Gridey-Biggs Police Chief Gary Keeler was thanked by Mayor Jerry Fichter and fellow Council members during the Monday night Council meeting for his department's hard work, especially during recent gang activity. (Photo by Lisa Van De Hey)
A letter signed by all five Gridley City Council members was presented to Police Chief Gary Keeler at Monday night's Council meeting in appreciation of a commendable job on the recent homicide case on October 1, 2012.
"We are aware that many of you worked extra hours in order to solve this serious investigation. Gang violence affects the entire community of Gridley, but with your efforts and professional experience, the City continues to demonstrate that this type of activity will not be tolerated in the City," the letter stated.
Chief Keeler accepted the letter from Mayor Jerry Fichter stating that officers were on mandatory 12 hour shifts following the homicide and he received no complaints with officers realizing the importance of solving the crime quickly.
Three suspects were in custody within nine days of the shooting of 18-year-old Alonzo Robles Morales of Gridley.
Chief Keeler reported to Council the recent board meeting of the Butte County Narcotics Task Force held at City Hall which is normally held in Chico or Oroville.
A meeting of the Law Enforcement Administration for Butte County was also held that day with a good showing for both groups. The Law Enforcement Administration includes not only Police Chiefs and Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, but also commanders of the Highway Patrol and Fish and Game representatives.
The group met on regeneralizing dispatch centers discussing the educational and financial benefits.
"This won't be in the near future because it will mean significant changes in patrol and staffing issues. It will take a three to five year plan if it happens," he explained.
Whether the police department will regeneralize is up to the City Council but Chief Keeler stated the area police chiefs feel good about participating.
The Chief told Council members another topic for the two meetings was gang enforcement, a national problem. Whether it is nationally, in the State of California or Butte County, the Chief stated that all jurisdictions are dealing with gang violence.
The recent Gridley gang incidents involved young adults from Oroville and Chico according to the Chief.
"They drove around here. This is not just our residents," he said.
He explained that law enforcement groups in the area work well together, especially when it comes to events like the Butte County Fair when the local police department can count on other agencies to help out.
Vice Mayor Dave Garner stated, "Most people don't realize what a great department the Chief runs. I see the officers at the courthouse. They are very professional and polite. We have such a great town with relatively low crime because the Chief works with others and most don't see day to day . We have to give credit to the Chief for hiring the right people and working with other law enforcement agencies," to which Mayor Fichter agreed.