has the numbers to back his claim crime is decreasing. Last week the regional team took a pound and a half of methamphetamine off the streets. In January the group was able to put three alleged violent gang members behind bars.
"Intelligence based policing is in my opinion the key to success and working together. The collective work we've been doing, is the key to making the Peninsula safer," Dias said.
Some people we spoke with do see their efforts.
"A lot better since the prior year. Haven't had anything other than that broken window, no shootings," said Troy Mishey, a sushi chef at Harumi in Seaside.
Dias said Chief Myers was the one to start a regional unit in 2011 after a spike in gang crime. That unit became PRVNT.
"Just last year alone we did 47 gang supplemental investigations cases," Dias said.
As crime started to increase, some shopping centers started putting in security cameras to keep an eye on things. Dias said he wants residents to know, whatever the disagreements are behind the scenes, the peninsula police departments are working together to keep gang crime down.
Dias said PRVNT was also able to take 31 illegal firearms off the streets last year many of them were taken from gang members.