UPDATE: Eureka City Manager Bill Panos tells the Outpost that he is not at liberty to respond to the letter below, as the city is still actively hiring. “We’re really pleased to be going through the process to select our new police chief,” he said. “We really don’t want to comment on any candidates at all, because we don’t want to impede the process.” He only added that the city still has several excellent candidates to choose from.


Over the weekend, the Lost Coast Outpost was forwarded the following letter written by Michael Johnson, former Eureka Police Department officer and current chief of police for the City of Anderson. In it, Johnson takes his name out of contention for the position of Eureka’s next police chief, blaming poor communication from city staff and a “barrage of misinformation” from an unspecified “small group of individuals and/or person(s) with their own agenda.” 

Eureka Mayor Frank Jager just confirmed to the Outpost that Johnson has withdrawn his candidacy. Just last week, Jager, in an interview with the Outpost, downplayed widespread reports that Johnson — one of the officers involved in the Cheri Lyn Moore shooting — had been offered the job.

We have calls in to both Johnson and Eureka City Manager Bill Panos, and will have another story on this when more information becomes available.

Johnson’s full letter below:

Dear Mr. Panos,

I am frustrated with the lack of communication and perplexed as to why I am not getting a return phone call from you. I have left a total of three messages on your work line, personal cell phone, and with your assistant. It is concerning to me that I have to hear various discouraging bits of information and rumors circulating through the Eureka community in regards to my potential employment status. It appears as though things are not very confidential and concerns that you are having are being driven by a very small group of individuals and/or person(s) with their own agendas. Most frustrating to me is the fact that I cannot discuss these issues directly with you because I cannot get a return phone call.

I have been extremely patient through this very long and unusual process. I have tolerated the lack of support by the city, stonewalled the media inquires after receiving the conditional job offer (at your request), endured the explorations of other candidates by you that were outside the original scope of the testing finalists, and remained silent during the barrage of misinformation that you have been fed by various sources attempting to discredit me. The process has proven to be extremely stressful for my incredibly tolerant family and unprofessional in my estimation. To remind you, I was the candidate that out-tested the others and was chosen from the fifty applicants in the nation wide search.

I know there is no disqualifying information within my background investigation so I can not understand the indecision. I have been honest, transparent, and collaborative with both the City of Anderson and the City of Eureka in this process. I am unable to continue to ignore the red flags that caution me against making a detrimental decision for me and my family. Respectfully, I hereby withdraw from the hiring process from the City of Eureka. I am thankful for the opportunity and wish the City the best in its search for a Police Chief.


Michael L. Johnson