Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman Resigns

Press release from the City of Arcata:

Tom ChapmanThe City of Arcata announces the resignation of Police Chief Tom Chapman after 24 years of dedicated service to the Arcata Police Department.

Chief Chapman’s career with the APD began in 1994 when he was hired as a Police Officer. In 1999, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and in 2003, earned the rank of second-in-command as Lieutenant/Captain. Chapman has served as Arcata’s Chief of Police since January 24, 2010.

Chief Chapman managed the Arcata Police Department through a difficult transition in municipal policing and many years of budget reductions. His creativity and commitment to the City resulted in minimal reductions to critical programs during these years. Despite budget constraints, his initiative developed specialty officer positions for the Plaza and Arcata’s high use parks, marsh and forest areas, in addition to a School Resource Officer position serving Northern Humboldt County schools. He built and restored programs such as the Juvenile Diversion Program, utilizing county-wide Measure Z funding, championed the renovation of the Arcata Police Dispatch Center and secured much-needed grants for the purchase of a Mobile Command Vehicle.

His dedication to his work and the community greatly improved APD’s use of technology including the addition of officer body-worn and in-vehicle cameras. His efforts also helped to advance the department’s records management system, update mobile data computers, replace outdated radio consoles and implement the use of automatic license plate recognition.

In addition, Chapman initiated several 21st century policing pillars to APD including mandatory training on race awareness, implicit bias and fair and impartial policing. He encouraged engaging the community with the department’s use of social media and through the creation of a Public Safety Task Force.

Chief Chapman also improved outreach with Arcata’s local business community. He was honored by the Arcata Chamber of Commerce with the Community Outreach Award in 2011 and 2015. Chapman holds the Executive, Management, Supervisory, and Advanced certifications from the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, and he has served on the Board of Directors of the California Police
Chiefs’ Association, as former President of the Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association in Humboldt County and as former chair of the Humboldt County Drug Task Force Executive Board.

“It has been an honor to serve with Chief Chapman. I appreciate his leadership in supporting the Public Safety Task Force, his openness to finding new ways to serve the public and his dedication to all residents and visitors of Arcata. I will miss his soft-spoken nature and willingness to engage in difficult community issues with compassion and true concern,” said Mayor Sofia Pereira of Officer Chapman’s resignation.

The City of Arcata will release information regarding an Interim Chief of Police and the recruitment process for a new Chief of Police next week.



  • I really, REALLY hope his leaving has nothing to do with pressure from outsiders pushing their own agendas by blaming him for the lack of credible witnesses in a certain high profile case.

  • Resigned or retired?
    Best of luck to him in his future endeavors.

  • Hopefully some of his underlings can sneak into his office’s private bathroom and leave him a hearty upper decker as a farewell gift. You know the gift that keeps on giving! he truly deserves a proper send off for all his politically biased police work while “serving” the citizens of Arcata.

  • That press release is a bunch of hooey. That department is hanging on by a thread due to him. This is way overdue. Maybe someday the city manager will come clean about it.

  • Four months of not being able to bust pot smokers and take their monies; being told he has to bust the tweakers instead, and this guy just couldn’t take it.

  • Wow “ME”, thanks for reminding us why police need the types of training mentioned above. It helps them as well as the victim.

    I bet you wouldn’t be saying that kind of thing if it was your kid. Since when did wanting a murder solved become an agenda?
    Is it so hard for you to believe their may be bias/corruption at the APD? Not saying there is but if you look up how many PD’s, unfortunately, all over the country have been caught doing illegal things, including major race and class bias, theres a strong possibility its happening in our county too.

    Do the research and then see what you think.
    Regardless of why, the APD did a very poor job investigating this and Im sure theyre learning from it. The DA office was also in such disarray there could have been problems there as well.

    • There is no doubt that there was bias in that case and that is the reason it wasn’t investigated properly. Unfortunately the bias wasn’t in the direction you’re thinking.

    • I want to see justice served, whether my own child or someone else’s. But it must be justice, not vigilantes wanting to see someone put on trial WHEN THERE IS A LACK OF CREDIBLE EVIDENCE OR TRUTHFUL WITNESSES!


    The FBI agent quit citing a “lack of cooperation” as the reason.
    The chief resigned not long after.
    Hmmm seems there is a problem within the case, ya think?
    No wonder that poor mom has to keep coming here and asking for justice.

  • And you were all there…. His resignation could be because he’d like to keep his ,self, ethicly intact, or, were there ethics involved, all? Hmmm.

  • Thank you for your service sir. I wish you all the best on your new journey.

  • Trump and a couple dirty needles will not make this hippie root for the FBI nor some retiring cop. Nah. I do pray for those whose quaint sensibilities were swayed and are quick to jump in line; “Cogs in the machine”, if you don’t mind.. Until a nationally, and collectively supported thorough inspection/investigation of the systematic predilection to rob and kill black folk is in full swing, go protect and serve the shit outta someone else thanks. You boys in blue have never once “helped” in 50 years. Even as a child reporting abuse! Mine! You suck. I see through the thin blue line clear through to the green screen. A career as little/much as any other. Plenty of cheap cash grabs though… You owe me a f’n fortune.

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