BREAKING NEWS: Police Chief Mike Sellers Resigns and Won’t Finish His Term

By Robert Haugh

Police Chief Mike Sellers resigned and won’t finish his term.  He sent an email to the police department yesterday saying he’s stepping down on September 1, 2019. (Thanks to multiple sources for sending it our way).

Sellers was vague about his reasons.

In his email, he only said “it is time to shift my priorities and focus on my health and my family.”

Local leaders believe that part of Sellers’ motivation is to try to give his hand-picked successor a leg up for the election. Sellers would be up for re-election in November 2020.

The Assistant Chief is Dan Winter. City Hall sources believe he will run for police chief next year. Winter is considered a close ally of Sellers.

Sellers Legacy

Sellers retires as a controversial police chief. The police department’s morale is considered really, really low because of Sellers and Winter. Some insiders say that Sellers has been Santa Clara’s worst police chief in recent memory.

Here are some of the history-making things that happened on Sellers’ watch:

Next Chief?

Santa Clara is the only city in California to elect a police chief. Mission City residents seem to like that fact. But because of Sellers’ performance, there’s been some talk at City Hall about changing it. That would require a Charter change and a vote of the people.

But the smart money is on an election to pick the next chief. That could happen in March 2020, November 2020, or a special election.

After Sellers steps down, the Council may appoint an acting chief with a four-fifths vote. That person could be from inside or outside the department.

This a developing story that we’ll continue to follow.


  1. Merde!! It is time to revolt against the old guard. Sellers was propped to be chief by Lodge and Winters has been propped by Sellers. If Winters is chief nothing will change. It will be same ol same ol. Javert would be alive and well. Pas non!! It is time for change. Vive le Pat Nikolai! There is a reason Sellers only squeaked out a win in 2016. There is a reason he got a vote of no confidence. Santa Clara police need a leader not a follower.

  2. […] Police Chief Mike Sellers made an appearance to say he was retiring. He said no one should see any controversy in his actions and that he just felt it was the right time. Sellers looked the most relaxed he’s ever been at a council meeting over the last few years. And he’s been in front of the microphone for a lot of controversial things. […]

  3. Robert,

    You forgot to mention that Sellers was supported by the 49ers and BLUPAC in 2016 cuz he let them do whatever the hell they wanted with the alcohol policy in the name of greed. He should retire in shame knowing he bowed to the 49ers.

    Hey, anyone notice how all the 49er supported candidates go down in flames eventually. Diridon, Jr. Caserta, Sellers, …

  4. Winters is coming ?

    in the ever changing game of thrones of Santa Clara….

    I welcome a Chief Winters of Santa Clara. I have high respect for him and he is such a great member of our community and major team player.

    Chief Sellers was a good police chief…. he was always there, always returned a phone call, and was always willing to help, love big Mike!

    This article is clearly political manipulation but in all honesty what media isn’t these days.

    I welcome and hope for a Chief Winters, yet there could be many other qualified candidates. One possibility is Pat Nikolai the runner up to Sellers from 2016. While many said he didn’t have the qualifications, I am sure he would be a solid police chief as well, independent, transparent, honest a really nice guy.

    I say whomever it is they have big shoes to fill from the last few chiefs….yet I am sure either of them would be a great addition and execute the job with professionalism and honor.

    Lastly, KEEP THE POSITION ELECTED. We do not need more political appointments let the people decide. It is what makes our city unique in electing Police Chief and City Clerk.


    Side Note- Robert Haugh what is interesting is you mention about a ballot to change the elected police chief…. don’t you think that would have been the best solution for city clerk last year instead of council making the decisions to stipend and reduce the duties of the city clerk. Shouldn’t the people have voted on that last year or should they still have that opportunity?? that is a major change to the charter without the electorate. essentially “the people” didn’t have their say.

  5. Our experience with Chief Sellers has been excellent. He has even replied to emails while he was on vacation, when we were having issues. He has been very helpful.

  6. Yes said it yourself: the 2016 election had a razor-thin margin. It seems a no-brainer that the pick for interim chief should go to the candidate who almost won.

    • No, the job of interim chief should go to the most qualified candidate. Unfortunately, the person who couldn’t win the popularity contest isn’t the most qualified candidate. It will be interesting to see if Santa Clara Online News will report the qualifications of the candidates in an unbiased way, or take a page out of the Santa Clara Weekly’s book and try to promote the candidate that the city council wants.

    • Using your logic, we shouldn’t vote for Police Chief. You can’t have it both ways! Pat would be a great chief!

    • No, we shouldn’t vote for police chief. There is good reason that every other city in California has eliminated the city-wide vote for police chief. There should be a nation-wide search for the best and most qualified candidate. Save the popularity contest for prom queen.

  7. It gets more and more interesting. What are the chances the council would go with the Chief’s recommendation?

  8. Dan Winter is a top-notch police officer with sterling credentials. You couldn’t find a more honest or hard-working person for the job. There isn’t a person in our police force more qualified to be chief than Dan. To imply that he is being installed as chief in a dishonest way is misleading and a disservice to our city. You accuse the Weekly of trying to manipulate politics, but you are doing the same thing. Why don’t you list his degrees and training next to those of the guy you’re trying to get in? Let the people decide…

    • To be fair, he didn’t even mention the name of the very fine officer who ran against Sellers in 2016 and only lost by a handful of votes! Dare I say his name? It was not Dan Winter.

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