City of Ukiah hires firm to begin search for new police chief

At its last regular meeting, the Ukiah City Council approved the hiring of a Placer County firm to assist in the search for a new permanent chief of the Ukiah Police Department.

According to the staff report for the article, which was approved as part of the consent schedule for the Sept. 7 meeting, three companies responded to the city’s RFP: Peckham-McKenney, SGR and Mosaic Public Partners. .

Staff members and the board’s ad hoc committee overseeing the search, made up of board members Jim O. Brown and Mari Rodin, reviewed the proposals and “conducted an informational interview with the top-rated company, Mosaic.” Public Partners”, which is located in Lincoln.

The Agenda Report notes that “Mosaic’s approach, confirmed by their interview, is responsive and transparent, with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The first step in the process will be to work with the ad hoc committee and identified stakeholders to develop a candidate profile that reflects the needs of the community and the organization.Then, a targeted search will be undertaken based on this feedback, followed by an interview process which will also involve the diverse group of stakeholders.

Staff also note that while “the contract with Mosaic does not meet the city’s reporting requirements, a budget amendment is required to cover the cost of the contract, plus any additional costs that may be associated with recruitment. Therefore , staff recommends a budget amendment for the human resources contract services budget in the amount of $38,000.

The city has had three police chiefs in the past four years and is seeking a new chief less than a year after appointing Capt. Noble Waidelich to replace Justin Wyatt in the fall of 2021. Waidelich, a longtime employee who has rose through the ranks to become second in command when Captain Sean Kaeser retired in late 2020, was fired in June for reasons the city has not yet disclosed to the public.

When announcing Waidelich’s administrative leave on June 14, the city of Ukiah described the move as “pending an ongoing criminal investigation by (the) County Sheriff’s Office.” Sonoma. information may be released by the city at that time.”

When contacted for more information on the case at the time, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Juan Valencia released this statement: “On June 13, 2022, an allegation of criminal conduct involving Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich was reported to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Due to the close relationship between the MCSO and the UPD, Mendocino County Sheriff (Matt) Kendall asked the SCSO to conduct the investigation for the sake of transparency.”

The statement continued: “Once the investigation is complete, the case will be referred to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office for review. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is unable to release any additional information due to the active status of this investigation and to protect the integrity of this Case.”

On August 31, Valencia announced that the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office had completed its investigation of Waidelich and reported its findings to Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster and that “no further information will be released.”

At the time, DA Eyster said his office had “gotten something, but if it’s really a completed investigation, I can’t say. Others will assess what we have first. received, if more information is needed and should be sought.”

Also on Aug. 31, Eyster said it had not yet been determined whether, once the investigation was completed, whether his office should handle the case or whether it should be handled by the Attorney General’s office. State.

When asked for more details about the nature of the case, Eyster said “his office policy does not allow comments on reports before filing and then even before sentencing.”

Asked on Tuesday whether his office had determined whether or not the Waidelich investigation was complete, or whether his office would process it further, Eyster said he had “nothing new to report at this time.”

Ukiah Police Captain Cedric Crook has been acting police chief since Waidelich’s departure. When asked for more details about Waidelich’s dismissal last month, Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley said: ‘There is nothing more we can share at this time as there is There is still an ongoing criminal investigation with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.”

When told that the investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office was apparently complete and that “I hope the public can be informed quickly of the nature of the matter,” Riley did not respond.

Brandon D. James