Santa Clara Police Chief Pat Nikolai Issues Statement on Behalf of Police Chiefs About the Tragic Death of Tyre Nichols

By Robert Haugh

The Santa Clara County Police Chiefs’ Association (SCCPCA) issued a letter to the community expressing their deep concern over the recent death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five ex-Memphis police officers.

Nichols’s funeral was held yesterday. Mourners remembered him as a funny and sensitive person.

The letter was signed by Santa Clara Police Chief Pat Nikolai who’s also the SCCPCA President.

The chiefs express condolences to the Nichols family and acknowledge the damage done to the reputation of law enforcement by the actions of a few officers who failed to uphold the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics.

The chiefs emphasized their commitment to fostering a culture of respect for human life within their own agencies. The letter also acknowledged the ongoing challenges faced by police departments across the country and the importance of building strong, trusting relationships with communities.

“We recognize the value of having deep relationships with our communities, built on trust and honest dialogue, and are steadfast in our resolve to continue these efforts, especially in these troubling times, said Nikolai.

Santa Clara Police Chief Pat Nikolai


  1. Nikolai isn’t progressive or forward thinking. In calls for reform after the George Floyd murder, Nikolai announced departmental changes aligned with the 8-Can’t-Wait policies developed by civilian lead Campaign Zero. Many police departments had adopted some of those policies before George Floyd, they didn’t wait for a national spotlight. And today in California, only three of the eight 8-Can’t-Wait measures have been enacted as law. If Nikolai and the other 14 leaders of the Santa Clara Police Chief’s Association really wanted to show dedication to improving outcomes and community relations, they would draft a letter to the State Attorney General Rob Bonta, State Senators Kounalakis (D), Atkins (D), McGuire (D), Wilk (R), and State Assembly Members Rendon (D), Ward (D), Reyes (D), Gallagher (R) pleading to draft, support, and pass the remaining five measures. San Jose PD has enacted six of the eight (3 voluntarily), Santa Clara PD just three (2 involuntarily).

    The Santa Clara County Police Chiefs’ Association publishing a letter condemning crimes committed by police officers 2,000+ miles away is welcomed, but should not be considered attestation that all law enforcement entities and command staff in Santa Clara County are resolute in speaking out against policy violations or crimes committed by local police officers – Case in point: The Santa Clara County Police Chiefs’ Association (SCCPCA) publicly published “Officer-Involved Incident Guidelines” on December 8, 2016 and two days later ex-SCPD-cop Daniel Burde beat his girlfriend so badly that his fellow Santa Clara PD officers arrested him for felony domestic violence. There has been no public letter condemning that incident or domestic violence as a whole and there has been no public letter condemning killing of unarmed persons by police officers in the Bay Area – Christopher Samayoa (2018 SFPD), Andrew Hall (2018 CoCoSO), or Jason Fletcher (2020 SLPD).

    When it comes to putting rubber to the road locally, Nikolai and SCPD leadership look for ways to not hold officers accountable and they certainly don’t publicly speak out against crimes committed by peace officers in Santa Clara County, the Bay Area, or the State of California. Those local POA dollars are a bit too close to home for a political police chief. Change the charter to appoint a police chief, not elect one.

    • How many cops were bad apples
      and an embarrassment to the
      department under Sellers’ watch?
      Who got a vote of no confidence
      from his rank & file? Not Nikolai!

    • Several of your 8-can’t-waits are absolutes that can be dangerous. Such as ” Require Warning Before Deadly Force”. If an officer is being shot at or a civilian is in imminent danger, issuing a warning before acting could cost an innocent life. The same can be said for “Requires Exhaust All Alternatives Before Deadly Force ”
      A list of absolutes often indicates emotion over riding thought.
      Now the ” Duty To Intervene ” makes sense and should be the policy everywhere. It is just enforcing the law.

    • @ Bobby G.: The 2016 vote of no confidence made its way into the headlines just two weeks prior to election when Nikolai challenged Sellers for the job of chief. According to the Bay Area News Group, only 80% of officers took part in the vote and it’s unclear how many of that population actually voted in favor. BANG says POA sources told them the matter came up allegedly because rank & file officers questioned public resources spent to Levi’s stadium to which Sellers responded those officers were naive. Nikolai/POA/Levi’s Stadium… sound familiar? Peace officers employed by the City of Santa Clara need to stay out of politics, including Nikolai. The City Council would be wise to put an amendment to the city charter up for vote … the police chief should be appointed, not elected.

    • @ mrhmeyers: One of the eight policies is to Require Use of Force Continuum which is to “Establish a Force Continuum that restricts the most severe types of force to the most extreme situations and creates clear policy restrictions on the use of each police weapon and tactic.” That effectively addresses imminent danger such as a person positively identified discharging a firearm or utilizing a sharpened/blunt object against others.

      Your other concern, “Requires Exhaust All Alternatives Before Deadly Force” is for scenarios where a subject might appear threatening but there is no imminent danger. Case in in point is the killing of Steven Taylor by ex-San Leandro cop Jason Fletcher. Taylor, a mentally challenged man, was accused by store employees of attempting to take a baseball bat and tent from the store without paying for them. Mr. Taylor was not threatening anyone’s life and waited for police to arrive. Ex-cop Fletcher arrived on scene and radioed that the incident was not a burglary or brandishing incident, but for some reason decided to not not wait for his partner who was seconds behind him in the parking lot, Fletcher instead decided to shoot Mr. Taylor in the chest killing him. That type scenario should satisfy your need to understand this part of the 8-Can’t-Wait policies.

  2. All these nice comments about our police chief.
    Proud he serves as SCCPCA president.
    They see him as a leader.
    So why does SudsJain want to get rid of our elected
    Police Chief?

    • Suds Jain is a coward. As an opponent of Nikolai, I can still praise him when he does right. He just did! An elected chief is the best for Santa Clara. Nikolai is doing quite well.

  3. The Santa Clara Police Department is one of the best police forces ever!! They were there for me whenever I needed them when I was involved in a Domestic Violence relationship. They encouraged me to get help for my addiction and to get counseling in order to break the D.V. Cycle.
    Thank you Santa Clara Police Department 💕
    And – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!🎉🐇🐰🎉

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