Monterey County

Salinas police chief says DOJ representative will help moderate community concerns

Federal specialist assess situation in Salinas after officer-involved shooting

Salinas police chief on DOJ mediator

SALINAS, Calif. - - Thursday the Department of Justice representative in town wrapped up his meetings with community leaders, regarding the recent officer-involved shootings in Salinas. But his job in the city is far from over.

Police Chief Kelly McMillin says the DOJ representative Marquez Equilibria will likely make several trips to Salinas. The chief says the rep is in the assessment phase no plans have been outlined yet.

For McMillin, having an outsider come in to asses the situation in Salinas is a step towards rebuilding trust.

"Salinas is 154,000, still kind of a small town, everybody knows everybody, so I think that if we had local people trying to moderate this there would always be room for someone to say that moderator has a special interest in one way or another," said McMillin.

The chief says he met with the Department of Justice community relations specialist and is confident Marquez Equilibria has the experience to help Salinas.

"This is not his first rodeo, he has done this in many jurisdictions, big cities, small towns so he's seen a lot of this, and I'm very comfortable with this experience," said McMillin.

This is not the first rodeo for the DOJ Community Relation Services Department in Salinas either. Last year, a different specialist moderated the conflict between the city and council member Jose Castaneda. That's when Castaneda refused to stepped down from his school board seat.

McMillin says the help he hopes to receive from the rep is how can the city effectively address concerns from the community.

"How do we get people together, sorta in one place over time, so we can have this dialogue so that the information gets out to the people who are really concerned about it," said McMillin.

McMillin says a big misconception is this DOJ rep will place blame, and set new guidelines for the city. Instead, he is here simply moderate the conversation and get people to the table. The chief said what happens at the table is up to the community.

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