In a surprise announcement, Santa Clara Police Chief Mike Sellers says he will retire on September 1.
“It’s been a long career. I’m not getting any younger. I just really need to shift my priorities and start focusing on myself and my family,” said Chief Sellers.
Chief Sellers sent an email to all of the employees of the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) on June 24 outlining his plans and thanking his officers for their service. He worked with City Manager Deanna J. Santana to make sure the staff knew before the news was made public.
“The hardest part for me will be not seeing the people I work with every day,” said Chief Sellers in a statement following the announcement. “We hire great people that do amazing work. It has truly been an absolute honor to serve among some of the most devoted, courageous and hardworking individuals, who are dedicated to making Santa Clara a safe and welcoming community.”
Chief Sellers says while the decision may seem sudden, it’s something that he had been thinking about for a while now.
“In my position, there’s never a good time,” said Chief Sellers. “You always have something going on, if it’s meetings or projects or hiring. There’s always constantly something you’re being faced with.
“I think in a perfect world, you’d like to leave [where] you’ve completed all tasks, while in reality, you can never complete all the tasks,” continued Chief Sellers. “You continue to chase that. It comes to a time where you just have to say, okay, what’s best for you now. The job plays a toll on your personal life and yourself.”
His position as Chief of SCPD is elected and his term was supposed to end in December 2020. Following his retirement the City Council can name a replacement. Six of the seven members of the council must agree in order for a replacement to become official.
If a consensus is not reached, the position will remain vacant and Assistant Chief Dan Winter will fill the role until the November 2020 election.
“I have complete confidence in my Assistant Chief [Dan Winter] and the rest of the Captains. They will continue to work hard and do what needs to be done,” said Chief Sellers.
To date, Chief Sellers has had a long career with the SCPD.
“It’s funny, looking back I’ve been with the department for over 41 years,” said Chief Sellers. “I started as a Cadet Explorer when I was in high school and was a Reserve Police Officer volunteering my time. In 1985, I was fortunate enough to be hired. I’ve done all that, plus added on another 34 years of service.”
He was elected as Police Chief in 2012 and was reelected in 2016. Looking back at those 41 years of service is what helped him make the decision to retire.
“I’ve just had some times to reflect here in this past year and just thinking that, you know what, I’ve done everything for everybody else and I need to start working on myself. Make sure I have a long, healthy retirement,” said Chief Sellers. “My son just got married last weekend and hopefully they’ll be starting a family. I want to be part of all that.”