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Re: “Mendo DA Upset to Learn of Former EPD Officer's Past Dishonesty, Will Dismiss Cases that Require His Testimony

Tom, I dont want to get into detail or a deep discussion about this on a public media forum like thisits not the most appropriate venue and there are some elements Im not at liberty to share.

With that being said, it wasnt a brief suspension but rather a full months worth of payabout the steepest practical discipline short of termination and the longest Ive personally seen imposed here.

Secondly, your question about retention of a Brady officer is logical and one we also considered (and about which I will be conducting further research). To keep this short, during this disciplinary process I consulted with an outside legal expert to conduct a thorough review of our entire investigation. I did this not only to seek an objective, impartial analysis and opinion of the investigation itself and its integrity (were we thorough, complete and fair; did we get it right or miss anything; did we follow the law and due process while ensuring the rights of the employee and the integrity of the investigation?), but also for the officers sake for all the same reasons. (And I felt we most definitely did, but given the high stakes involved wanted another layer of review.) Part of this consultation was to obtain an opinion concerning the appropriate, sustainable level of discipline likely to stand given the unique totality of the circumstances of this case. Termination was considered. Among other things, I learned degree of misconduct (including in dishonesty cases) is one factor that will be considered during any post-appeals process.

Regarding transparency with other misconduct cases involving current (or former) members of EPD, all cases of serious sustained misconduct that we are legally authorized and mandated to release pursuant to SB 1421 will be. This includes significant uses of force like all officer involved shootings, dishonesty, and on-duty sexual assaults. The Peace Officers Procedural Bill of Rights and California law limits and prescribes what we are allowed to disclose. We will follow the law. The vast majority of law enforcement officers serve with honor and integrity. We dont want the other few anymore than you do.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by SW on 09/24/2019 at 8:01 PM

Re: “Mendo DA Upset to Learn of Former EPD Officer's Past Dishonesty, Will Dismiss Cases that Require His Testimony

Like any profession, group or organization, law enforcement agencies have members who make mistakes (were human and imperfect too) and a few who do worse and dishonor the badge. You can choose to look at this story one of two ways: this is just another example of how most cops are bad OR that we take misconduct very very seriously and we hold ourselves accountable and to the high standards our communities rightfully expect of us.

Ive been a law enforcement officer for over 22 years serving two different agencies and I can tell you that as a whole, the second viewpoint is the truth. (Yes, there may be a few agencies across this country where this has not yet been fully realized but they are the exception not the rule).

This investigation was internally generated within the department by our own supervisors and not from a citizen complaint. Think about that. We discovered misconduct and decisively dealt with it rather than hide or ignore it...just like we do every time.

To become a sworn peace officer in the state of California, you have to successfully pass a rigorous and extremely thorough background investigation that meets POST standards, a polygraph or voice stress analysis, along with a psychological examination aimed at assessing your suitability to be a police officer.

Many applicants fail this process. Sometimes over 50%.

Some reading this will never change their minds about the police but I dont write this for them. Im at home with my family tonight writing it for the rest of you, including some who might be undecided about how they feel.

The publics trust is our lifeblood and we fully recognize this. Many officers have sacrificed their lives or their health for others while honoring the badge in service to their community. There are hundreds of thousands of officers across this country who protect and serve every single day with honor, integrity, courage and commitment. They dont just talk about these things or sit behind an anonymous keyboard criticizing others, they live it and prove it daily.

Enough said. Enjoy your weekend everyone. And rest easy tonight knowing your officers, deputies and dispatchers will be out there keeping you and your loved ones safe while their own families sleep without them. We choose to do this and are grateful our community has entrusted us to protect and serve.

20 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by SW on 09/20/2019 at 9:01 PM

Re: “Light into Dark Places

NOYB, I challenge you to share with me directly, and not behind an anonymous unsupported social media post, exactly what so much more awful police misconduct occurring frequently in Eureka means. This is a blatantly false statement about EPD today, unless you have some kind of hidden bombshell-level evidence of misconduct in your pocket you are willing to share with us.

Come offer me evidence not unsubstantiated opinion. Id be happy to meet with you constructively in person to hear your evidence and concerns (441-4095). However, based on my past experience responding to these kinds of comments, I doubt youll take me up
on my offer. If you do, I think you will find me open minded but I will also require actionable, unbiased information not conjecture or opinion because you don't like cops. Also keep in mind you've no idea about what other disciplinary matters we have decidedly dealt with over the years that are not publicly disclosable by law.

I have lost count of how many times in just the past couple of years that commenters have made allegations via social media, usually chiming in on someone else's unrelated story/post, that when proactively investigated (on our own initiative, not because we were asked to) turned out to be completely false. We take all real allegations of misconduct seriously and if sustained address it appropriately.

Im not going to waste any more time replying to this thread. You know how to get ahold of me.

Chief Watson

16 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by SW on 08/31/2019 at 3:33 PM

Re: “EPD Investigating White Supremacist Group's Local Recruiting Efforts

I absolutely respect and appreciate the NCJs decision not to publish the name and social media links to this hate group. While this is not a knock on those who did (this is an issue of significant public concern and interest), doing so is a double-edged sword as the media exposure gives them free advertising. There is no place for this hate and discrimination in our community. EPD stands united against such racist hate individuals and groups. I feel confident in saying so does every law enforcement agency in Humboldt County. We're coming for you...

Chief Watson

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by SW on 07/10/2019 at 10:54 PM

Re: “'Catch Me If You Can!!'

Outstanding story. Ron Harpham is the real deal. You can run but you cant hide!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by SW on 10/25/2018 at 8:14 PM

Re: “EPD Retracts Plans for Homeless Meal Voucher System

We would modify ours, if it is even feasible, to fit the needs and capabilities of our community. We're just trying to control behavior, reduce crime and disorder problems, and improve the safety and beauty of our Old Town area (and the rest of the city) through creative crime fighting that is firm when needed but fair. Think outside the box and find other options beyond just enforcement. You sound interested. Why don't you help us find a solution? Contact our Homeless Programs Manager Lynette Mullen (lmullen@ci.eureka.ca.gov) if you've got a better idea or want to help us find one.

Interim Chief Watson

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by SW on 07/20/2017 at 3:32 PM

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