Briefing Room: response to letter about exhaust citation

Logo courtesy of Seal Beach PD

Hello Seal Beach!

Last week a resident sent an email to two City Council Members, the Sun News, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Times, Chief of Police Phil Gonshak, and two prominent Seal Beach businesspeople. A portion of the letter was published in last week’s paper but it was not published in its entirety.

At the conclusion of the email, the resident asked three questions:

• Is the city council and police department incompetent, lacking training/resources, illiterate, or knowingly interpreting our laws as they see fit when they see fit?

• How many citations were given today on Seal Beach Blvd and PCH for “loud modified exhaust” during the Annual Seal Beach car show?!

• Does the city of Seal Beach support American Car Culture or not?!

Below are my responses:

First, I apologize if you believe our officers treated your family members unprofessionally. I would be happy to review the body worn camera footage of this interaction to determine if our officer was rude, unprofessional, or had violated any policies.

That being written, I am unable to discuss the particular details of the citation your wife received via email. If you believe the citation was issued in error, you are welcome to contest the citation through the Courts.

However, I can answer the questions at the bottom of your email.

Seal Beach Police Officers receive training on the California Vehicle Code, exhaust regulations, and other violations. We regularly receive complaints from the community about vehicles with loud/modified exhaust. At the request of the community, we enforce these rules much like other rules of the road such as speeding, cell phone use while driving, U-turns on Main Street, etc. Again, if you believe the citation was issued in error, you are welcome to contest it in Court.

To my knowledge we issued no citations during the day of the Car Show for loud/modified exhaust.

The Car Show is a permitted event that has been going on for over thirty years. Because the event is so important to the community, so well attended, and brings many people in to support our small businesses and local economy, we support the Car Show and its organizers. This year the Car Show organizers elected not to have the dragsters participate due to noise concerns.

This likely reduced the number of loud/modified exhaust vehicles on our roadways. I know from personal experience that many of the classic cars get trailered in and are not actually operated on our streets.

The City of Seal Beach supports a safe and lawful community. Our officers enforce the laws using their best discretion and understanding. Furthermore, we support popular events that are hugely beneficial to the community, such as the annual Car Show.

Much like other special events that happen on an annual basis, such as the 5k/10k, holiday parade, Turkey Trot, etc., sometimes a few community members are temporarily inconvenienced to support events that are overwhelming good for the community.

If you read our weekly column in the Sun News, or visit our Facebook, Instagram, come to our Coffee with a Cop events, or talk to any of our officers, you’ll know we do a lot of outreach and education on loud/modified exhaust.

We also place our electronic sign boards throughout the community reminding motorists that loud/modified exhausts are illegal.

Perhaps this means we elect not to enforce loud/modified exhaust violations as strongly on the day of the Car Show as we do the rest of the year. Our community expects the Police Department to enforce the law with compassion and understanding.

I hope this sheds some light on our enforcement posture during special events. Our ultimate goal is to partner with this wonderful community to keep it safe, and to maintain an atmosphere where people want to come and spend a beautiful day looking at gorgeous classic cars.

Keep your questions coming Seal Beach! Email us at today!