Policing My Hometown Is a Labor of Love

A Deputy Chief of Salinas PD Explains the Challenges of Protecting the City He Grew up In

We hear a lot these days about rifts between police and the communities they serve. This is especially true in communities of color. I thought it might be helpful to offer my story as someone who comes from both worlds: I’ve devoted a career to policing the community where I was raised.

I am a deputy police chief in my hometown of Salinas. Indeed, I’m a police officer in part because I grew up here, and because of the close ties between the police and the Salinas residents they serve.

You read …

Why You and Your Kid Brother Should Cuddle up With a Book

In Salinas, 80 Percent of Kindergarteners Lack Good Reading Skills. Their Older Siblings Can Change That

Raising literacy levels requires starting early. But how do you reach very young children, especially in a place like Salinas, where many parents are migrants who work long hours and …

A City, in All Its Cruelty and Kindness

An Emergency-Room Doctor Witnesses the Extremes of the Community He Serves

Mr. Twenty-Something is obviously in pain. His face is contorted and his right shoulder doesn’t look like his left. He’s wearing a tank top, and the complex and colorful tattoos …

My City Is Like a 17-Year-Old

Salinas Is in the Middle of Growing Pains, but It's Full of Energy and Potential

Growing up sucks. Our teenage years are traumatizing. Our growing bodies ache, our maturing minds battle with themselves to figure out what kind of adult we will be. And sometimes …

My City Isn’t a Tawdry Reality TV Show

A Veteran Journalist Explains Why Covering Salinas Is so Complicated

Every few years, Salinas grabs national media headlines for the wrong reasons: Police killings of criminal suspects caught on camera. Or maybe a sensational courtroom drama like that of our …

Police Reform Isn’t Always About Confrontation

Salinas-Based Organizers Created a Different Kind of Conversation Between Cops and Community

On May 20, 2014, two Salinas police officers shot and killed 44-year-old Carlos Mejia on Del Monte Avenue in the city’s east side. Within hours, a cell phone video was …