By Robert Haugh
The top law enforcement official in Santa Clara County has made an endorsement in next year’s race for Santa Clara police chief.
DA Jeff Rosen is throwing his support behind Pat Nikolai.
This is the second big endorsement that Nikolai has received. Last month, the Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association PAC got behind Nikolai and said they would spend big in the race.
That was expected. The Rosen endorsement was not.
The DA works closely with all the police chiefs in the county. Rosen meets monthly with them. Former Santa Clara Police Chief Mike Sellers used to be in those meetings. Since Sellers stepped down, his top assistant Dan Winter has been representing the Mission City. The next DA-police chiefs meeting could be a little awkward. Let’s hope Winter isn’t late and the only open seat in the room is next to Rosen.
Here’s Rosen’s reasons for supporting Nikolai:
“Santa Clara is the only city in California to elect its police chief. Therefore, it’s critically important for the voters to pick the best person to lead the department. As a prosecutor, I worked with the Santa Clara police department for decades. I know the talented men and women who work to keep Santa Clara safe. As the District Attorney, I want to make sure the department has the best leadership possible. That’s why I’m publicly endorsing Lieutenant Pat Nikolai. He has the right talent and leadership to keep Santa Clara safe and restore the department’s reputation as one of the best in our community.”
Covering the Race
This is an important election for Santa Clara so we’ll cover the race closely.
We’ve contacted Winter a couple of times to let him that we’ll print an op-ed on his behalf like we did for Nikolai earlier this month. That was written by three highly respected former police department captains. As for endorsements, here’s Winter’s response: “I don’t have any announcements I want to make on endorsements yet. I will let you know when I do.”
We hope Winter gets things in gear because we’d like to see a competitive race.
We’ve sent both candidates a questionnaire that will help voters understand where they stand on the issues and what type of leadership they’ll bring to the department. We hope to begin to print that information next month.