Weedy, overgrown front yards. Junked appliances piled outside. Boarded up doors and windows. All spell ‘distressed property,’ and to some, an opportunity to illegally squat or vandalize a building forsaken by its owners. Petaluma’s new police chief is hoping to clean up city neighborhoods scarred by these abandoned, run-down houses.
Petaluma’s incoming police chief received a warm, if unofficial, welcome at his first City Council meeting Monday, where city leaders supported his hiring and downplayed a recent civil suit filed against him and his old department. Pat Williams is set to start as Petaluma’s new chief on Aug. 13, pending final background checks and psychological exams. He is wrapping up his time as chief of the Palm Springs-area town of Desert Hot Springs, where he has served as chief since 2007.
The man selected as Petaluma’s next police chief is leaving his job in Desert Hot Springs in the midst of a federal lawsuit filed recently by a female officer alleging she was harassed and fired because she testified against two rogue colleagues.