SALINAS—Okay, Okay, I try to keep myself out of the stories that I write, but when this one came across my desk I had to interject. The Salinas Police arrested 19-year-old local resident Ivan Fletes for committing a weapons violation while on campus.
Back in the 1980’s, I started my career in law enforcement as a student at Hartnell Community College, studying Administration of Justice courses. With that came an opportunity to work at the college as a Campus Safety Officer.
During my time as an Officer I had a number of incidents where I had to take weapons, including guns, off of students. Albeit, they turned out to be replica pistols, but a weapon is a weapon.
As I went through my 2-year stint as an officer my biggest fear was that during finals a distraught student would bring a gun to school and hold a teacher hostage over a bad grade. Over the years, I came to realize that this could become a reality because of the rise in school shootings. Just last week, my biggest fear was close to becoming a reality. On Thursday, April 24, a student was seen on the Hartnell campus having dropped a firearm from his clothing. A campus security camera captured Ivan Fletes as he left the parking garage.
After Fletes had fled the campus, Salinas Police reviewed the video footage and confirmed his identity and residence. Immediately, members of the Violence Suppression Unit placed him under surveillance, and arrested him as he left his house.
“He was seen by a witness dropping the gun from his sweatshirt, they even heard the metallic sound as it hit the ground.” A Salinas Police Watch Commander told me. “The video proved to be invaluable as it gave us a clear face photo and vehicle with license plate, we immediately had surveillance on him and arrested him that same day.”
A search of his vehicle revealed a loaded firearm and a small amount of marijuana. He was transported to Monterey County Jail. He was Booked on charges of weapon violations, possession of marijuana and a violation of probation.