Ex-Laguna Beach police chief reinstated at Dixon Police Department

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Dixon Police Chief Robert Thompson will be reinstated after a brief tenure with the Laguna Beach Police Department. Courtesy of Laguna Beach

Former Laguna Beach police chief Robert Thompson will be reinstated as the top cop in Dixon, Calif. effective May 31, according to a press release issued Friday.

Thompson resigned from Laguna Beach after less than five months on the job. City officials have declined to say why they parted ways with the former FBI agent, claiming the reason for his exit is a confidential personnel matter.

“I am deeply invested in the City of Dixon, its residents and the members of this police department,” Thompson said in the press release. “I’m honored to continue to lead the forward-looking evolution of the Dixon Police Department at a time of unprecedented growth for the City. There are many residents and officers who I have missed and can’t wait to see again. It feels like I am returning home.”

Thompson hasn’t returned a request from the Independent seeking comment on his exit from Laguna Beach.

Dixon City Manager Jim Lindley said that Thompson will be reinstated under the terms of his prior employment agreement and the city’s reinstatement policy. Thompson previously served four years as police chief of Dixon, located west of Sacramento.

“I am extremely pleased to announce the return of Chief Thompson,” Lindley said in the press release. “He is a true leader, deeply respected by our police officers and truly appreciated by our community. His modern approach to law enforcement has made Dixon a better, safer and more welcoming place to live. We are very happy he is back.”

Mayor Bob Whalen declined to comment for this story.

“We are delighted that Chief Robert Thompson has landed in a city where he is valued and respected,” Officer Brian Griep, president of the Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association, said in a statement. “The citizens of Dixon and the employees of the Dixon Police Department are very fortunate to have an individual of his reputation lead them.”

Going forward, the City Council should have the right to see the information provided to the City Manager before a severance agreement is reviewed, Councilmember George Weiss said Friday.

“This is Laguna’s loss and Dixon’s gain,” Weiss said. “He was very accessible to the community and the rank-and-file. I’m sad to see him go.”

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Daniel is currently managing editor for the Laguna Beach Independent. He first started reporting on Laguna Beach in 2018. Daniel moved to Orange County from his hometown of Santa Barbara in 2008 to attend Chapman University. He wrote for the college newspaper, The Panther, for nearly four years before obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English with an emphasis in journalism. While attending Chapman, he started interning at the Orange County Register as a community blogger in Orange. In 2012, he was hired as a staff writer covering Orange and Villa Park. He went on to cover the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum as well as housing, development, education, water, and local politics in other Orange County cities. Since leaving the Register in 2015, he has written for Law360, the Foothills Sentry, the Newport Beach Independent, the Laguna Beach Independent, Los Angeles Times Community News, BehindtheBadge.com, and the California Business Journal. When Daniel isn't busy covering Laguna Beach, he serves as ​engagement editor for a nonprofit newsroom, The War Horse. He lives in Irvine with his wife and son.

5 COMMENTS

  1. 4-Months into the job as “POLICE CHIEF” the City Manager that helped hired you is leaving as both he, the former female gay Police Chief and the Police Department are being sued by a formerly employed straight white male Police Lt. for sexual harassment.
    “You can’t make this stuff up”!!!!
    If you are a level headed person with options would you stick around and deal with this type of non-sense? The man was hired to be the “CHIEF OF POLICE” not be put in the middle of Laguna Beach’s never ending WOKENESS.
    Our Schools, Our City Counsel, Our Planning Department, Our Police have ALL been co-opted by this kind of WOKE madness and the effects are showing everywhere.
    The citizens of Laguna Beach need to start actively getting involved if they want to keep Laguna Beach from turning into the next Venice Beach.
    Our buildings are boarded up; our lawsuits are mounting; our kids are not being educated; and our pensions and salaries are escalating while our services decline.
    What will it take?????

  2. Kim, Kirk and all LB residents…I agree 100%. What kind of city and public officials allow such government abuse and neglect nonsense to go on under their noses? The public should step up and send a message loud and clear that the city administration works for us and we will not allow them to run our city in secret and that transparency is not negotiable. This goes for our public officials who it appears have been less than honest and transparent. It’s downright shameful that a top-rated professional police chief was hired by our exiting CM John Pietig just 5 months ago with rave reviews and was treated so disrespectfully when he got here. Yeah, we aren’t fooled by city managers Pietig and Shohreh Dupuis who are responsible for this disastrous outcome nor the Council members who by their 5-0 vote fully supported this status quo management. Laguna Beach has been officially disgraced.

  3. I’m a 50 year resident.
    We’ve become a joke, the last 10 years (Pietig’s administration) our formerly great department under Chiefs Neil Purcell then Jim Spreine has become a de facto revolving door.
    Former Captain (?) Danelle Adams, who grew up, lived here and yes, was openly gay I think wanted that job dearly, earned it, but Pietig passed her over. Like the military, it’s “up or out” so she quit.
    If it WAS about being PC, she was one-step shopping plus her roots, her life experiences, her vast community of friends (including me) were here. Instead Pietig kept hiring from without.
    Fact is that Pietig was hired as Asst. CM ≈ 20 years ago, Water Quality Director Shissler shortly thereafter.
    Both have been receiving Exceptional Performance Pay each year, based on 2.5% of their pay in addition to hefty, double-digit, 6 figure salaries. For what? EPP is about rewarding those upper echelon who kow-tow, who follow the party line and WE, THE PEOPLE coughed up that dough.
    As media reported back 20 years ago, they were supposed to rehabilitate and update, bring our “Jurassic Park” storm water and wastewater systems up to par with more modern systems in 10 years.
    Millions and millions of dollars in wages andv20 years later, ask yourselves that time honored cliché: Are we better off today?
    Pietig is retiring, look for Shissler to find that golden parachute retirement door.
    All on our backs.
    I’ve met interim Chief Jeff Calvert, spoken to him personally several times, he was very approachable and actually has a sense of humor about him. Likeable dude.
    So I’m not objecting, just wondering why it took the CM’s office 10 years and what, 4 Chiefs, to finally find the light switch, hire from within?

  4. In MY opinion something is not right, MJ Abraham makes a VERY compelling case, we need to keep pushing for what is right and get to the bottom of this and make the necessary changes.

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