IMPERIAL — Three Imperial police officers were honored Saturday for their efforts in arresting several people suspected of intimidating residents and vandalizing their property.
In addition to being showered with gratitude from residents — some of whom live on 10th Street where much of the vandalism occurred — Imperial police Sgt. Leonard Barra and Officers Josh Rios and Jesse Conard also received recognition from U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D - Chula Vista, during a festive potluck luncheon at Eager Park.
Filner’s field representative, Juanita Salas, praised the officers for their work that led to the arrests of the seven suspects, whose ages range from 17 to 20.
The names of the suspects were not available Saturday.
Salas also singled out resident Pam Butcher for rallying her neighbors in documenting what has been happening in their 10th Street neighborhood at the hands of the youths.
“I’m going to nominate her for citizen of the month,” Salas said.
The suspects were not all arrested at the same time, but Imperial Police Chief Miguel Colón has said that the suspects were arrested between late October and early November on warrants, violating their probation and on suspicion of vandalism.
Officials said the suspects were known to have congregated at a home on F Street.
Some of the residents who showed up for the small luncheon didn’t want to be identified but said a senior resident had a tire on her vehicle slashed and a brick thrown through her bedroom window in retaliation for alerting the police about a past offense.
Residents endured the problems for what Colón said appeared to be eight months as Imperial police received as many as 20 calls for service to mostly address graffiti issues.
Colón said there was at least one isolated instance where dog feces were thrown into a resident’s swimming pool.
Problems with property damage and vandalism escalated for Butcher so much that she was compelled to sell her wedding bands to raise money for the installation of three $100 surveillance cameras at her home, she said.
“It was worth it,” Butcher said.
After Salas and Colón spoke to the gathering of residents Butcher also chimed in about how a community came together to confront a common adversity and won.
“God made one race, the human race,” Butcher said. “And we stood together.”
Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trio of Imperial Police officers praised for work in addressing vandalism and disturbance of peace
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