New Petaluma Police Chief Named in Lawsuit

Former female employee at Desert Hot Springs Police Department says Chief Pat Williams discouraged her from cooperating with federal investigators, then scolded her when he found out about it.

Petaluma’s new police chief allegedly discouraged a female employee from cooperating with FBI agents who were investigating excessive force within the department and scolded her when he found out that she had spoken to them, according to an article in Friday’s Press Democrat.

When Desert Hot Springs Police Chief Pat Williams takes over the Petaluma Police Department on August 13, it will be amid allegations that he pressured an employee to not talk about harassment she faced in the department, according to the story. The employee, who says she was forced to retire, is now suing Desert Hot Springs for $5 million.

Last week, Petaluma Patch also reported that in February, the peace officers’ union in Desert Hot Springs, a Southern California town of about 28,000, , citing problems with the agency’s disciplinary process, lack of fairness in promotions and low morale.

But others have defended Williams, saying that he was instrumental in reducing the city’s crime rate and restoring residents’ confidence in the department.

In an email to Petaluma council members, Russell Betts, a Desert Hot Springs business owner and councilman said that Petaluma was “extremely fortunate” to be getting Williams, calling him “an excellent police chief.”

“Prior to the arrival of Chief Williams, when a resident’s car was stolen, the police would not show up to take a report for days,” Betts said. “Gangs that had infiltrated our city were having nightly shootouts, robbing businesses and turning safe streets into dangerous ones…Chief Williams corrected that…Our residents went from having a general disdain for our police department to literally giving our officers standing ovations at our city council meetings.”

Read the full Press Democrat article here

Are you concerned about the city's new pick for police chief? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Active Thinker July 14, 2012 at 08:34 PM
great...just great...wow...here's the new guy in charge...I would like to hear more about the story or maybe the city should put a halt on the hiring until this news clears up...
SP July 15, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Oddly, it is understood that the City Manager is still awaiting the results of the background check. For chief of police? Cart or horse, horse or cart? How has someone been offered and accepted a job without a background check being done...especially in this position? There is some explaining to do…
Paul Andersen July 15, 2012 at 07:18 AM
This seems like yet another example of the misguided leadership endemic at Petaluma City Hall. Why would announce you've hired someone who has yet to pass a background check? Whatever happened to due diligence? It certainly doesn't inspire much confidence in our local leadership, especially in the City Manager's office.
Sandi Melia July 15, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Yikes! Oh no here we go? Not a complete background check huh? Kind of shakin my head here...
Concerned Citizen July 15, 2012 at 07:21 PM
If Chief Williams was doing "so well" where he was.....then why did he leave? Why would you leave a department in which the general public is giving you "standing ovations" at City Council meetings? Wouldn't that city make EVERY effort to keep such a valuable Police Chief? Well....where there's Smoke...there's Fire. Maybe the Crime Rate in his city did drop....because of excessive force tactics used by officer's under direction of the Chief? Wasn't there ANY more local potential Chief's Candidate from Petaluma PD,Santa Rosa PD, Rohnert Park PS, Sonoma County SO, Novato PD or Marin SO that as was qualified to be a chief, who knows the area, works/trains with the officers, understands our community, lives here, votes here, raises his/her family here...and isn't embroiled in controversy or law suits? The answer to that is YES...yet the City Manager is blind.
Anthony Gary July 15, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Uh Oh....Having lived in P town for over 30 years until 3 years ago..This is just showing that Petaluma is business as usual....Pot Holes and Police Chiefs...Way to go....Happy to be a resident of Rohnert Park now...
The Fool July 15, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Yes, because Rohnert Park never had any questionable police shootings (Kwan Kao, anyone?) or any type of mismanagement. Please. It is not uncommon for any position to be offered pending background checks. It's simply standard procedure. And people have the right to relocate. Hell, if I were from the Inland Empire, I'd want to come to Petaluma, too. Now, having said that, if any, any, of the allegations prove to be true, he should be kept as far from P-town as possible. The City still has time to do this. And...why again, did we not promote from the inside?
Concerned Citizen July 15, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Yeah....relocating is fine.. especially after you crap in the old back yard, then come here with a new yard to stink up. At least if you hire someone local (especially from within..read :Dave Sears), then you know what you're getting: someone who is a part of our community, has his kids going to our public schools, and who puts professionalism before politics. (You see where trying to play politics got the former interim chief...just a flash in the pan and a divided Police Station).
BM July 16, 2012 at 09:01 PM
If you all only knew. All I can say is that, a thourough Background check is in order here. As I understand it, there is usually a Background Check first, and THEN a "Conditional Offer" is given to the Candidate, because legally they cant do a Medical, Physc and Pollygraph, without giving that Conditional Offer first. Given a No Confidence Vote and now a 5 Million Dollar Lawsuit, looks like Williams is more of a "Liability" then an "Asset".
Mitch Spike August 06, 2012 at 05:56 PM
If everyone would like some facts instead of all this speculation, here goes: You won't find a harder-working police chief with more integrity than Pat Williams. I am a 30-year cop at a neighboring department and he worked for us as a sergeant. He was hired by Lompoc PD as a captain, and then as Chief of Police in DHS. He did an awesome job there and was very well liked. He has aspired to lead a larger department, but wouldn't dream of leaving unless he had confidence in the successor he had groomed to fill his place. In case anyone believes the false allegations that Chief Williams discriminates against women, keep in mind that his successor, Kate Singer, is one of the first if not THE first female police chief in the Coachella Valley (where Desert Hot Springs is located). I have known Pat Williams for decades and the City of Petaluma is lucky to have him. Give the man a chance and you won't be disappointed.
Noto Williams August 07, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Williams did not do well in Lompoc which is why he didn't get the chief job. His poor leadership divided the dept, caused multiple law suits from employees and citizens. Look into law suits in Santa Barbara county, he is named in a retaliation discrimination suit there. Employee was Travis Henry. the worst case of employee harassment. He gossiped about employees medical violating federal law too. Then theres the may day incident ordering the arrest of kids and the order to arrest book all unlicensed or expired drivers even with ID. Read PORAC lately? He's at the center of s retaliation termination which was over turned.. he's cost us taxpayers a lot of money. DHS will be happy he's gone.
Bob Souza August 08, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Sounds like several of the negative comments suggests to me a vote of confidence in his abilities to lead and not be intimated...let's give him a chance to lead in Petaluma!
ARSONVICTIM August 08, 2012 at 05:40 PM
More people talk about the negative then the positive. I go by facts and only facts. Petaluma needs help the gangs are growing bigger and more dangerous then ever. Crime is up due to cut backs not because of cops not doing their job. There is simply not enough cops to patrol the streets and prevent crime instead they spend most of there shift responding to calls. Last nite was sad I didn't see one neighbor with their lights on to support the crime prevention program. So for all you haters shut step out your glass bubble and open your eyes. I don't know if this guy Williams is good nor bad but too many people feed off the negative then the positive. All this negative should be turned into positive and people should get off their but and help the police identify problem areas do crime prevention neighbor hood watch, group walks at nite instead they hide behind there cpu's and slander people (BULLY'S) Thanks Petaluma P.D. hang in there through all this bull poo poo what ever happens it will be for the best. Thanks Again!
Noto Williams August 09, 2012 at 01:51 AM
There are multiple complaints, lawsuits, sustained by independent fact finders. Thats called a clue.
ARSONVICTIM August 09, 2012 at 08:06 PM
If proven guilty in the court of law I will believe.
Steven Mars August 10, 2012 at 04:35 AM
I agreed with you there, don't believed on everything you read or hear. He would not encouraged an employee to hide some thing, specially with the fed.
Just the Facts August 10, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I have known Pat Williams for many many years and have also worked with him...good riddance. Petaluma is just not far enough.
Peachy Spike August 10, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I have known and worked with Pat Williams since back in the 90s. Personally encountered his arrogance and lack of regard for the law. In my opinion; those who sing his praises are those in his inner circle who share his low level of integrity and those opposed are generally of a higher level integrity. Pat will react in a big negative way when his integrity is challenged. I am a little surprised, knowing Mitch Spike, that he has been douped by Williams. Williams could not promote when he was at San Jacinto PD and went to Palm Springs, then was elected to the San Jacinto City Council, truly the typical politician (that should speak for itself). After at least 10 years at PSPD and never being promoted, and creative GRANT reporting, he went to unsuspecting Lompoc. After his minimal stint there he returned to Inland Empire at one of the cities with the worst reputation in PDs. I believe there was improvement with gangs in DHS, but credit should also go to the DA on that one. Williams went there because he vowed many years ago to be the the youngest Chief in the state and that seemed to be his only option to finally be Chief, but we never doubted it was only a stepping stone for him. Hope he does well, but I have my doubts, based on facts, that his integrity is still as lacking as it always was. Just a word to the wise, those employed at the PD, guard your background and personnel files if you are not on the same integrity plane as your new Chief Williams. Good Luck
Peachy Spike August 10, 2012 at 07:51 PM
He was named in a lawsuit in San Jacinto when he was on the city council. Mysteriously acquired information from a background file that disappeared from the PD, where his wife worked at the time.
ARSONVICTIM August 10, 2012 at 08:11 PM
WoW a lot of people make Williams sound bad really bad. I just want the best for the Petaluma P.D. Crack down on the GANGS that lead to drugs and crime. More funding for more officers on the street and better technology to fight crime. But in this day and age it's hard so the public needs to help the police in order for them to do a better job. But most important is a good leader without that it all falls to crap.
Peachy Spike August 10, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Williams brother get hired at PSPD when Williams was in recruiting, and his brother failed background elsewhere, and elsewhere was never contacted in the background process at PSPD, which is a standard process in law enforcement?
Peachy Spike August 10, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Williams is a smooth talker and if he wins over the right people there will be a crack down on gangs and I am sure he will support technology. I don't think anyone will attack on that basis and if that is all that matters you have the right guy. I think most would say they question his integrity based upon their own personal experience. Even the lawsuit, while I would really not doubt it personally, I am more inclined to believe the attacks to be, not necessarily gender based, but integrity based. Just my opinion of course, and yes I for another in a long line of people, who are glad to see him leave the area. You must also understand that frequently in government, they will give good recommendations in order to part company with undesired individuals. That prevents lawsuits from the individual and saves the agency the cost of getting rid of them. That is why we so often see the dirt rise to the surface shortly after the departure of an individual from an agency. Happens ALOT!
Scott Johnson October 11, 2012 at 08:52 AM
Cops are wasting their time on the good people for the fine money, eventually if they keep up their B.S....there will be no good people left!!!
Salomon Huitron September 04, 2013 at 03:09 PM
This guy tried to kill me with Michael Page in my window view. Ask my neighbor with the Green Truck. He has a perfect shot but I have a bullet proof window. The FBI needs to arrest him. Learn about the corruption in Sonoma County before you open YOUR MOUTH!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something