Kevin L. Hoover
ARCATA – The last effects of the promotion of former Police Chief Randy Mendosa to city manager have now played out within the Arcata Police Department.
On Thursday, June 24, 2010, Arcata Police Department Officer Jaynie Goodwin was sworn in as the first female sergeant in the history of APD. Former Sgt.Bart Silvers has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and Richard Bergstresser, a former State Parks ranger, was sworn in as APD’s newest police officer. Bergstresser is the fourth officer to be hired in the past year.
Civilian staffing is surging as well, with Miranda Baird and Elyse Bialous on board as the City’s newest police dispatchers.
“That’s the last of the ripple effect,” said Police Chief Tom Chapman.
The promotions and new hires are being installed in a somwhat modifed command structure. Chapman didn’t replace himself in the captain position, instead appointing Silvers as an additional lieutenant along with current Lt. Ryan Peterson. He said other police departments of comparable size are similarly structured. Advantages include removal of one layer of management and some minor salary cost savings.
In addition, Sgt. Todd Dokkweiler has been upgraded to the post of detective sergeant, supervising APD’s Special Services group, which includes Valley West and downtown officers, park rangers and Drug Task Force officer.
APD is now short two officers, though one is an unfunded “overhire” position – a slot created to allow recruitment in anticipation of an inevitable vacancy due to attrition and injuries.
Practically speaking, APD lacks just one officer, with 16 of 17 funded positions filled. At its worst, APD has been down to 11 officers, requiring cops to cancel vacations and work on days off, stressing personnel and degrading performance.
The Arcata Police Department was established in 1894 by the City Council of Arcata to “watch and preserve the Town from fire and depredations... and arrest public offenders, suppress riots, frays, duels and disturbances of the peace therein.” Over a hundred years later, Arcata’s police officers respond to about 30,000 calls for help each year and the Arcata Police Dispatch Center handles upwards of 65,000 calls annually.