Cathedral City Police Officers’ Association prepares to launch another salvo at Ernesto Gutierrez
Though the mayor said he is “disappointed” in the CCPOA’s actions, he will not be deterred.
Last week, the 36-member union announced it is erecting a billboard on Date Palm and 30th Avenue asking residents in District 4 to “Support Your Local Police Department. Vote ‘No’ on Ernesto Gutierrez for City Council.” The sign is scheduled to go up on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
The association has no plans to stop there.
Mailers, with a similar message, are scheduled to go out next week, President Jesse Borrego told Uken Report. Additionally, nearly 30, 4-by-8-foot signs are being planted in his District, which is District 4.
Two weeks prior to election, association members will be knocking on doors to spread their message, Borrego said.
At least three businesses have agreed to put the signs up in front of their businesses, Borrego said.
The wedge between the police association and Gutirrez is 180 degrees from four years ago when Gutierrez ran for his first four-year term. In September 2018, the CCPOA contributed $5,000 to his campaign, according to campaign finance reports.
The association takes issue with what they describe as Gutierrez’s “meddling” and “interference” in day-to-day operations of the police department, including code enforcement.
Gutierrez has also mentioned that “(police officers) are lazy and some in our ranks get paid too much,” Borrego said.
As the city’s legislative body, the City Council is responsible for the implementation of programs and services provided by the city, as well as hearing the concerns of local citizens.
“It is truly disappointing to be targeted by the police department for doing my job, which is to represent my community, for which I was elected to do,” Gutierrez told Uken Report. “As a sworn public official, I’m responsible for all residents in my district and throughout our city. Since our city was divided into districts in 2018, my district has been confronted with a variety of unique needs and challenges.”
When a resident informs me of a complaint, it is then referred to our city manager, and if necessary, to our police department or code enforcement, Gutierrez said.
“Meanwhile, some of our residents with genuine concern contact me with unfavorable results, some of which are dismissed or set aside,” the mayor said. “I will continue to advocate for our residents, seeking satisfactory results, and accountability for their concerns, with the needs of the city in mind. Unfortunately, this has resulted in conflict with the department. Despite the negative criticism I have received from the department, I will continue to work closely with them to ensure the well-being of our community. Lastly, I was elected by the people to serve my community and I will continue to represent their best interests.”
Gutierrez said as a bilingual Spanish speaker, he is sometimes misunderstood.
“Sometimes words get lost in translation and some words translate differently from Spanish to English,” he said. “But it’s rare.
The mayor said he has always been pro police and issued a list of examples.
“I have always supported our men and women in uniform,” Gutierrez said. As a prior council member and mayor, I have supported our law enforcement department by:
- Voting to increase staff with one additional homeless liaison police officer
- Recently added two additional police officers to the department
- Invested funds from my personal capital improvement fund to expand our flock security camera system to help apprehend criminals. This brought justice for the families of the victims and has helped keep our city safer.
- In 2020, there were six homicides in our city, all criminals were prosecuted using the flock security camera system.
- In 2021, there were five homicides in our city, the use of flock security cameras, led to the arrest of all criminals related to those homicides.
- Provided complimentary breakfast from my local restaurant, in recognition and appreciation for their service to our community.
- Participated in numerous charitable Police Golf Tournaments
- Never considered de-funding our police department while many cities across the country have
- Protected our police department by not eliminating any police officers during the COVID-19 pandemic
In addition, I have made donations to the Cathedral City Police Officer’s Association, which is the entity that is currently fighting against me and attempting to damage my reputation and political campaign, Gutierrez said.
“Regardless of their actions against me, I will continue to support our police department,” he added. “I will continue to represent our residents and their interests, as well as our city.”
Both Police Chief George Crum and City Manager Charlie McClendon declined to comment.
“It is best for me to stay out of any political campaign,” McClendon said. “I will need to work with whomever is elected.”
Rick Saldivar, one of two people challenging Gutierrez for the District 4 seat, said he has firsthand knowledge about the impact of Gutierrez’s agenda.
“I have received many phone calls and complaints, and even had meetings regarding code enforcement in Cathedral City,” Saldivar said. “We need police officers to serve and protect the community, not financially burden hardworking residents over a parked truck – a truck that provides for their families.”
Saldivar said he believes the campaign against Gutierrez explains frustrations among Cathedral City’s working class and speaks volumes about his performance in office.
“I’m so proud and grateful to the 36 law enforcement officers, who make up CCPOA, for standing up against the mayor and protecting the working class,” Saldivar said in a statement. “It’s important to support those who protect and serve us.”
- Vote No On Ernesto Gutiierrez: CCPOA
- Ernesto Guitierrez 2022: Ernesto Gutierrez
- Enrique Saldivar: Enrique Saldivar