Friday, August 17, 2012

Eureka Police Chief Search: Starting from scratch?

For unknown reasons, the City of Eureka's first choice for a new police chief declined the offer. I would expect the powers- that- be might take the 2nd and 3rd choices into consideration but maybe that's not the way it's done?

I don't know, but I did see something similar happen with officer recruiting at Eureka P.D. years ago. Not quite the same thing but close enough.

When I was going through the College of the Redwoods Police Academy back in '84, EPD was hiring. Myself and a few other guys applied and went through the oral board. I failed horribly, as always, but one guy came in first place. Then they announced they were starting the hiring process over again.

I don't recall if they started the whole process over again. Maybe it was just the oral testing. The guy who came in first couldn't understand it but he went through the process again. I don't remember if I bothered.

The guy takes the oral board again and comes in #1 for the second time. Eureka P.D. announces they're starting over again for the third time. I remember him asking then Captain Harpham what the problem was and Murl just told him to go through the process again, avoiding any comments regarding the guy's performance- good or bad- during the oral board.

We were talking after Murl left and the guy just couldn't get it. He's wondering what he did wrong that he had to start over after being #1 on the board twice in a row. I just told him to take a hint and that there was something about him that the higher ups didn't like. I suggested he give it up and look elsewhere.

I don't remember if he took the oral again or whatever became of him but he was never hired.

What I didn't tell him is that he was just not physically impressive in the least. He was a small guy: a bit shorter than I was, real skinny and had probably the skinniest arms I'd ever seen- weenie arms, or toothpicks, I've always called arms like that. I'm not saying smaller guys can't be tough but I just couldn't see him getting physical with anyone.

No doubt in my mind that's why they kept looking for someone else when he kept coming in #1 on the oral board. I realize things might have changed and now hiring is more diverse in most departments, but I'd have a problem considering a little guy like that for a police job- then or now.

Makes me wonder if there's something along that line going on with the police chief search, although I'm not saying physical attributes have much bearing on an office job. Sounds as if they might have wanted someone local all along and the #1 candidate turning down the job gave them an opportunity to look again?


At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The citizenry wants someone from somewhere else but the cops (mostly local boys) want a local hire. What do you think would be best in a city plagued with police violence and chain-of-command problems?

At 12:37 PM, Blogger beachcomber said...

Personally? As a Eureka resident, I would prefer the Chief of my city's department come from the area where they know the people and the issues. Where they know their officers and THEIR issues. Where they own a home here and are not just looking to jack up their pension another step before retiring and moving on. It doesn't have to be inter-departmental but at least a Humboldt resident for more than a few minutes. BUT, that's just me, an identifiable resident, and I suspect I'm not alone.

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I tend to lean towards someone more local, although I can see widening the field to candidates from outside of the area.

I'm more interested in why they even bother having candidates rated #3 & 3 if they're just going to start the application process over again? If a candidate is good enough to be #2, I'd assume that means he'd be good enough to be #1 if the prior #1 drops out.


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