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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Suspicious activity in Ceres Public Safety Department

An incident involving the Ceres Public Safety Department was brought to light during a Sept. 8 Ceres City Council meeting according to multiple reports from Ceres Courier, Merced Sun Star, Modesto Bee and CBS Sacramento.
According to the reports, Ceres Public Safety Department employees allegedly placed hidden cameras under at least one female worker’s desk and in changing rooms.
Accusations began on Sept. 8 during a City Council meeting when members of the Modesto-Stanislaus branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People took the podium.
“In three days it went from ‘rumor’ to ‘this has been happening since last year,’” Monica Ventura, NAACP representative, said to the Ceres City Council last month, according to the Ceres Courier. “What’s with the cover-up?”
However, Ceres issued a press release in September stating, “Ceres Police Department recently conducted, or is in the process of conducting, two separate internal affairs investigations.”
The first investigation began in Oct. 2013 when the city supposedly took corrective action. The second began in May and is still ongoing, according to the Ceres Courier.
“What was indicated at that meeting was there were rumors, and we don’t respond to rumors,” Toby Wells, Ceres City Manager, said in the Merced Sun Star last month when asked about the allegations.
In the middle of this close-knit investigation, Ceres Police Chief Art de Werk was the subject of two closed-session meetings concerning his “discipline, dismissal or release.”
De Werk took a two-month medical leave earlier this year and within days of returning, he was dismissed from his position in June 2014, according to the Modesto Bee.
Overseeing police and fire since 1999, de Werk was the city’s police chief and public safety director, which is the accused department mentioned above.
Despite the Brown Act, which specifically gives the public the opportunity to directly address the legislative body concerning any item described in notices for special meetings, Ceres would not disclose to the Modesto Bee information discussed in the closed-session meetings concerning de Werk.
City Attorney Mike Lyions stated that since the only item on agenda was a closed-session item, the public did not need the opportunity to address it.
According to The Signal, the city of Ceres has been keeping quiet throughout this entire investigation, leaving citizens in question of the suspicious activity.
Since our campus community includes many Ceres residents, students can expect a thorough follow-up when further information is obtained.

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Suspicious activity in Ceres Public Safety Department