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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.

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!

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