Home > Eureka California > Eureka to begin search for new police chief

Eureka to begin search for new police chief

The City of Eureka will begin the search for a new police chief by holding a pair of forums to gather public input.

How thoughtful.

The City Council has so far ignored public input over the unpopular firing of former Chief Garr Nielsen. Why would they start paying attention now?

The forums will cost around $3,000 and will be “professionally moderated.” This must mean forum goers will look at faces that appear to be listening rather than the usual smirk à la Councilman Mike Newman.

Of course, the public still does not know why Nielsen was fired or what the city council and its leader, city manager Dave Tyson, want in a police chief. Despite all the input already received from the public (for free), the city has hid its motivations behind vague a statement about “differing management styles.” What sort of management style they want remains a mystery.

Given the city’s recent history with this matter, the forums appear to be a feel-good ruse that will serve as a distraction to the city’s severe mishandling of Chief Nielsen.

  1. Cell Block D
    August 1, 2011 at 8:26 am

    If they didn’t ask for public input you would be bitching about that too. $3000? really? Call the grand jury and move on. Garr = GONE

  2. Percy
    August 1, 2011 at 8:51 am

    First comment = stupidest comment on thread. Nice one!

  3. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 9:06 am

    No Percy, you’re #1 this week.

    HH can’t believe that his buddy, his confidant, his protector is gone. HH is not happy, sour grapes.

    Time to move on and get over it. Of course you could get the former c.o.p. (Neilsen) to waive his right to privacy and let the council clarify the issue for you. The council did the right thing (period).

  4. August 1, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Yes, Nielsen is gone. That’s a symptom, not the problem.

  5. 69er
    August 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

    HH is simply stirring shit once again, as everyone is aware I am sure there is nothing the present council could or would do to please him.

  6. Percy
    August 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Sorry, I was wrong. It was followed by even stupider comments. It’s starting to feel like the mirror over here. You boys lost or something?

  7. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 9:30 am

    What you are asking for – the disclosure of the reason(s) why he was fired – are illegal. What do you not understand about that? Are you really that dense? Over and over and over again on the same thing. Move on to the next thing.

  8. insider
    August 1, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Top three rumored to be in the running; Dave Paris, Mike Hislop and the Front runner so far, Mike Johnson, who lists being tight with Tyson as his main qualification. What a bunch, I am afraid for the people who have to live and work in this town. Thanks to Tyson who lives in Cuten.

  9. August 1, 2011 at 9:33 am

    What does Lord Tyson want in a police chief? Why is it such a secret?

  10. August 1, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Good post, Heraldo.
    (See I can be magnanimous when there’s a reason.)

  11. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 9:40 am

    This is just another drill they have to go thru to look like they don’t already know who they really want. Another drill throwing away more money. Another BS drill like public comment at their City Council meetings. Another pitiful Charade.

  12. Pitchfork
    August 1, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Anonymous says: August 1, 2011 at 9:30 am “What you are asking for – the disclosure of the reason(s) why he was fired – are illegal”

    That’s what i think. I think it was Garr knowing to much about all the illegal and/or unethical crap that the City Manager and others were involved in.
    that’s whats illegal!

  13. Ed
    August 1, 2011 at 9:42 am

    agreed 9:40

  14. August 1, 2011 at 9:48 am

    We all know what Tyson wants. Exactly what we’ve got right now, but maybe on steroids.

  15. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

    HH writes “What sort of management style they want remains a mystery.”

    I think it’s clear: bend over and spread your cheeks.

  16. Plain Jane
    August 1, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Tyson probably knew who he was going to hire before he fired Neilsen. It’s nothing but theater, but it does indicate that they feel the need to placate an upset public. Have they ever held hearings to ask what the people want in a police chief before?

  17. High Finance
    August 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

    “The city has hid its motivations..”

    Just another dishonest statement by Heraldo. One that he knows the real answer to. Even your hero Linda Atkins is “hiding”.

    “Rumored to be the top three in the running”.

    I agree with 69er. Heraldo is just stirring up ship and Insider is making up shit.

  18. Decline To State
    August 1, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Sorry, I can’t be optimistic about these “public forums.” We’ve been totally ignored, used and abused by this council so far. I cannot believe they would really listen to us now. The only thread of hope I can cling to is that they were terrified enough for their jobs by the outcry at the firing of Chief Neilsen that we caught their attention.

    On a related note (of us being used and abused) I see in today’s Times Standard that the Measure O tax money we voted in at the last election to be used for “public safety” that much of it is going to be used for street sweeping, park maintenance, etc. While I like these things they do not make me any safer and feel we’ve been used and misled…again.

  19. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Why doesn’t Tyson live in the town he manages. That should be mandatory. Decisions would probably be different if the manager had a vested interest in this town.

  20. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Yeah. it makes me safe knowing that the street sweepers are driving down the middle of the street. Every other town has designated hours to move your car so the sweeper can actually clean the gutters. But not Eureka. Has anyone working in the city ever been out of Humboldt to see there is another way to do things. Not just backwards?

  21. skippy56
    August 1, 2011 at 11:33 am

    By the numbers:

    Eureka is projecting it will bring in $3.8 million in Measure O funds this year. Here’s a look at how they’re being spent:

    Public Safety

    Police Services — $1,335,000

    Public Safety Communications — $25,000

    Fire Prevention and Suppression — $827,500

    Fire Water Rescue Training Program — $41,000

    Fire Volunteer Program — $40,000

    Emergency Operations Center — $9,500

    LERS Retirement Costs — $501,000

    Fire Truck/Engine Replacement Debt Service — $100,000

    Maintenance Services

    Street Sweeping Program — $56,500

    Facility and Park Maintenance — $113,000

    Community Enhancement

    Enhanced Building and Code Enforcement — $98,000

    Neighborhood Oriented Policing Officer — $97,000

    Community Support (H.S.R.C., Clarke Museum, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) — $75,000

    Economic Development Services — $75,000

    Infrastructure Maintenance

    Adorni Center Painting — $50,000

    Fire Department Roof Repair — $150,000

    Earthquake Repairs (Net of Cal. EMA) — $112,500

  22. Plain Jane
    August 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Where does the money to pay off former employees come from?

  23. pattycakes
    August 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Since it is pretty apparent that the only ones who thought Nielsen wasn’t their cup of tea were Tyson, his council puppets and a few still-disgruntled been-there-too-long cops, what’s the forum for exactly?
    For the community to reiterate that they want someone to change the PD culture (like Nielsen)?
    To stop the needless shootings (like Nielsen)?
    To stop runaway overtime (like Nielsen)?
    To make the department more responsive & proactive (like Nielsen)?
    To hire young, eager, forward-thinking cops to mold a progressive, forward-thinking force and not one steeped in kick-ass attitudes and prejudices (like Nielsen)?

    No, I think not.

    Tyson wants an ass-kisser who won’t make waves and will do his bidding. This is just another dog and pony show to pay lip service to the many folks who expressed anger at Nielsen’s termination.

    They are spending your money to get what they want, not what YOU want.

  24. Plain Jane
    August 1, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I think streets free of debris is a public safety issue, particularly for cyclists.

  25. The Big Picture
    August 1, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Funny how they criticize Atkins for “not getting along” while $166,000 is “OK” to eliminate Garr because Tyson couldn’t get along for 18 more months.

    Where’s the conservatives and the taxpayer’s league??

    It’s common today for highly compensated public or private officials to offer their perceived opponents secret settlements to walk away. In this case, beyond the $166,000.

    After what Garr was put through here, considering his accomplishments and popularity, why would he want to return??

  26. tra
    August 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Why is it that the Neighborhood Oriented Officer is counted as not being part of the Public Safety spending?

  27. tra
    August 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Though perhaps they were not meant this way, both the original post and some of the comments on this thread seem to give the impression that there’s no point in attending these forums.

    But it seems to me that Eureka residents who approved of Nielsen’s leadership of the EPD should be be anxious to attend these forums to express their support for having a new Chief of Police who will continue Nielsen’s reforms.

    I get that folks have little faith that Tyson and the council majority will listen, and I understand why there is a lot of suspicion that they have already made up their minds about what kind of person they are looking for in a new Chief.

    But even if that is true, folks should still come out and express their views, and go on the record, both in these “professionally moderated” forums, and during Public Comment time at City Council meetings.

    It’s important to continue to show public support for the changes Nielsen made at the EPD, and to oppose any attempt to hand over the reins to the Old guard clique.

  28. Ben
    August 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Let me see now:
    Complaint 1: not breaking the law and disclose personnel matters.
    Complaint 2: asking for public input.
    As I see it, you are just complaining to complain and can not find anything good in their actions. You are applying your own thinking toward their actions and it is not a valid basis for debate.

  29. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    My only objection is that you used my picture without my approval!

  30. Plain Jane
    August 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Humbug is calling you Ben. It’s time to go home.

  31. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    The street-sweeping machine ran by my house for the first time in eons recently. It left an impression in the gravel, showing it had been there, without actually picking up any of the crap on the street.

    I would like to suggest the City spend its street-cleaning budget more wisely – by hiring healthy young people at reasonable wages to use shovels to really get all the weeds and accumulated gravel and dirt out of the gutters of our now-dirty little town.

  32. Ben
    August 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Now Jane,
    Is this my responce for being reasonable?

  33. skippy56
    August 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    “I would like to suggest the City spend its street-cleaning budget more wisely – by hiring healthy young people at reasonable wages to use shovels to really get all the weeds and accumulated gravel and dirt out of the gutters of our now-dirty little town.”

    Is it the city’s responsibility to remove the weeds from your sidewalk? Hmm, I was under the impression that the city had a right of way for public passage on the sidewalk, but removing weeds and repairing the sidewalk was the responsibiilty of the property owner. Has this changed?

  34. August 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Property owners are responsible for the sidewalks next to their house. I’ve been ragged on at least a couple times by the city for one thing or another regarding mine.

  35. Eric Kirk
    August 1, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    If someone trips, you can sue either. Just so you know.

  36. August 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    What Eric means to say is call him when you trip, regardless of where it happened. :-)

  37. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Lot a trippers in Eureka!

  38. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Correct me if wrong but didn’t only app 200 sign a petition asking to bring Garr back? If true that’s not significant.

  39. hippypunchamus
    August 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Are you saying Eric likes sue happy trippers? Must be a scarcity in Garberville for him to come up Eureka way, but there I go punchin’ the hippie again.

  40. pattycakes
    August 1, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    200 is significant considering the short amount of time signatures were collected in and that barely a fraction of voters were approached.

    What is also significant is that no one was publicly calling for the chief to be fired & there are still no satisfactory answers from Tyson or the council on why it happened. “Differing management styles” seems to mean here that Tyson couldn’t direct all the chief’s actions like he wanted to.

    What’s also significant is the loss of several department heads in a relatively short amount of time. For sure those were differing management styles, too.

    What you should be asking is how can you know what’s acceptable in a chief to Tyson when he won’t tell you what was wrong with the last one?

  41. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Yes EVERYONE attend the forums and ask what was wrong with Garr so you don’t make the mistake of requesting someone just like him.
    You won’t get an answer, though. Nielsen said it was outta the blue, and I tend to believe him, since rumor has it that he hadn’t had an evaluation for at least a coupla years, as per his contract.

    Guess that’s why they had to pay him off. Thanks, Dave.

  42. What Now
    August 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    High Finance says:
    August 1, 2011 at 10:50 am
    “The city has hid its motivations..”
    Just another dishonest statement by Heraldo. One that he knows the real answer to. Even your hero Linda Atkins is “hiding”…
    “I agree with 69er. Heraldo is just stirring up ship and Insider is making up shit.”

    I disagree,Highly Fried dude.
    Heraldo has addressed this issue with more professionalism and maturity than have the jive 5 city counsel and mayor.
    The only Shit that appears to be stirred up appears to be the same easily agitated shit: Highly Fried, 69er and a couple of other asshats.

  43. The Monitor
    August 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Tyson is a control freak. So can you guess what kind of a chief he wants? He is known for micro managing his department heads. That is why Neilson got the axe, he knew how to tackle Eureka’s crime and drug problems and he moved ahead and made the changes. That is why the the average Eurekan liked what he was doing for their neighborhoods. But Dave was sure he knew better, There in lies the difference in management styles that didn’t fit Tyson’s objectives, control. That is why I have mentioned before, he should be crowned “King David”.

  44. Matt
    August 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    For the next police chief, I’d like someone who does the job at least as well as Neilson was, but who also somehow magically doesn’t have “management style” issues.

  45. Anonymous
    August 1, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    If Tyson actually lived in Eureka he probably wouldn’t have fired the Chief. Neilsen was doing a superior job at making our town safe. How would Tyson understand what goes on in Eureka when he lives in Cutten.

  46. Anonymous
    August 2, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Who is responsible for removing the weeds and debris from street gutters in Eureka?

    The City used to send out a street-cleaning truck once a week. About a year ago, the City, citing financial troubles, announced it would no longer do that.

    The City now expects residents to clean those gutters. Nice idea, but not practical. Some people don’t have good enough health to wield a shovel or money enough to hire someone to do the job. Weeds are now growing tall in street gutters in front of many Eureka homes.

    It is time for the City to resume cleaning its streets.

  47. Anonymous
    August 2, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Tyson, something to think about as you continue to pull your strings and wield your power and indulge in your tantrums..(paraphrasing Maya Angelou):


    I would add, that surely includes department heads past and present, the women in your life past and present, and the community, who will always be present.

  48. August 2, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Who hires the Police Chief? Who fires the Police Chief ?

    Are the one and the Same in Eureka?

  49. anon
    August 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Hires & fires all the department heads, chiefs etc, and tells city council when to jump and how high (except for Linda) = Lord Tyson

  50. Anonymous
    August 2, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Dave, hope you’re taking your heartburn/ulcer medicine regularly. Knowing that you read all the blog stuff I am sure those acids are on the rise.
    P.S. I don’t think alcohol makes it better.

  51. Living In Eureka
    August 2, 2011 at 9:43 am

    $150,000 to repair the Fire Dept. roof???? What the hell are they repairing for that price tag????
    $50,000 to paint the Adorni Center building????? Did they hire Michelangelo?????

    No wonder this city is broke.

    If you are the owner of a building in this city, you are responsible for cleaning & repairs to the sidewalk & gutters. Personally, I don’t care how it gets done so long as it is done! The people of this city need to take pride in where they work & live. Until that happens, this city will remain a shit hole!

    Before Garr was hired, this had to be one of the worse police dept. in the state. We also have a crime rate that is through the roof! We have already told this city how we felt about this situation & they did NOTHING! Just ask King Tyson who the hell he can work with & be done with it. Don’t insult us by acting like they really give a damn one way or the other!

  52. August 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Well, it’s supposed to be the Mayor and City Council, the management chart for this city shows citizens at the top of the chart (how’s that for great humor?), the Mayor and council next down the list, and the City Clerk, City Manager and City Attorney next-all three on the same line too. But this council is taking direction from Dave Tyson, backwards for sure. It appears that Tyson, rather than the Mayor and council, gives direction-they all follow. We have already asked for a professional search for a new Chief of Police, using Measure O funds; the reason many of us believe this won’t happen are the “leaks” coming out already about the good-ol boy (in the dept. now) they intend to hire. They want it back to the way it was, before Garr. disgusting

  53. August 2, 2011 at 9:52 am

    This is for Living in Eureka 9:43; you’ll love this. The $50,000.00 for painting the exterior of the Adorni Building is actually, are you ready? $165,000. I have the chart for major expenses this year, and did a double take. The council looked at the $50,000, but the actual figure is $165,000-I’m looking at the chart right now. The council meets tonight at 6PM in council chambers, more people should attend these meetings, you don’t have to speak, just sit there and watch what happens-it’s better than theater, you won’t believe it.

  54. Goldie
    August 2, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Is this a private secret chart that you have or something anyone can see?

  55. August 2, 2011 at 10:12 am

    The chart is called capital outlay expenses-call the City clerk and ask for one, it’s short-only two pages. I’m sure they could e-mail it.

  56. Anonymous
    August 2, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Wow, wonder if David is playing his usual shell games to hide the money he had to give the chief.

  57. August 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Again, please try to come to the City Council mettings, they are only twice a month, the first and third Tuesday at 6 PM in Council chambers-you won’t believe it. we need many more people to just attend these mettings; you don’t have to speak, just show up.

  58. Julie Timmons
    August 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Anon 11:16, EVERYONE who lives in Cutten, Humboldt Hill or adjacent areas has a vested interest in what goes on in Eureka. You apparently haven’t lived here long.

  59. a mouse
    August 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Julie by vested interest, you mean owns rental property.

  60. Julie Timmons
    August 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    If you think everyone in Cutten etc. owns rental property in Eureka you’re really out of it. My vested interest is that when the crooks commit crimes in Sequoia Park or any of the other adjacent areas Cutten residents feel the effects. Is that so hard to understand? I’m outta here. Just noticed Owl’s Friend’s post. Good one!

  61. Down the Road
    August 3, 2011 at 7:44 am

    This attempt by the council and city manager to appease the public
    for firing Garr Nielsen is not going to work. I believe the public
    has had it with this dysfunctional group. But, we should go to all
    the meetings. If only to remind them that 531 K St. makes no
    attempt to enforce most of the civil ordinances. That the city
    is dirty and unkempt and that makes the low life criminals more
    comfortable. That there rarely is an attempt to make owners
    clean up their properties, particularly the landlords. This would
    help any new police chief. Make sure we tell the council, one of
    the big concerns, is to avoid worker’s compensation for the new
    chief. Make sure he is not too tall. That way he doesn’t have to
    bend too far to kiss their asses.

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