Wednesday, May 31, 2023

‘Compassion for People and Life’: Fort Bragg Mayor on the Retirement of Police Chief John Naulty

At last night’s City Council meeting, we said our goodbyes to Chief John Naulty. John served the City for the last two years as our interim Police Chief. John was hired by then-city manager Tabatha Miller. We had discussed John running the Police Department for six months to allow us time to hire a new chief. Not long after hiring John, several things happened, Covid being one of them, and the realization that six months was not going to be long enough.

John was tasked with righting a ship that most felt was sinking. He was brought in for his experience, leadership and ability to instill law and order. What we experienced was much more. John showed us what happens when leaders see the bigger picture. He brought compassion for people and life as well. In his first year, John worked with me to take a proactive approach dealing with and trying to solve our homeless, transient and mentally ill citizen issues. I saw John fight for people’s human rights in the hospital on 5150 holds while pleading for compassion and being their voice when it seemed they didn’t
have one. He asked for and got cots stored at the PD which allowed his officers to place someone in the lobby of the PD for the night if they felt they were in danger and there was no place else to go. He fostered a relationship with RCS staff allowing us to better serve our citizens in or on the verge of crisis, a relationship that grows stronger every day. These are just a few of the traits John brought and instilled in his department that will carry on and better serve our community, traits that I was unaware we were getting, but that is John.

I am certain the community will never fully understand all that John Naulty has done for us. So, as we transition to new leadership at the PD, take solace in the fact that John has made us better. Better in ways that few will ever be able to see, but it is there. If you know, you know. For me, John has set the bar. It is up to the rest of us to make sure we hold his level of professionalism and continue to improve our community. Lastly, for me, the best part of the journey is that I gained a friend.

Bernie Norvell
Mayor, City of Fort Bragg

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MendoFever Staff
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