Police try positive reinforcement on pedestrians with free drink coupons

Hemet has had its share of deadly traffic collisions involving pedestrians. To address this, Hemet Police conducted a pedestrian safety operation last week as part of an ongoing campaign, but this time it was with a twist: instead of citations, officers handed out coupons for free Slurpees!
Some 41 coupons were handed out as part of a larger campaign designed to raise public awareness, educate pedestrians, and ultimately decrease pedestrian related collisions in Hemet.
Armed with coupons donated by Seven Eleven stores, uniformed officers set out to reward pedestrians who used the crosswalk, obeyed the pedestrian signal lights, and crossed the roadway safely.
For two hours, officers watched people crossing at Florida Avenue intersections, waiting to see if they used the crosswalks. If they did, police would ask to speak with them, and when they agreed, they were given a coupon for a free “Slurpee” brand frozen beverage.
“We wanted to show people that when you follow the law and use the crosswalk, you not only avoid being struck by a car, you just may get a free drink,” said Sgt. Dan Reinholt, who leads the four person traffic team. Over the past several weeks, officers have been citing pedestrians for jaywalking violations, so most people stopped thought they were about to get a ticket, Reinholt said. They were pleasantly surprised to receive a free Slurpee instead.
The department plans to conduct more pedestrian safety operations, working toward the goal of education, enforcement, and the occasional free Slurpee.

San Jacinto police set up Cinco de Mayo DUI checkpoint

In recent years, California has seen a disturbing increase in drug-impaired driving crashes, so in response, the San Jacinto Police Department Traffic Unit conducted a DUI/driver license checkpoint on May 5, Cinco de Mayo, in San Jacinto. The checkpoint was set up on 7th Street and operated between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. The results are as follows:
• 890 vehicles were screened
• 3 DUI-alcohol suspects arrested
• 18 drivers cited/arrested for operating a vehicle unlicensed or while suspended/revoked

The San Jacinto Police Department supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that “DUI doesn’t just mean booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI, according to police.
Studies of California drivers have shown that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems, police say. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.
Drivers are encouraged to download the California Office of Traffic Safety DDVIP (Designated Driver VIP) free mobile app for Android or iPhone ( The DDVIP app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver, from free non-alcoholic drinks to free appetizers and more. The feature-packed app even has social media tie-ins and even a tab for the non-DD to call Uber, Lyft or Curb.
Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspension and other expenses that can exceed $10,000, not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out.
The San Jacinto Police Department will be conducting another DUI/driver license checkpoint and DUI saturation patrols in the near future in its ongoing commitment to reducing the number of driver-caused deaths and injuries.
The checkpoint was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Akk citizens are encouraged to report drunk drivers by calling 9-1-1.

Sheriff’s investigators track down suspect in residential burglary

A 36-year-old Hemet man was arrested last week for investigation of burglary after stolen items from a home were found at his residence. Still unaccounted for are 15 gold Krugerrands and 50 silver coins worth an estimated $25,000, according to Riverside Sheriff’s deputies.
On Thursday, May 3, a deputy assigned to the Hemet Sheriff’s Station investigated a reported burglary in which the victims reported that between March 21-26 their residence was burglarized. The report was forwarded to the investigative unit, whose crime analyst was able to identify a potential suspect.
The same day as the report, Hemet Sheriff’s Station investigators served a search warrant in the 1200 block of South Buena Vista Street, Hemet. Robert Daniel Mendoza, 36, of Hemet was arrested in connection with the burglary and items taken were recovered and returned to victims. The suspect was ultimately booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center for investigation of burglary and possession of stolen property.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind residents to take photos and record identifying numbers of their valuable property for identification.
Anyone with information related to this offense, or others similar to this, are encouraged to call Investigator Porrazzo at the Hemet Sheriff’s Station (951) 791-3400.

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