Meet Arcata’s new Police Chief Brian Ahearn

Incoming APD Chief Brian Ahearn. City of Arcata photo

City of Arcata press release

ARCATA – 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.

Chief Ahearn will be available for press interviews on Friday, November 9 following the Special Meeting until 3 p.m. To schedule an interview, members of the press are asked to call the City Manager’s Office at 707-922-5953.

Please join us in giving Chief Ahearn and his wife a warm welcome to the City of Arcata.

Special City Council meeting

The Arcata City Council meets Friday, Nov. 9 at noon in Council Chamber, 736 F St. Agenda items include:

A. Ratify Employment Agreement with Brian J. Ahearn for Chief of Police.

Upon the City Manager’s appointment of Brian J. Ahearn as Chief of Police, the Council is asked to ratify the resulting employment agreement for a term of two (2) years, commencing November 7, 2018, through November 6, 2020.

It is recommended the Council ratify the employment agreement with Brian J. Ahearn for Chief of Police, for the term November 7, 2018, through November 6, 2020.


Brian Ahearn's Resumé

Brian J. Ahearn [email protected]

Experience: San Diego Police Department July 1986 – February 16, 2018

Captain June 2011 – February 16, 2018

Responsible for day to day operations in the delivery of police services as the commanding officer to a geographic region. Managed resources and led personnel in the response to emergencies, crime, traffic, and quality of life issues. Trained, developed, mentored and supervised sworn and civilian employees. Established effective relationships with stakeholders including public, private and government entities as well as colleges and universities. Led, managed and directed employees in the completion of large scale projects. Conducted hearings related to employee discipline. Served in the following capacities:

Investigations II October 2016 – February 16, 2018 Commanding Officer of the following units: Homicide, Gangs, Robbery and Economic Crimes. Managed the day to day operations of units conducting sensitive and complex investigations to include murders, officer involved shootings, gang related violent crimes, commercial robberies and economic fraud/elder abuse. Developed programs to enhance community policing by establishing trust through transparency with all stakeholders without compromising investigations or confidential information. Primary liaison to the Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention. Served as Acting Assistant Chief for Centralized Investigations and the Police Laboratory from March 30 – May 7, 2017.

Investigations I August 2015 – October 2016
Commanding Officer of the following units: Vice, Narcotics, Sex Crimes, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence. Managed the day to day operations of units conducting sensitive and complex investigations to include sexual assault, child abuse, child neglect, internet crimes against children, domestic violence, street level narcotics as well as large scale narcotics trafficking. Within the Vice Unit managed personnel in the licensing and permitting of police regulated businesses. Managed a team of attorneys, law enforcement and lab personnel in the implementation of San Diego’s synthetic drug ordinance. Worked collaboratively with the San Diego Community College District to develop a sexual assault response protocol.

Training/Leadership Development November 2014 – August 2015 Implemented several significant initiatives to enhance training, developed protocols to gauge trainee progress and developed a working group to explore options for future training sites. Worked alongside senior executive staff from Miramar College to perform administrative functions relative to the day-to-day operations of the basic academy and regional in-service training programs.

Commanding Officer, Central Division Commanding Officer, Northern Division Commanding Officer, Eastern Division

November 2013 – November 2014 October 2011 – November 2013 June 2011 – October 2011

Serving as the de-facto Chief of Police in all three patrol command assignments, oversaw the day to day delivery of police services in a geographic area. Responsible for reducing crime, enhancing partnerships with communities and employee wellness and development.

Lieutenant October 2005 – June 2011

Internal Affairs/EEO January 2009 – June 2011
Manage the investigation of citizen complaints and allegations of equal employment violations against Department personnel, claims against the Police Department and internal investigations. Lead and supervise detective sergeants, detectives and non-sworn staff in the day to day investigation of cases and administrative functions of the office. Primary liaison to Citizens’ Board on Police Practices. Apply legal principles in the management of cases and determining appropriate disposition. Responsible for facilitating mandated training of all employees in sexual harassment prevention in the workplace.

Field Lieutenant February 2008 –January 2009
Citywide responsibility of all Department patrol operations during an assigned shift. Respond to emergency and sensitive calls. Coordinate the response of multiple officers and commands. Monitor radio call volume and work with Communications Division personnel to triage and manage the assignment of calls. Lead and direct police resources as needed to achieve a peaceful resolution.

Service Area Lieutenant, Northern Division October 2005 – February 2008
Manage the day to day delivery of police services in a geographic region within a patrol command. Plan, coordinate, and direct police resources during large scale events and crimes in progress. Establish relationships with community, corporate, private and government partners. Primary liaison with local universities; providing university specific service to students living, studying and visiting the beach communities and in developing response protocols on and adjacent to neighboring campuses.

Sergeant May 1996 – October 2005

JUDGE Unit March 2005 – October 2005
First line supervisor of task force detectives conducting probation compliance operations.

Domestic Violence Unit March 2003 – March 2005

First line supervisor of detectives in the investigation of crimes. Train, guide and support detectives in the performance of their duties. Support one-stop-shop services provided by the Family Justice Center. Conduct investigations as needed.

Regional Academy April 1998 – March 2003
Responsible for management of all facets of the day to day operations of the Regional Police Academy including scheduling of classes, adherence to POST and Miramar College rules, supervision of the first line supervisors of the recruits, managing POST audits of academy operations, liaison with allied department leaders and adherence to POST requirements for successful completion of the academy curriculum. Worked collaboratively with Miramar College staff to integrate academy training into the campus setting.

Central Division May 1996 – April 1998
First line supervisor of patrol officers in the delivery of police services to the community. Monitor calls for service. Direct officers and resources during crimes in progress.

Police Officer

Field Training Administration Central Division
Eastern Division
Field Training
Police Recruit

December 1986 – May 1996

October 1993 – May 1996 November 1992 – October 1993 August 1988 – November 1992 April 1987 – August 1988 December 1986 – April 1987 July 1986 – December 1986

Education: POST Management Certificate
POST Supervisory Leadership Institute

BS, Criminal Justice Administration San Diego State University

2009 2001 May 1992

Personal: Married to wife, Jacqueline Ahearn, for 33 years. Two adult children.