Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What Bodes Well for Eureka?

On Thursday, September 12, 2013, the Times-Standard announced to everyone that City Manager Bill Panos had hired San Diego Police Department Captain Andrew G. Mills and "plans to put him before the City Council for confirmation and is expected to take over the force". -("Next Eureka police chief announced") And that after a former Eureka police officer Mike Johnson, Panos' original choice "withdrew from the process" "sharply critical of Panos".


On Saturday, September 14, 2013, the Times-Standard Headline says:  Eureka city manager accepts post in Wyoming.

Another worthy note of interest, Mayor Frank Jager says, among other gushing accolades, "Mills is an outstanding candidate." Considering the City Council's record on hiring City Mangers, I wouldn't put much trust in Jager's opinions and judgments.  Nor would I put much trust in Panos' judgments either.

Selecting Mike Johnson, with his record, was an insult to everyone that came forward requesting a different kind of police department as currently enforced by Murl Harpham and his so-call "tough cops." That fact alone puts Murl Harpham's unmistakable stamp on who becomes Eureka's future police chief. When you consider the history, it's obvious he's the primary reason Garr Nielsen was run off the way he was. Now he's having a major input in the selection of this new guy. ('We are one Body" - Times-Standard, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013) Panos comes into Eureka, via the current City Council, does his dirty work and is allowed to leave sooner than - his contract says, later.

Does Andy Mills as Eureka's new police chief bode well for this town? Considering how he was hired and the City Council's facilitation of Bill Pano's quick  exit, one wonders. Did the local voices in all those so-called special town meetings for input on the new chief result in anything more than a stall for Murl Harpham to protect and reintrench his legacy? I think not.

Notice what Mills says after speaking about all the people he plans on listening to, specially the cops, before implementing any plans.

"Mills said there will be one thing that's “non-negotiable” in this process."

”We will treat people with respect, and that's both directions -- the police to the public and the public to the police,” he said. “We are one body.”

Respect is something that is earned - not demanded or dictated. I think we all know what that means, code for "keep your trap shut," "speak when spoken to," and "do what your told."

If the portend new police chief wants the community's respect then he can live and operate within the law. He can earn that respect by example as demonstrated by him and his police force by what they do, not by what they say.

One last point, I take exception to his affirmation that the Eureka community, (as he says the "people" and "the public,") and "the police" are "one body." The Eureka community and its government are one body. The Eureka voting citizens are the body, and they elect their representative governmental representatives, the City Council. It is proven that they, the voting citizens have no direct say in who is the police chief or who are it's police officers. That body's police department, including it's police chief, is it's (the body's) billy club used to enforce it's laws - it's will. The police are nothing more than a tool brought to bear on the general public by that community's elected representatives.

So, does Andy Mills as Eureka's new police chief bode well for this town? I guess we'll all find out.

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