Your New Chief, Steve Watson | AG

After two months of mulling it over, the City of Eureka decided they already had all the chief they needed in their own ranks. Thus, Monday afternoon, the official word hath come down that longtime Eureka Police Department captain and current interim police chief Steve Watson has accepted the city’s offer to permanently serve as permanent police chief. 

Watson took a moment for a brief congratulatory call from LoCO and said he hoped his department would pursue a “customer service-minded” focus moving forward.

“If you take care of your people — if you show them they’re valued and appreciated — they’re going to pay that forward in service to our community,” Watson said. 

More in the City of Eureka press release below:

The City of Eureka is pleased to announce that Interim Police Chief Steve Watson has accepted an offer to serve as the Chief of Police for Eureka. The City conducted a nationwide search and has determined that Interim Chief Watson was the best candidate to lead the department and to provide the crucial law enforcement services in the community that our residents expect. “Throughout Steve Watson’s tenure as Captain, and for the past two months as Interim Chief, he has demonstrated leadership, creativity, problem solving, and a deep commitment to the community. I am looking forward to Chief Watson serving our community for many years to come,” -City Manager Greg Sparks.


A softer side of Steve

Interim Chief Watson commented “I hope to get to know and work with you and others over the coming years. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to serve as your Chief of Police.” Interim Chief Watson began his policing career in 1998 with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, before returning home to accept a position with Eureka Police Department in 2005.

Chief Watson was initially appointed as a Patrol Officer, promoting to Sergeant in 2007 and Captain in 2014. Chief Watson received his Bachelor of Arts, Church Leadership (leadership-focused multidisciplinary study) in 1996, and completed the Teaching Credential Program in 1997 from Bethany University. Additionally, Chief Watson has completed course work at Humboldt State University and California State University, Long Beach, and most recently graduated the California Police Chiefs Association, Executive Leadership Institute at Drucker School of Management (Claremont Graduate University). Prior to beginning his career in law enforcement, Chief Watson served in the United States Army, and the United States Army Reserve.

Chief Watson’s community message is “I believe that partnership, understanding, and public trust are core tenets of any successful policing program. It takes a whole community to police effectively and EPD needs your help. We can’t throw enough handcuffs at our problems to solve them all through arrests. ‘Ping-pong’ policing doesn’t work. Creative, collaborative crime fighting and prevention is needed”.

Mayor Frank Jäger commented “I am very pleased that Interim Chief Watson has accepted the position of Police Chief and I believe he will lead our police department with integrity and with commitment to our residents”.

As per the provisions of the City Charter, the Eureka City Council will be requested to approve the City Manager’s appointment of Chief Watson at the October 17, City Council meeting.