Thank You!

To the many Eurekans who gave selflessly to send EPD officers to Dallas to represent you as Texans lay five dedicated public servants to rest…Thank You! You gave so sacrificially I was able to send three officers, not two.  You have not only honored the men and women who police here in Eureka, but the 12 wounded and five deceased officers in Dallas.  I cannot adequately express my gratitude for your generosity.

EPD is committed to you and we appreciate your support of us. One of our janitors gave even though she has little.  Many gave anonymously.  Some underwrote airfare, hotels and others sent flowers and coffee cards.  Some of you just walked up and handed me money for the officers.  You know who you are.  For those who cannot give and send well wishes, kind thoughts and your prayers, they are appreciated just as much.  All of EPD  knows it, sees it, feels it, appreciates it. It is truly overwhelming

If interested you can watch their trip on EPD Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/eurekapd

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Dallas PD…Fit to Live

As Chief of Police in Eureka, and more importantly a person wearing a blue uniform, I am heart broken and saddened by the cowardly act of race-baiting extremists assassinating police officers at a Black Lives Matter march. If the purpose of your act of terror was to cause a race war…it won’t work. Shooting 12 police officers and killing five strikes at the core of what we have become as a nation.  If the police must worry about snipers killing them while protecting the constitutional rights of others, then we will destroy the very democracy so many have sacrificed so dearly for.  Eureka, we are at a crossroad.  What kind of nation/community will we be?  One that devolves into hating and killing one another or one that sacrifices following Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?  “There are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for. And I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” (MLK, 1963)

When you become a police officer you know one day you could lose your life or be severely injured serving others. You accept that risk because justice and freedom are so dear, so precious and so eternally true, they are worth dying for. The Dallas police officers, and thousands nationwide, just like Dr. King, thought that serving fellow man was worth the risk. The officers and their families also paid a heavy price. They were fit to live, because as most police officers, they were willing to die.

The Eureka Police Department will push forward, working with the NAACP and our community to ensure justice and uphold freedom. Do Black Lives Matter? Unequivocally yes! Not in a flippant way that diminishes the meaning of the struggle black individuals have experienced, but in a genuine recognition of centuries of prejudice and abuse. Black Lives Matter to me personally and professionally.  So do the men and women who sacrifice so much to wear blue.

So, where do we go from here? Just as some want to paint all black people as criminals, so extremists want to de-humanize all police officers.  This is the result. That way one can shoot uniforms from a distance, not men or women with wives, children, mothers and fathers.  These extremists want the abolition of the police, or to have a purely ineffective and reactive police force, happy with no proactive efforts to prevent, reduce and control crime.  They look for the police to be subservient, not public servants.  This will not happen.

Policing nationwide will lick our collective wounds and continue to protect, serve and partner with all segments of this great Nation. EPD will redouble its efforts of inclusion, looking at our blind spots of unconscious bias and yet aggressively route crime where it exists. Eureka is on the right track to public health and safety.  Now is not time to de-police or not work with the community. Nor is it time to create fear in the minds of communities of color.  It’s time to improve, include and understand great ideas take sacrifice and putting self aside for the greater good.

EPD will send officers to Dallas for the funeral of its officers. Please pray for peace in Dallas and if you would like to help defray the cost to our offices for attending the funeral please get a hold of Mary Kirby at (707) 441-4095 or mkirby@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Eureka, be fit to live!

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf

False panic alarms are problematic. EPD responded to 137 panic alarms in the last year. Of the 137 panic alarms, EPD took 5 reports so 132 of the alarms were false or accidental. In other words 96.4% of all panic alarms were false.  EPD dispatches three officers to each panic alarm as it is an emergency call for service. Panic alarms, often called stick up alarms, are for things like armed robbery or violence in progress.

Of the false panic alarms in Eureka, 19 business accounted for 54% of all false alarms. According to Community Development Director, Rob Holmlund, there are about 2,267 businesses with a permit in Eureka. Of those 25% are home businesses and 80% have five or fewer employees (450 businesses).  That leaves 450 +/- businesses with five or more employees.  Based on those numbers 4.3% of all businesses are responsible for 54% of false panic alarms.  So…what are we going to do about it?

  • EPD will continue to respond to panic and burglar alarms.
  • EPD is working with the City to reform and clean up the false alarm ordinance.
  • EPD is writing a letter to the abusers of the panic alarm system and suggesting they fix the problem: install covers, color for recognition, move the alarm button to secure location, two step trigger, or discipline employees who abuse the alarm.

So when the boy who cried wolf too many times screams help when the wolf truly at the door, EPD wants you to know we are still coming code 3.  You need to know you are hurting yourself and this fabulous community.

So the business with a record 24 false alarms (18% of the total)…lets fix the problem.

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Tipping Point

In Malcom Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, he points to small changes that can have an enormous impact. Once those changes reach a Tipping Point they accelerate resulting in amazement. Gladwell gives the three rules for the tipping point: contagiousness; the fact that little causes can have big effects; and change happens in one moment. For a good easy to read synopsis of the Tipping Point please see the attached link. Gladwell.

EPD, we are at a tipping point. There is a contagious epidemic and you’ve gotten the bug. As a team we identified the number of guns in the hands of criminals as a high policing priority. You have gone after illegal guns with vigor. Violence associated with illegally possessed guns is unacceptable. We will drive it to a tipping point.  Illegal guns will continue to be a top policing priority. Street level gun crime infrequently comes from those legally entitled to possess guns.  It most often comes from those prohibited from possessing firearms. Guns This month alone, EPD has taken 20 guns off the street and out of the hands of criminals, drug addicts and the mentally ill.  Your work is stellar; your dedication impressive.  You’ve earned the communities respect. Many police agencies our size don’t proactively seize this many guns in a year!

Now, the community, gun stores and gun enthusiasts can help you keep all of us safer. They can lock up their guns. When leaving the business or house, put guns away.  There is a simple way to prevent gun theft. Hide it. Lock it. Keep it. Never leave guns unattended. Hide them, you can make sure they are not visible. Lock them up, buy a gun safe. That way you can keep them. It your right. We don’t want guns in the hands of criminals, drug addicts and the mentally ill. Each of us must do our part.  EPD keep doing yours.

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Chasing the Dragon

Is someone you care for heading down the path of drug or substance abuse? Do you know a kid who is smoking Cannabis or dabbing, and as a result struggling with addiction? Don’t just watch this self-destruction, do something.  Please, sit down with them and watch this video produced by the FBI and DEA.  It’s worthwhile. Perhaps it will cause one or two to seek help.

Humboldt, we have an epidemic of substance abuse of Heroin, Meth, MDMA, Cocaine, alcohol and marijuana and it costs us dearly.  No judgement or condemnation, just concern and desire to improve the lives of those in pain.  If after watching this video you want help, please call EPD and we will connect you to those who can help. (707) 441-4060.

Warning: It is a mature and serious topic. Consider the age of those watching as it can be raw footage.  Chasing the Dragon

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Trimmigrants Needed

Chief, we have a suspicious death in Palco Marsh. A middle aged man is dead.  He had been involved in a confrontation earlier in the day and EPD was there to investigate it as a suspicious death.  It was zero dark 30, so I got dressed and headed into work.  I walked into the marsh from the north 40 parking lot to an area being held as a crime scene as detectives and crime scene specialists combed the scene for clues.  There was an eerie glow of fires throughout the marsh and dark spots that resembled black holes of space, where clumps of bushes and trees shielded people screaming out of apparent torment. Mental or physical anguish, it was impossible to tell.  One officer asked me if I was scared.  Of course not, I retorted. I am the Chief and a veteran cop who has seen it all. Inside, I felt like I was a participant in a B rated horror flick.  I know Chuck has a chainsaw somewhere down here.

When I found the sergeant he briefed me on the death. He pointed to the area where the man was found deceased. I knew the guy.  His self-proclaimed nickname was Hillbilly. Hillbilly not surprisingly hailed from the south and came here to trim.  He told me, as many other homeless have, they came to trim, but got stranded here after being stiffed by unscrupulous growers.  He later became addicted to heroin and eventually, having nothing left, lived in the marsh. Stranded…addicted…living in the marsh, a story I would hear repeated often.

EPD analysis showed there were five types of homeless in the marsh. Those running into a rough time fiscally. A stack of bills got to them and life spiraled out of control.  They found help quickly thanks to DHHS, Betty, the Rescue Mission, St Vincent DePaul, the Veteran Center and others. The mentally ill. A tough group to manage and help, but Eureka and Humboldt County are leading the way with MIST and the repurposed MAC.  Some are finding help and stability along the way.  Then the drug and alcohol addicted, those who need personal reform get it when they are ready. There are criminal element, those who want nothing to do with societal control, and are here to victimize others, including the homeless.  Finally there are Trimmigrants.  Those who have come to Humboldt/Eureka to work in the Marijuana industry.  This last group arrives from all over the world due to our reputation in the industry. Many desire to live outside of the culture of lawfulness and the rule of law and select a place that in fosters this lifestyle.  Others are just idealistic, goofy kids who want the hippy lifestyle, smoke some pot and make a little cash.  They became the focus of our effort as the others were finding help.

Trimmers needed.  EPD took out an advertisement in Craigslist.  The goal of the ad was to reduce one of the five groups.  We wanted to shut off the supply chain of people who potentially get stuck, or worse become a victim in our community.

Over 100 people answered the ad the first weekend. They are still calling and leaving voice mails today. An assistant called each person back and asked them to send a picture of themselves so we knew they were not law enforcement.  Many responded by sending photos and some sent driver’s licenses. Once they took a step to further their involvement, EPD sent them the attached letter (letter).  In the letter there were articles hyper linked to news stories demonstrating the reality of some grows and this industry.  The articles were firsthand accounts of victimization from sex slavery to human trafficking and murder. articles

We thought about having them come to a predesignated location, detain and run each person for warrants and or probation and parole status. Arrest all of those with warrants and report those on probation and parole.  We chose to save that for a future operation, as we would rather just not have them here at all. It may however be a job in the pipeline. Hint, Hint.

Their response.  One felt it was a “constitutional right to grow, trim and sell Marijuana.”  Back to civics class for her. One called from Australia to tell us they were on the way and can’t wait to work. Stay down under…please.

Others were more poignant: “I am sorry. It was a random thought and one I regret.” Another, “I had no idea of some of that stuff that goes on.  Thank you for sparing me and looking out for us.”

Maybe, just maybe a few won’t come and the rest will tell their friends not to trim in Humboldt. EPD does care for them and this community and are willing to do what’s necessary to protect this awesome community.  We are also watching those who come here for illegal purposes.  Hint, Hint. Trimmer

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EPD Community Policing Recruitment

EPD is a department focused on working with the community.  We look for officers who understand that we serve  and work with the community, yet strive for good, thoughtful, relentless and tough nosed police work.  Balancing the two can be difficult, but isn’t that the essence of policing.  Its vital to the success of the EPD mission.

EPD seeks officers and Dispatchers who understand that community comes first.  If this video represents your thoughts…join us! If you want to have fun, join us. EPD, dynamic community policing.

 

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100 Cars!

100 cars and counting. One of the more significant problems in Eureka is blight.  A broken and abandoned car here and graffiti there.  Shopping carts tipped over and lying in the street and trash heaps piled sporadically around town.  Panhandlers throughout the community.  All of Eureka Departments are problem solving these issues and its beginning to show.  There are fewer abandoned cars, shopping carts and panhandlers.  Now graffiti…you too can help.

Blight pushes away customers, tourists and even residents. So, when EPD recognized we had an abandoned car problem, we scratched out collective heads and sought volunteers to help.  Enter the super volunteers of the Vehicle Abatement Team, Debbie Brantley, David Startare and Roger Miller. Collectively they have yanked 101 cars off the street.  They have also off loaded hundreds of calls for services from patrol officers and improved the aesthetics of the city.  Their work is spectacular!  T/S article by Hunter Cresswell  If you see the volunteers around town, say thanks or buy them a cup of coffee.  They do this for free!

Now we turn our sights to Graffiti.  EPD is assembling a Graffiti Abatement Team. Want to help beautify Eureka? Here is a good place to start. You can email me directly and I will forward it to the team or call 441-4044 and say I want to paint over graffiti.

 

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Standing O’ For the Cops in Blue

May is police officer memorial month. The President of the United States and Congress, as well as local government leaders, felt it important to annually mark the sacrifice men and women made to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans.  Policing is a tough job, yet young officer’s sign up to lay their skin on the line to protect society. They have earned our highest admiration for being willing to accept risk and pursue justice.

On May 3, Mayor Frank Jager and the Eureka City Council gave a Proclamation to EPD, recognizing EPD officers and thanking them for their sacrifice. Council then humbled us by giving EPD a standing ovation. Democrat, Republican, progressive or conservative, it didn’t matter, they stood together in unison, to salute an excellent police agency.  They recognized our progress and EPD’s daily passion is to police justly.

There were a few there who booed and jeered the ultimate sacrifice of our heroes. Normally, I brush the dust off my shoulder and move on not wasting time to acknowledge their existence. However, one man screamed, “F*ck the police” to open his time during community comment.  Really?  This during a time when we honor those who died. He has the right to his opinion and free speech. It is the police who ensure this right.  Some of his kind have walked by my officers in uniform and said, “F*ck, you!” while making a simulated trigger motion with their fingers.  They slandered officers openly and I tolerate it under free speech.  What they don’t comprehend, because they don’t understand personal sacrifice, is that I and each of my officers would die to protect freedom and the constitutional rights of all Americans…yes, even theirs. Isn’t that the point?

Eureka lost three officers in the line of duty. Many more have been assaulted, injured and emotionally wrecked as a result of this job. At SDPD lost 9 colleagues in the line of duty during my tenure as a cop, most by gunfire. I wept at their funerals. I looked in the hollow faces of their mates, sons and daughters, stunned by pain and loss. I witnessed firsthand the pain of a parent burying their child and the horror of a community shocked and saddened to bury two officers at one time.  Every cop I know has been injured at the hands of others.  Stiches, bites, broken bones, stab wounds and bullet holes, I have seen them all inflicted on my friends, my brothers, my sisters.

So, for those who hate the police and enjoy the freedoms EPD ensures, we will protect you and this community at all cost. We will uplift all citizens who call Eureka home, rich, poor, black, white, old, young, male or female. There is nothing you can do to stop us, slow us or hinder us from making Eureka one of the best places on the planet to call home. We have only just begun to bring change. Hope. Prosperity. 

“F*ck you” from people who don’t lift a finger, even the middle one, to build a better community means nothing to us. Your voice is meaningless, your thoughts inconsequential, until you become part of the solution.   Any solution.

Today I was honored to offer Ryan Swanson a conditional job offer as a police recruit. His dad died while arresting a suspect while on duty here in Eureka. EPD hear me…this community has your 6.

abe.police

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#GoFundBetty

There is a great deal of interest in reducing the homeless population here in Eureka. Reading posts in the LOCO and talking to people around town, it is obvious that people want solutions.  Now members of the business community created a plan to house houseless people in customized shipping containers. Crazy as it seems, it just may work. The faith community created a gofundme page so you can get involved.

People like Ms. Betty Q. Chin and Brian Hall from the Rescue Mission have cared for the homeless for decades. Now they need your help to fray the expense.  Here is one way to help. I recognize there are many paths to the same goal, but for those who want to get involved and don’t have a way, consider this: #GoFundBetty

For the price of a couple of cups of coffee you can be part of the solution, rather than a 40 year old guy living in the basement of your parent’s house, smoking a dubbie, listening to 70’s music, complaining on-line about the homeless and every other malady of society. I challenge you, help the cause. Several of the boys (and girls) in blue have already done so.  Why don’t you?

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