The following letter was sent out recently to the Eureka business community by EPD Captain Steve Watson.
March 10, 2017
Dear Eureka Business Community,
In an effort to lessen the adverse impact of repeat theft offenders negatively impacting businesses within the City of Eureka, the Eureka Police Department has implemented new procedures that became effective this week.
Our intention is to increase public safety and reduce crime while presenting some respite to Eureka’s merchants who
are continually being victimized by increasingly bold and belligerent repeat theft offenders.
The goal is to keep these criminals in-custody until arraignment when possible and to dissuade like-minded lawbreakers from continuing to commit these crimes in Eureka.
When responding to a theft-related call for service, such as a shoplifter-in-custody, the investigating officer will determine whether or not the suspect has prior arrests and/or convictions for any theft-related crime. When reasonable grounds exists to arrest an adult suspect with priors for a theft crime, the officers will make a custodial
arrest provided certain conditions are met:
The suspect has had a previous conviction for a theft crime within the past five years, or
The suspect has been arrested for a theft crime within the past two years, or
In the officer’s estimation, other articulable reasons exist to believe the person arrested would be
reasonably likely to continue or resume the offense(s), or the safety of persons or property would be
imminently endangered by the suspect’s release (Penal Code Section 853.6(i).
The victim desires prosecution and is willing to make a private person’s arrest if applicable.
The arrest is lawful and supported by probable cause.
Upon making a physical arrest for a theft crime under the aforementioned circumstances, the arresting officer will
complete a “Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Request for Non-Release” form to hold the suspect in jail until
arraignment. In the event the suspect is able to post bail, or the Humboldt County Correctional Facility’s inmate
population is running overcapacity at the time of booking (>90% of the rated capacity), it is possible the suspect
may still be released early on his/her own recognizance. A Request for Non-Release form will nonetheless be
completed when applicable. The decision to release a suspect early on “O.R.” rests at the discretion of the
Certain exceptions to these procedures may be made on a case-by-case basis when public safety and/or the needs
of the department require due to insufficient staffing levels or the existence of an in-progress emergency call
requiring all available officers. If a business wishes prosecution, these new conditions will be added to the list of
criteria that disqualifies someone from participating in the Shoplifter-In-Custody Program. If a business or
citizen-victim wishes to handle the shoplifter civilly instead and not seek criminal prosecution, they may still
choose to do so. Additionally, under certain circumstances you can ban some offenders from your business (such as those convicted of a crime committed on the property).
Stephen Watson (on behalf of Chief Andrew Mills)