“I look forward to this opportunity to maintain the continuity of leadership within the department and will continue placing the members of our department and residents of our city first,” Stephens says in a city news release.
The city expects an interim chief to be appointed within the next 30 days, according to the release.
“Acting Chief Stephens is well respected and a proven leader at the department,” said City Manager Miles Slattery. “I’m grateful that he is willing to serve and lead EPD during this transition.”
Stephens started with the department in 1999.
Today’s announcement comes as Chief Steve Watson’s last days wind up after his announcement in late October that he would be retiring at the end of November after four years in the post.
The change in EPD leadership is also happening not long after the city received a highly anticipated report from a Bay Area law firm hired to investigate the text message scandal that rocked the department earlier this year when first reported by the Sacramento Bee.
At last reporting, the investigation report was under legal review by another outside law firm, which was also provided with potential disciplinary actions the city is looking at taking based on the report's findings. Liebert Cassidy Whitmore is reviewing those to advise the city about whether they are legally defensible based on the report's findings and applicable state law, Slattery previously told the Journal.
Watson said previously that the report and his retirement were not related, calling the decision “bittersweet.” (Read more here.)
Read the full release below:
The city of Eureka continues to work toward appointing an Interim Police Chief to serve Eureka as the City recruits for a permanent Chief of Police. Appointment of the Interim Chief is expected within the next 30 days. Effective December 1st, Captain Brian Stephens will be the acting Police Chief until the Interim appointment is made.
Acting Police Chief Stephens began his service to the City of Eureka in 1999 as an officer and served as a Field Training Officer, Instructor of Defensive Tactics and Chemical Agents. After spending 4 years as a Special Agent with the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, Stephens returned to EPD and promoted to Sergeant. In November of 2014, Acting Chief Stephens was appointed Captain.
Chief Stephens holds a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)Management Certificate and also graduated from the FBI Academy in June of 2018. Acting Chief Stephens stated, “I look forward to this opportunity to maintain the continuity of leadership within the department and will continue placing the members of our department and residents of our City first”.
“Acting Chief Stephens is well respected and a proven leader at the department”, said City Manager Miles Slattery. “I’m grateful that he is willing to serve and lead EPD during this transition.”