The Tale of Two Captains

two captains

Watson & Stephens

Yesterday, the North Coast Journal’s Linda Stansberry covered the “coffee with the Captains” meet and greet at Velluntini’s Bakery in Henderson Center. What an excellent way for the Eureka Police Department to reach out to community members, and to hear their concerns.

What was striking about Stansberry’s coverage was how intelligent and forward thinking Captain Watson came across.   On the flip side, Captain Stephens almost seemed like incompetent manager who hides in the corner. In fact, the only mention of him came as the caption under a photo: “Capt. Brian Stevens of the Eureka Police Department takes notes.”

Captain Watson, however, came across as engaging and truly committed to working with the community to solve “community” problems. When addressing a local business owner complaining about the high and mentally ill people who disrupt his business in Old Town, Captain Watson seemed to be not only understanding of the issues, but he seemed to be actually looking toward real world solutions. He addressed the business owners concerns, and then went right into addressing an Henderson Center employees questions. From the NCJ:

“Unfortunately, you can’t arrest your way out of these problems,” he said, adding that Proposition 47 will eventually translate into expanded services for the mentally ill and addicted, ultimately reducing crime. “Prop. 47 has allowed us to concentrate on the worst of the worst, and keep them behind bars. Burglary, for example, is an automatic felony. We’ve seen a 40 percent drop in burglaries over the last month.”

“[Proposition 47] is saving the state money, but it’s destroying our businesses,” said Mike Howard, who works near the bakery and has participated in the cleanup of several homeless camps. “I can’t walk with my kids down the boardwalk without there being old drunk dudes just laying there. We can’t spend money on attracting tourists if this is what they’re going to see when they get here.”

Referring to the issue of homelessness, Watson replied that raiding camps and moving people around just “creates displacement.”

We’ve heard many good things about Captain Watson. From personal experience, many members of our staff have found him to be the kind of cop Eureka needs. Good job on picking him Chief Mills.   Unfortunately, Captain Stephens was also chosen and his negatives far outweigh Captain Watson’s positives. In the end, we’ll call your promotions as a net negative. That being said, it’s still nice that at least one good apple was chosen.


(The Examiner holds Stephens responsible for the killing of Tommy McClain. His poor supervisory decisions and reckless behavior led to Tommy’s death)


5 thoughts on “The Tale of Two Captains

  1. Frick and Frack, Heckel and Jeckel, etc,etc. One a possible heart attack waiting to happen (you guess) and a jovial fellow that is a connoisseur of the finest do-nut shoppes that Hum. has to offer. Who gives a shit anymore, it’s too late!


  2. Just based on the photo, Captain Watson appears to be friendly and approachable. Captain Stephens looks like he just smelled something awful. Thanks for the post TE

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What I like about this article is your note at the end. Please keep that up. It helps to add context to your anger against the EPD. It’s an anger I share and I think all Eureka’s should. We should not accept a two tiered justice system based on income disparities.

    Having said that, the reason that note is important is the anger preceded the death of Mr. McClain, and I, like many others want to understand what exactly is wrong and why so much blame for Eureka’s many woes can be placed on Chief Mills.

    One thing that is clear is this promotion was extremely ill-timed and it reinforces something we all knew the day after the killing. There would be no real justice for Tommy other than perhaps buying off our collective guilt in a broken justice system by any civil penalty.

    JP. The thing about photos is they are used exactly for the effect you brought up. It’s one of the techniques of tabloid journalism. It’s something I learned first-hand by walking by news stands in London as a teen-ager. The Sun etc will rile up the working class, largely with photos, but it’s the words that in the end are important and which will lead to good decisions based on information rather than propaganda. It’s where Murdock grew his empire before it reached our shores. In other words, it’s FOX before there was a FOX.

    I want us to make good decisions which is why I would have posted a photo that was not unfair to Captain Stephens, which that one, as you point out, was.

    Words are boring, words won’t move the emotions like a good photo will, words are…elitist? Maybe a tabloid press on the left is necessary but if we are going to do it, let’s try to be generous and fair . I know that sounds antithetical, especially when dealing with topics like an unjust killing, but if we want to reach those that are similarly moved emotionally by a tabloid press, in my opinion, we are going to have to do by focusing on the left’s strength…reality.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Is Captain Watson a member of Judge W.G. Watson’s family?


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