During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is no surprise that along with the celebration, criminal behavior escalates. Last month one incident became personal for a local business leader. This week, he took time to thank the Rialto Police Department, and specifically, one officer, for assisting a young family member in need during a shopping incident at a local store.
“My niece experienced a disturbing event where a man approached her, followed her around a store and publicly touched himself while in her face stating phrases as, “This is America, I can do what I want,” replied Frank Montes, owner of Inland Body and Paint, bordering the cities of Rialto and Colton. Montes added, “She is young, and he invaded her personal space and her sense of security and safety. As anyone can imagine, my niece was immediately traumatized and overwhelmed with fear. At the time, Rialto police told us that the man was not arrested, and was not facing any consequences for his actions. Dealing with our emotions, we were enraged not only at the behavior of this suspect but at Rialto Police Department. We felt that they were insensitive and did not do their job in this case.”
Nevertheless, by communicating with Rialto police, Montes and his family were offered full transparency. Police shared surveillance footage, body cam audio, and the evidence.
“Thankfully,” Montes said, “Captain Mark Adams and Police Chief Mark Kling of the Rialto Police Department offered their full transparency and shared surveillance footage, body camera audio, and all the evidence they could to share. After carefully reviewing the surveillance, I realize now that the overwhelming circumstances and craziness of the event distorted the reality of it.”
The footage disclosed that Rialto Police Officer Rondo Garcia conducted a full and thorough investigation. “But he was also empathetic, sensitive to the trauma she experienced, and overall kind and protective, Montes added. “I send my sincerest apologies to Officer Garcia for any backlash of a worried family. I leave this situation feeling good knowing that there are police officers, such as Officer Garcia, who will protect my family as well as yours.”
Chief Kling said he empathizes with the victims and their families but police work must be conducted meticulously to restore trust and make sure the suspect is apprehended.
“The Rialto Police Department expressed concern to the victim in this matter. After reviewing Axon body-worn and store surveillance cameras the officer correctly determined what had occurred,” said Kling.
“As Police Chief, I am so proud of the compassion, concern, and thorough investigation completed by Officer Rondo Garcia. Ultimately, the suspect, in this case, was arrested and will face justice for an unrelated offense. This is yet another example of the service commitment and professionalism exhibited by officers of our department.”
Montes said his niece’s case could have gone unnoticed but then so would have the “fine” job that in this case, Officer Garcia diligently worked on.
“I want to thank Chief Mark Kling, Captain Adams, and Officer Garcia for being fully transparent with me as I dug deeper into the situation. You all gave me so much peace of mind and I am forever grateful for that,” Montes concluded. “Lastly, I am happy to report the perpetrator was in fact arrested the day of, and will pay for the trauma and fear he brought to this young girl and people in the community who heard of the horrible event.”