On Friday, Santa Clara Police Department Assistant Police Chief Dan Winter dropped out of the race for Police Chief, citing potential damage to the Police Department that could be caused by what is already promising to be a contentious and venomous campaign.
“Since Chief Sellers announced his retirement,” Winter wrote to his colleagues, “I have heard from many of you. A consistent theme of those conversations has been the concern of our department going through two potentially contentious elections in one year.
“An election can hurt relationships,” he continued, “cause tension in the workplace, and lead to more stress in an already demanding occupation. I do not want an election to be a distraction from our mission of providing quality police service to the public.”
Winter wrote that he did not come to this decision lightly and appreciated the support of his colleagues as he made this “difficult” decision. “Your kind words have meant a lot to me.”
“It will continue to be my goal to ensure our personnel are the best trained, best equipped, and most professional law enforcement personnel in the country,” and remained “a premier law enforcement agency that cares deeply about its employees and the City it serves.”
On Sept. 9, following Chief Mike Sellers’ retirement announcement, the Santa Clara City Council decided not to appoint someone to the Police Chief role. Instead, they decided that the residents will elect their Police Chief twice — once in March 2020 and again in November 2020. The only other name that has been mentioned in the Police Chief race is Santa Clara Police Lt. Pat Nikolai, former Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association President.