For her efforts in solving a major case involving an armed bank robbery in Fontana, Detective Valerie Gutierrez was named the Fontana Police Departmentâs Employee of the Month for December, 2021.
The robbery occurred on Dec. 2 at the Chase Bank at 16120 Foothill Boulevard, and patrol officers handled the initial investigation until detectives eventually arrived on scene and took over.
Gutierrez, the lead detective on the case, immediately took charge of the scene and began delegating tasks.
During her investigation, she was contacted by a San Bernardino Police Department detective and an FBI agent. They provided her with information regarding a possible suspect, who was believed to be involved in six additional bank robberies in the Inland Empire.
Gutierrez began diligently working on trying to identify this suspect and develop enough probable cause to place him on scene during the crime. She worked through the night while authoring multiple search warrants.
Her tenacious work led to the identification of five locations in San Bernardino, all of them related to the armed robbery. She made many decisions on directing multiple surveillance teams to assist her in developing additional investigative leads.
Once she had all the probable cause she needed to make an arrest, her next hurdle was to put a large-scale operations plan together, coordinating several units to execute the search warrants.
âJust before the briefing for the large-scale operation, a wrench was thrown into the mix,â said Fontana Police Chief Billy Green. âDetective Gutierrez quickly made a sound decision that could potentially jeopardize the entire operation that morning. She made this decision without any hesitation, which ultimately led to the successful arrest of her main suspect. The briefing went on as planned and her operation was extremely successful.â
Once the operation concluded, the investigation did not end. She was now faced with several dozen people who needed to be interviewed at the police station. She also had to coordinate the retrieval of several pieces of evidence from the search warrants and how they correlated to her investigation, which was a major undertaking.
âIn the end, Detective Gutierrez put together a phenomenal case which solved our bank robbery along with several others,â Green said. âThe FBI and surrounding agencies were extremely impressed with her work ethic and ability to solve these crimes. Detective Gutierrez should be commended for a job well done.â
Gutierrez received a plaque during a recognition ceremony at the City Council meeting on Jan. 25.