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Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter died Monday night, city and Monterey County officials said.

Gunter was elected as mayor in 2012 and also served as a Salinas police officer and detective from 1969 to 2002. He was the first police officer elected as Salinas mayor.

Salinas police wrote on social media that Gunter continued to help the Police Department in personnel and training for years after his retirement.

The department said:

“Thank you, Mayor Gunter, for all your years of dedicated service to the community of Salinas.”

Presidio of Montere Salinas, Calif. Mayor Joe Gunter died Monday, June 29, 2020. Gunter also served as a Salinas police officer from 1969 to 2002 and was the first officer to be elected as Salinas mayor.

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors adjourned their Tuesday meeting in honor of Gunter.

Board of Supervisors chair Chris Lopez said in a statement:

“He earned respect by telling it like it was and always being willing to debate and discuss, but at the end of the day he treated everyone equally and did what he believed was best for the city of Salinas.”

Lopez said:

“Joe was a family man first and I send my thoughts and prayers out to them as they deal with this loss that leaves a huge hole in Salinas.”

Flags are flying at half-staff Tuesday in honor of Gunter.

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