The Cathedral City Police Officers’ Association is urging voters to not re-elect Ernesto Gutierrez to city council this November, citing a lack of support.
Gutierrez has been on city council since 2018 and is currently serving as mayor.
“Obviously we do as we’re told. We don’t want to be insubordinate, but in the back of our hearts and our minds we’re like this is not the right way to go about it,” said Jesse Borrego, President of Cathedral City Police Officers’ Association.
Boreggo told News Channel 3 concerns over the mayor’s actions picked up about a year ago. When Gutierrez first ran for city council, he was backed by the police department.
“We just feel like we need somebody that’s new in there, somebody that actually support the police department... and just doesn’t put this work on us that we feel is just like not good for the city," Borrego explained, "We feel like it’s more of a personal agenda for him rather than what’s better for the residents for the districts he looks over.”
After speaking with Mayor Gutierrez, he tells us he’s shocked to hear about this campaign against him. He says he’s a big supporter of the police force and believes the problem is coming from management.
The union plans launching the full campaign against him, which will include a billboard on date palm and 30th.
“It’s management, upper management is what has a thing against me. Some of our police department management, including our chief, do not like to be held accountable for what’s going on," Gutierrez explained, "I have a boss. My boss is my residents, now I'm doing what they want to be done. They want to make sure I hold every department accountable for their actions. If upper management and out chief doesn't like it, too bad I'm going to continue having to do what I have to do."
Last month, Gutierrez and Cathedral City police butt heads during a city council meeting. When Gutierrez called out officers working as homeless liaisons. “I have heard some comments that our 2 officers actually don’t spend the whole time out in the field and that they actually spend a lot of time in the office just goofing off,” Gutierrez said during the August 10th city council meeting.
Borrego said it felt like a jab at the police department's dedication and hard work. “These guys, it’s a 2 man team and they’re very very busy obviously. We have a really huge homeless population in our city and they’re constantly working every single day trying to get housing and resources for those people. So for him to say those things it was just disheartening to them, to us and for all the hard work that we do.”
While Gutierrez said it was nothing personal against the officers, but he felt that no progress was being made. “After the council meeting, I spoke with several business owners and they thanked me because the police officers were actually taking care of issues. They were actually out there talking to homeless people and taking care of issues. They were patrolling more, they were out in the streets, all it takes is being out in the streets that’s it.”
Gutierrez said despite what’s being said about him, he will continue to work for the city and its residents. “I’m not gonna stop, I’m going to continue to do what my constituents and residents want. I’m also a resident and that’s what I want.”
As for the police union, they hope there will be someone else in his place. “We just want somebody that’s a better leader. Someone that can partner with us on city council and just make the city better," Borrego said.