IMPERIAL – Imperial’s City Council had a swearing in ceremony Feb. 6 for a special police officer, and moved through a lengthy agenda bringing the city into the new year and affecting constituents throughout 2019 and beyond.

To continue providing more events in Imperial along with cook-offs and street fairs, the council recognized the Imperial Valley Book Club with a certificate.

The club had members on hand addressing city officials, including book club founder Lena Luna. “We are a growing band of 'Bookies,'" Luna said. "I realized that illiteracy is a problem here in the Imperial Valley, so we decided to start a book club.”

The IV Book Club's motto is: “Each and every day I am becoming better in my own way.” 

“The city council recognizes the Imperial Valley Book Club in their endeavors to reach out and promote literacy and discussion in the Imperial Valley,” said Mayor Robert Amparano.

A young, new and furry K-9 officer has joined the Imperial Police Department and was also officially sworn into service during the meeting.

The dog, Kayah, was born April 24, 2016, and was adopted by the Imperial Police Department in October 2018. Kayah is a passive alert dog, and her duties include “a single purpose K-9 for narcotics detection in vehicles, homes and other structures,” explained Police Chief Leonard Barra.

Although Kayah is had just joined the force, she and her handler Corporal Robert Martinez have already completed 240 hours of training together and applied some of that knowledge in a recent sting where Kayah alerted officers to 28 pounds of the drug Ecstasy in a local hotel room.

Officer Kayah was solemnly sworn in and raised a paw and willingly barked her approval to the applause and awes of everyone in attendance as she undertook her duties serving the citizens of Imperial and surrounding communities. 

In other action, the council dealt with impending agenda items concerning actions on Public Financing Authority and the issuance of bonds for funding of the city's needs of a new wastewater system and new treatment plant.

All motions were heard, and the council passed all major resolutions. 

Amparano took a moment during council member reports and brought out a piece of a worn and corroded cast iron water main flange that had burst earlier in the week.

The mayor said he wanted to remind council members and attending residents of the reason for necessary improvements.

“When we are going for a water rate increase to pay for aging infrastructure, this is what we are looking to replace with our water rates,” said Amparano.

"Can we imagine what the rest of our water system looks like?” Amparano asked.  “It’s an aging water system, please understand that this is where our money goes.”

It was also announced by the city's Management Analyst and Public Information Officer that Imperial has been awarded 150 trees under the Cal Fire Urban Forest Expansion and Improvement Grant Program. The trees will be distributed throughout the city's parks.

"Seventeen of the awarded trees have already been allocated to the city’s new Cambria Park, located at Victoria Ranch and Alejandro Avenue,” said Alexis Chalupnik.

“Planting trees beautify our neighborhoods, while helping our residents feel better and enhancing their quality of life," said Ember Haller, Imperial community services director. "However, we want to ensure we are planting the right kind of trees. The city is currently reviewing a list of 19 different tree species to ensure those selected will be the most beneficial to the community.” 

City staff will be reaching out to residents to participate in a Tree Stewardship Program provided through Trees of San Diego. Residents and community members who wish to participate are asked to attend a Tree Stewardship Workshop April 6, 2019 at the Community Services Center, 124 W 9th Street, Suite A in Imperial. To register for the workshop, please contact (760) 355-3316 or email


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