The City of Arcata announced today that Brian Ahearn has been appointed Arcata Police Department’s new Chief of Police. The incoming Chief of Police will be responsible for ensuring that the Arcata Police Department is supporting the Arcata community’s core values essential to contemporary law enforcement, continuing the community’s high level of policing services, building vital community partnerships and growing successful public safety programs focusing on Plaza and business safety, neighborhood crime, property theft and drug use. Recruitment for the Chief of Police position was conducted by an outside recruiting firm, Bob Murray and Associates, who specializes in executive police recruitment.
The recruitment process was a highly competitive, nation-wide search which resulted in 20 finalists.
“Chief of Police is one of the most important and engaged positions in any community, and it was crucial to select a leader with proven experience and the ability to bring specific skills and qualities to Arcata. After considering valuable feedback from community members, a rigorous multi-panel interview process and extensive background research and interviews, we found that Brian Ahearn’s remarkable and diverse police experience in San Diego combined with his drive to work in a coastal, university community was the top fit for our City,” said Karen Diemer, Arcata City Manager, of Ahearn’s appointment.
Ahearn has over 30 years of public safety and progressive law enforcement experience, beginning his life-long career in law enforcement as an Officer Recruit with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) in 1986. For over three decades, Ahearn moved up the ranks at SDPD, most recently serving as Captain from 2011 to 2018. As Captain, he implemented numerous initiatives to enhance police officer training and leadership in addition to serving as Commanding Officer for SDPD’s Vice, Narcotics, Sex Crimes, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Units from 2015 to 2016. He served as Acting Assistant Chief for Centralized Investigations and the Police Laboratory in 2017 and, most recently, served as Commanding Officer for their Homicide, Gangs, Robbery and Economic Crimes Units.
When notified of his new appointment, Ahearn stated, “I am excited to begin my service as Arcata’s Chief of Police. I look forward to supporting the men and women of the Arcata Police Department on a daily basis and working closely with members of the community, students, City leaders and staff, and other local law enforcement and public safety agencies. Together, we will help maintain a safe environment for all who live, work and visit Arcata.”
Sofia Pereira, Mayor of Arcata, stated, “I am confident that Brian Ahearn is a great match for the City of Arcata. His experience with issues unique to coastal communities, university town partnerships, deep understanding of public safety challenges, and background in employee training and mentoring will help make the Arcata Police Department stronger, more innovative and better able to serve Arcata residents and businesses for years to come.”
Brian Ahearn graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration. He has been married to his wife, Jacqueline, for 33 years and they have two adult children. He enjoys outdoor recreation, attending sports events and going to the movies, all of which he looks forward to pursuing here on the North Coast.
Chief Ahearn’s work as Chief of Police will begin following ratification of his employment contract at a Special City Council Meeting taking place on Friday, November 9 at noon in City Hall’s Council Chamber, located at 736 F Street.
An official swearing-in ceremony will be held at a later date, and further details will be announced as they become available.