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EPD continues restructuring process as six are promoted

EUREKA- A ceremony to commemorate the promotions of six members of the Eureka Police Department was held on Wednesday at the Wharfinger Building. Those promotions were for two Captains, two Sergeants, a Communications Supervisor and a Support Services Manager. The promotion of the two Captains is an example of the Eureka Police Department’s restructuring process.

Sgt. Steve Watson and Sgt. Brian Stephens of the EPD were both promoted to Captains on November 1st.  Now, the EPD will have two Captains instead of one.  Captain Watson will command the mostly commercial district, and Captain Stephens will command the mainly residential district.

"The whole idea is to have one person responsible for it so they're looking at the crime trends, they're looking at the problems, and they're working with those specific communities," said Police Chief Andrew Mills with the EPD.

The selection process included having the sergeants both write several papers, take a written test, and be interviewed by multiple panels made up of community members and city and county officials.

"I want them to be able to think on their feet, I want them to be articulate about what we're trying to accomplish as an organization, and two rose to the position and the community identified, the panels identified these two as the ones they felt should be promoted," Police Chief Mills said.

Police Chief Mills says the goal of restructuring the department is to make Eureka the most livable community as possible.  Both new Captains will now develop strategies for accomplishing those goals in their designated areas.

"We really have to see what the crime trends are in our areas and how we're going to deploy our people so that we can be most effective to the type of crime it is and making the quickest reduction we can.  So as far as strategy goes, that's going to be an every day thing where we evaluate what's being reported to us and how we're going to deal with that," said Captain Stephens.

"We can't arrest ourselves out of the problems that the city is facing and that's true for just about any community these days and so a key part of that is leveraging all of the resources that are available in the community, realizing that the police can't do it by themselves, that we need those relationships and those partnerships with the stakeholders in the community and the other services in the community," said Captain Watson.

Police Chief Mills says more restructuring is on the way, including the implementation of a new records management system.

"We will continue to make adjustments until we can get to the point where we think it's really working well and we're getting feedback from the community that this is what they want," said Police Chief Mills.