Monday, December 21, 2015

Tis the Season

Thought - As I sit here on my couch, warm in my holiday PJ's I cannot help but think about how lucky we are in this community. How truly lucky we are in this region, state and country.

I have food in my fridge, power for the lights, gas in the truck and clean water at the tap. We take these things for granted. We really do. We complain when we have a shortage of one of them, we stammer and we get upset.

Think about the folks, for a moment, who have none of these things. Many in our own country, many who've served our country, many who are children and a great many with mental health or physical problems.

It is mind boggling to me that we have so much, but give so little attention to those without and those that cannot do much to improve their situations.

We need to be smarter than the problem. We are innovative, we can help these folks. 

I do not profess to have the answers. For my part, I am committed to continue to help my fellow man, continue to help veterans and active duty folks and continue to help provide children of our community opportunities to discover things that they may fall in love with.

This is the season for giving.....we need to do that more often, we have more than we need.


Jr Giants is just around the corner folks. We will again ask for the communities help with coaching, team parents, etc. We will announce the dates and requirments on our Facebook page here -


Hollister Police Departments Holiday Bicycle Program - It was our second year for the program. Last year we gave out about 70 bicycles to our area's youth. This year, with a grant from TurningWheels For Kids we obtained 89 bicycles, another 10 were purchased by our employees out of their own pockets and 3 were donated by Alves Collision Center.

We handed them out to the kids on December 19th. It should be noted that the Hollister School District and a few other agencies helped us select the children through a nomination process.

Our Hollister Police Explorers, HPD Volunteers, Police Officers and Non-Sworn employees all helped make this a truly successful day, filled with smiles


As I prepare to take in the holidays with family and friends, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and prosperous New Year.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hollister Rally

On Friday July 3rd, the Hollister Rally (aka Hollister Freedom Rally, aka The Hollister Rally, aka Hollister Independence Day Rally) will open at 9 AM (more on this later).

The schedule is simple this year for setup of the event. Side streets (5th, 6th & 7th) between East & San Benito and then again San Benito & Monterey will be closed tomorrow (Thursday). San Benito Street will remain open until midnight on Thursday (July 2). We close it down at Midnight on Friday at 12:01 AM.

The Rally will be July 3rd (9 AM - 9 PM), July 4th (9 AM - 9 PM) and July 5th (9 AM - 3 PM). San Benito Street will open at 6 PM sharp (or sooner), so you may want to get your bikes off the street right and on the curb right after 3 PM. We have towed a few bikes in the past to facilitate opening the road.

Many folks have asked me a lot of really good questions this year. I'll recap a few here.

  • Chief, what about Waco, Texas and the shooting last year at the rally?
          I fully brief the elected officials on many different public safety disciplines as it relates to our event each year before our event. I have done so this year as well. Ultimately they weigh the information we provide and also the concerns of their constituents. It is their decision completely. They also provide budget, vote on contracts/mou's and a few attend our planning meetings. I can say they always make informed decisions. 

  • Chief are you going to do anything different this year for public safety?
          No, not really different. We are adding a few things behind the scenes to enhance officer / patron safety and will probably have better communications features. Public safety is the #1 priority with our event.

  • Chief can I bring my dog to the rally?
         No pets are allowed in the event area (California compliant service animals are the exception). There will be a place to kennel your dog for a fee on 5th, near East.

  • Can I have my pocket knife with me at the rally?
         All weapons, tools, blunt instruments, mace / pepper spray or anything resembling a weapon are not allowed in the event area by ordinance. Best advice - leave them home or in your saddle bags.

  • Chief can I take a picture with you at the rally?
         Sure, if you can find me. I would be happy to take a picture with you at the rally. Only thing I ask is that when you post it, use the hashtag #hollisterproud

  • Chief do you like bikers?
         I don't dislike anybody. I don't like labels though. After all, arent bikers all sons and daughters, or husband and wives, or grandpas and grandmothers? Some are also, dentists, police officers, politicians, bankers, football players and donut makers. 
Point being, people are people and I don't think you can pigeon hole somebody into a label because people are like onions...they have layers. I like everybody. There is a few people that are bad though, we don't invite them to our event. 

So, if you're coming to the event, I truly hope you enjoy yourself. Ride smart, ride safe and enjoy our local Hollister hospitality.


Monday, June 8, 2015

The San Benito County Saddle Horse Show & Rodeo

The SBC Saddle Horse Show & Rodeo is an iconic local event. I am very proud to be on the Board of Directors. I am very happy to say that this years event might be one of the best yet and encourage you all to come out Bolado Park, June 26-28 to watch and maybe even participate as a contestant this year.

This will be the 82nd SBC Saddle Horse Show & Rodeo. Its traditions like this event that define our community. It somewhat defines our way of life, values and those things we as a community feel are important. I feel our SBC Fair is in that same category.

Here's an excerpt from SBC Saddle Horse Association website -

"In the summer of 1929, a meeting was held in Hollister by a group composed principally of owners or managers of the larger cattle ranches of San Benito County, but including horse lovers generally. These men met for the purpose of considering the feasibility of staging a rodeo-type show in conjunction with the annual county fair.

It was recognized by those in attendance, that over the years, native, reined cow horses had been often featured in rodeo-type exhibitions in various sections of San Benito County, notably San Juan Bautista, Hollister and Panoche, and while the ventures were not financially successful, they were exceedingly popular with the residents of the county. So, first deciding that it was both desirable and feasible and that all present were willing to work for it, the next decision was that the show should feature principally the cowboy and cow horse contests, putting them on in much the same way as the California Rodeo at Salinas, but with the important distinction that it would be run, both in management and participation, by San Benito County residents exclusively. The dates for the first show were set to coincide with the last two days of the fair, September 28 and 29, 1929.

The ground allotted for use was the old river bottom, largely sand and gravel and covered with a rambling assortment of large and small willow and cottonwood trees. Men from various ranches in the county, as they could be spared, erected corrals, arena fencing and a chute from which came the steers for roping and the bucking bulls. The broncs were saddled in the open, snubbed to a gentle horse. Horses were stabled wherever room was found. Several groups built small separate corrals among the willows back of the arena. Wells were dug in the river bottom for water.

In 1930 a circular track was built to accommodate the horse races which were a popular event; also, more corrals and a second chute were added."

We need to protect this tradition and help it flourish in our community. Support it by attending, sponsoring and celebrating with your neighbors. Here is the upcoming schedule for this years events.

You can follow the Saddle Horse Show & Rodeo on Facebook at

or visit the website here -

Of note the SBC Saddle Horse Show & Rodeo Parade will be on June Thursday, June 25 @ 6:15 PM in Downtown Hollister.

I will be there, will you?


Director Westrick
Director Westrick

Future events schedule

Hollister Air Show - June 20-21 Hollister Freedom Rally - July 3-5, 2015

Street Festival - July 18, 2015

National Night Out - August 4, 2015

Hollister Red Ribbon 5K - October 10, 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hollister / SBC PAL Partnership

Public safety is a broad term used to identify safety elements such as emergency medical, law enforcement and fire protection. Also in this continuum is code enforcement, emergency management, engineering and environmental health. There is probably many more.

The very essence of public safety is we HELP people.

Sometimes I must make decisions that affect a lot of people. Sometimes those decisions affect a small amount of people. When I make decisions, I use my experience, my staff and research and apply it to my heart and then make the call. 

In 2014, I threw out the first pitch at a SBHS Varsity game. It was great chatting with the young athletes and Coach Aviles. If you know Coach Aviles, you know that he teaches respect, integrity and self worth. He is in the business of making men from boys and winning baseball games. He is great at both disciplines. We are lucky to have a coach of his caliber in our community.
As I sat there and watched the game, I wondered if any of these kids would be the next Brandon Crawford or Will Clark. I wondered if there were any others in our community. I wondered if there were kids that hadn't the opportunity to realize their dreams in sports or any other activity in our community. I felt that there was a possible void in service with those kids whose parents that could afford to send their kids to organized sports and activities and those parents that could not afford it. To me, this WAS a potential public safety issue as there were kids in our community that might need our HELP.

I thought; wait, this is Hollister, we are better than that. If a child in our community wants to participate in a activity, we need to figure out a way to make that happen. 

So, I spoke to the Hollister City Manager, William Avera in the summer of 2014. I pitched (pun intended) an idea that would integrate the City of Hollister recreation programs with our local San Benito County Police Activities League. I also felt with this partnership we could bring in new programs, such as Jr Giants baseball and others. I also asked that these programs be open to any child in the county. I figured we could do everything within five years.

As I've said many times before, I think great recreation programs are potentially great crime prevention. If you find a kids currency (interest) then you will have their interest. That interest could blossom into something truely great.

The City Manager immediately agreed with me and our City Council agreed as well. We met with SBC PAL that week and we all agreed to transform both programs into something bigger and better. In fact, Hollister Recreation immediately began working on this new concept. They contacted the San Francisco Giants and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) that same week and began the process of applying for new programs. In one months time of this new partnership, we secured the Jr Giants program and USTA's HITS Jr. Tennis program for our city and county. 

Fast forward to this week......On June 2, 2015 at 6:00 PM we will have our communities very first Jr Giants First Pitch meeting at Marguerite Maze School. We expect about 1,100 people at the meeting including about 530 kids signed up for Jr Giants inaugural season here in our community. I was told last week that with this number of kids in Jr. Giants, it makes our local Jr. Giants program one of the biggest ones in the Jr. Giants system. 
This program will work because of our partnerships are strong. This program will work because, many of you out there will help us. Hollister always helps when its needed.

What I thought would take five years, took a little over 5 months. Just think of what we as a community can do in five years.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

I am a father, husband, neighbor, county resident, Californian, American and Chief of Police. I am you and I work for you. All races, beliefs, social statuses...everyone. I think about that, each and everyday as I slip my boots on and head to work.

I am sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and our own Constitution of California. This is an important concept and really the starting point for my thoughts today.

In October 2013, State Senator Anthony Cannella's revenge porn bill (SB 255) was signed into law by Governor Brown. I applaud Senator Cannella's efforts in protecting Californians with this legislation (more on this later). Also in October 2013, Assemblymember Luis Alejo's Safe and Responsible Driver Act (AB 60) was also signed into law by Governor Brown. AB 60 allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a California Driver's license. Congressman Sam Farr sponsored the bill that made Pinnacles National Park in the State of California as a unit of the National Park System (H.R. 3641). A great addition to our National Park System and the pride of our own San Benito County.

My point being is that these three men, have done a lot for us, you may or may not agree with all of there philosophies but we can agree they are working for us and representing us here locally. I obviously didn't mention their combined list of successful legislation, but it is long for all three. This however, isn't a political ad, statement or endorsement. I'm a cop, therefore I am apolitical.

My job is to protect people and property. It is what all law enforcement officers are sworn to do, daily.

In the last several years, there has been a growing problem within the ranks of our youth and sometimes our adults. The problem permeates almost every facet of our lives.

The problem: Social media needs legislated regulation both in our state and nationally.

I'm not talking about First Amendment regulation. That must be preserved and protected at all costs. I am talking about basic common sense logical legislation that would easily pass the reasonable person standard.

This is about  protecting our nations kids, period.

Most social media firms have fairly good tools available to assist law enforcement. I say fairly good, because for the most part they are cooperative AFTER law enforcement obtains a search warrant or a preservation order. Obtaining these documents can take time and serving them electronically can also take time. Time is one of the problems. A lot of damage can be done socially, psychologically and financially when there's extended time in these investigations / inquiries. When an officer serves a preservation or search warrant on social media, they have ten days to respond. Yes I said ten days. Ten days is WAY to long to wait for this information or action by the firm.

We must reduce the time it takes for these incidents to stabilize, significantly.

Here are a few examples of social media / law enforcement related incidents and problems:

Hollister girl posts nude photos and fights on Instagram to gain popularity

5 Capitola students suspended after threat found on Instagram

Nude Snapchat selfie spurs discussion about minors' use of social media

Police investigating 'inappropriate' photos uploaded by students

These are but a few examples in a sea of thousands of social media incidents.

California law is specific - California Penal Code section 647 (4) (A) Any person who intentionally distributes the image of the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person (Thank you Senator Cannella). There's a few things I think that could be added (ie: acts occurring on school grounds or within 1000 feet of a school, etc), but it's generally a very good addition to California law.

What I would propose to our elected officials is that they help provide the necessary tools for law enforcement to be able to act in a more timely manner and obtain evidence quicker in these types of incidents in social media. What I'm saying is, we need a Social Media Responsibility Act.

What I am asking is:

1) Require the social media firm to take action within 48 hrs upon receipt of a search warrant, preservation warrant or Order to Suspend* account or page.

2) Since social media is 24/7 have an available public safety liaison 24/7 for verifiable emergencies.

3) Have civil penalties to those Social Media firms that do not comply.

* Order to Suspend is a new concept I would be proposing

In closing:

I am not trying to demonize social media. There have been many positive things that have occurred with the advent of social media. Our department has solved many cases with the help and cooperation of social media firms. Like many things that are new, we need to provide those things to help them be successful. After all, I'm sure folks that work in social media have kids too.