Chief Sellers Criticizes $6.7 million Settlement — and Mercury News Columnist
By Robert Haugh
Thanks to multiple sources, we received this letter that Santa Clara Police Chief Mike Sellers sent to his department on Thursday, October 5:
A San Jose Mercury News article was posted online yesterday and published today involving our department. The reporter, who by the way never sought a comment from me despite what his article says, used the recent lawsuit as an opportunity to attack me and this department. Had he just attacked me, I would have not felt the need to respond. He has attacked me personally before and I am sure he will do it again. However, this time this reporter from the safety of his keyboard attacked our officers and the reputation of our department. I felt that this required a response from me to the people that matter the most and that is you – our outstanding and dedicated employees.
First and foremost, and in the strongest terms possible, I will reiterate that I fully support the actions of our officers involved in the lawsuit. These officers acted in good faith to arrest this wanted arsonist. I am saddened that we did not get our opportunity to prove our justified actions in a court of law. The decision to settle this lawsuit was not within our control. The city’s insurance carrier ultimately made the decision that resulted in the settlement of this lawsuit.
Our department’s reputation in the law enforcement community remains stellar. Thanks to our hiring and recruiting unit, we are consistently hiring the finest lateral officers from departments all over the Bay Area. Two of these laterals started last week and we have given an additional job offer to a sergeant from another department. Time and time again laterals site our department’s stellar reputation as their number one reason for coming here. In addition, these laterals site our high morale, professionalism, dedication to duty, and the feeling of family that exists within our ranks. That is a testament to each and every one of you.
Our reputation only grows stronger with events like last night’s concert. Our Special Events Unit had to quickly adapt to the tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas to ensure that the citizens in attendance would be safe. Within a short period of time a new tactical plan was developed and implemented by that unit.. Our new City Manager attended the event with me and observed our entire operation. She too could not have been more proud about our efforts to provide a safe environment. I want to thank the Special Events Unit and every member of our department that works so hard to ensure the public’s safety.
Much of the great work you do goes unrecognized. Our Records Specialists, Public Safety Dispatchers, Jail Service Officers, Office Specialists, Community Service Officers, Reserve Officers, and other civilian professionals do tremendous work on a daily basis. Our sworn officers also work hard to ensure that our community remains a safe place to live and work. Do not let the uneducated opinion of one reporter impact the overwhelming pride that each member of this organization should feel for the path of service you have chosen.
Continue to serve our community and each other with pride.