Grand Jury Clears Nielsen



The Grand Jury report hinted at in this week's cover story about friction in the Eureka Police Department has just been released, and what do you know? The GJ sides almost entirely with reforming Chief Garr Nielsen against his detractors.

Some money quotes:

As a result of its investigation, the Grand Jury found the allegations of unauthorized use of City property, improper compensation, illegal hiring practices, abuse of authority, and certification status misrepresentation to be without merit. On the basis of sworn testimony, the Grand Jury found that the allegation of retaliation had been previously resolved by the City of Eureka. The accusation of filing an incomplete conflict of interest statement was found to be based on an omission that has subsequently been corrected, and the Grand Jury could not substantiate the allegation of inappropriate sharing of information.


The new Chief accepted the direction he was given and proceeded immediately, some say too quickly and aggressively, toward making changes in the Department. The Grand Jury believes the tension that has resulted from the Chief’s actions is the predictable outcome when a strong force for change in an organization meets a strong resistance to that change from within the organization. The resulting antagonism between the Chief and those in the Department who do not want to see the changes implemented is predictable and could possibly have been reduced if communications among all those involved had been better. Given the opportunity, many whose actions have contributed to the current tension in the Police Department might have behaved differently and the best option now is for everyone involved to move forward as amicably and productively as possible.

The Grand Jury finds that the situation is improving and that the center of antagonism against the Police Chief has been reduced to a small group of employees who may never come to terms with some of the changes our municipal leaders are seeking within the Police Department.

Download the 2008-09 Final Grand Jury report (.pdf).

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