IN MODESTO: The Modesto police Traffic Unit will conduct driver's license and sobriety checkpoints tonight and Saturday at undisclosed locations within the city. Eight officers and one sergeant will staff the checkpoints. The goal is to save lives by reducing accidents caused by driving under the influence, police said. The checkpoints are funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
MPD REACCREDITED BY COMMISSION: A national law enforcement oversight agency assessed the Modesto Police Department and found that the department met the standards necessary for reaccreditation, police reported this week. The department was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in March 2005 and is one of five municipal agencies in California to achieve and maintain accreditation, Modesto police Sgt. Craig Gundlach said. The department received its reaccreditation Saturday in Atlanta after a hearing during which commissioners questioned Mayor Jim Ridenour and four Modesto police officials. In December, assessors from the Virginia-based organization visited Modesto for three days to conduct an audit, review police policies and interview officers, residents and other employees, Gundlach said. Ridenour said the commissioners sent their report on the Modesto police to more than 150 law enforcement agencies and posted it on their Web site as a training model.
FIRE STRIKES MARKET FOR THIRD TIME: A vacant Turlock market that's been closed for more than year was intentionally set on fire for the third time Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said. The fire occurred at Matty's Market at 700 W. Main St., which was open for business since 1976 until the first arson fire in February 2007 forced it to close. Two months later, a second arson fire created more damage. The Turlock Fire Department responded to the third fire at 2:18 p.m. on Wednesday. Firefighters had the blaze under control in about 30 minutes, but the fire caused significant damage to the building's structure, with all exterior walls compromised or fallen, according to Turlock Fire officials. The market's owners are working with city officials to have the building torn down and erect a new building in its place. Fire officials said the gate was unlocked and open when authorities arrived Wednesday, but investigators do not have any suspects or witnesses in this latest arson fire.