Retention basin park in Calexico dedicated to city police commissioner

April 28, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Hundreds of local residents and city officials lauded Police Commissioner Daniel Gutierrez on Friday night for his years of community service at a ceremony dedicating an Andrade Avenue retention basin near here as "Daniel Gutierrez Field."

Using his influence as a police commissioner, Gutierrez was one of the main people responsible for getting lights installed at the retention basin park that bears his name near Calexico High School and also at Las Casitas Park on the west side of town.

In addition, he has worked for years — even though he has long ago retired from the city's parks department — watering the city's parks near his Kennedy Gardens home and trying to stamp out crime there.

Mayor John Renison said, "He's out there watering our parks, volunteering. He even sweeps the sidewalks at his home."

Gutierrez has been one of the staunch believers that the city's retention basins were being underutilized, Renison said.


"He doesn't look at them as retention basins. He looks at them as opportunities," he added.

Installing lights at Las Casitas Park and at Daniel Gutierrez Field has allowed people to play soccer at night.

On Friday night a girls team played into the night and a boxing exhibition was staged under the lights.

The lights also serve another purpose, Renison said.

"He and I agree that proper lights do a lot to deter crime," he said.

As for why Gutierrez was singled out for praise, Renison said, "He's an example for other citizens. That's the message we're sending."

Mayor Pro Tem Frank Montoya served on the Police Commission with Gutierrez years ago.

He said, "He's a very serious person. He really dedicates himself to something that he feels is important."

Montoya told a story about Gutierrez getting up at 4 a.m. to water grass.

"This guy is unbelievable," he said. "I'm very pleased to honor him. He deserves it."

While city councilman praised him, Gutierrez stood on the edge of his field watching the soccer game and shaking the hands of well-wishers.

One of those well-wishers, Superior Court Judge Donal Donnelly, said of Gutierrez, "He represents how one person can make a difference in the community."

Donnelly told a story about how when he arrived in Calexico, Gutierrez was one of the people who showed him around and introduced him to people here.

"I'm grateful to him for that," Donnelly said.

Gutierrez, meanwhile, had only praise for men like Donnelly, members of the City Council and fellow Police Commissioner Manuel Ramos.

For the installation of the lights, he deflected credit and thanked city wastewater plant manager Luis Estrada, City Manager Richard Inman and Imperial Irrigation District Director Rudy Maldonado.

Gutierrez said those men did all the work lining up the companies who donated their time to install the lights and round up the materials.

Asked about how he repeatedly called members of the council to make sure all of that work got done, Gutierrez laughed and said, "Yes, I did call but they listened to me for our city."

Former councilman Javier Alatorre said he had many a conversation with Gutierrez when Gutierrez was trying to nail down a date when the lights would be installed.

"He's a quiet man but he's not so quiet when you get to know him," Alatorre said and laughed. "He's very persistent."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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