“The gang members have made it very obvious through their graffiti that they intend to kill more officers,” says Chief Art De Werk.
Although Ceres officers already carry assault rifles in their cars, they are now being more cautious and making them ready to use on every call.
At a recent meeting the chief held with community leaders from the Hispanic community, Maggie Mejia said a gang member called her to make clear the threat to Ceres police officers.
“He said, ‘They are not going to stop us. We are not terrorists. We, the gang members, have called a truce. We are not going to be fighting each other. Our targets are the cops,’” Mejia said.
But the De Werk says he and his police force won’t be intimidated. They’ll just work that much harder to protect and serve.
“I’m not going to let my officers walk around without having the ability to protect themselves,” said De Werk. “If they go down, they obviously can’t protect the citizens.”