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City Council to Fill Vacancy of Elected Police Chief through Special Election in March 2020

Seven-member Council would have needed six votes to appoint a candidate to serve remainder of Police Chief term

Post Date:09/05/2019 9:51 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 5, 2019

CONTACTS: Lenka Wright, Director of Communications, 408-615-5515 or


SANTA CLARA, Calif. – During the Wednesday night Special Meeting, the City Council decided to call a special election to fill the elected Santa Clara Police Chief position after declaring the vacancy. The Police Chief election will take place on March 3, 2020 which is the next established election date and coincides with California’s presidential primary.

The vacancy is due to the recent retirement of former Police Chief Mike Sellers whose term runs through December 2020. The candidate, who is elected Police Chief in the special election, will serve out the remainder of the term. The election for the full four-year Police Chief term will still take place in November 2020.

Per the City Charter section 703 (“Vacancies”), the Council had 30 days to either fill the elected position by appointment or special election following the declaration of the vacancy. In a 6-0 vote, the Council approved a special election rather than an appointment since there were not enough “yes” votes – namely six - to move forward with an appointment. Councilmember Karen Hardy was not present at the meeting due to an excused absence.

After a 40-year-long career in law enforcement, former Police Chief Sellers officially retired on Sept. 1, 2019 after announcing his retirement in June 2019. Assistant Police Chief Dan Winter is overseeing the Santa Clara Police Department in the interim period.

Santa Clara is the only California city that elects its police chief.


About the City of Santa Clara

Located at the heart of Silicon Valley about 45 miles south of San Francisco, the City of Santa Clara truly is “The Center of What’s Possible.” Incorporated in 1852, Santa Clara covers an area of 19.3 square miles with a population of 120,000. Santa Clara is home to an extraordinary array of high-tech companies, including Applied Materials, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Nvidia, Oracle, and Ericsson. The City of Santa Clara is also home to Santa Clara University, California’s Great America Theme Park, and Levi’s® Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers and Super Bowl 50. For more information, go to


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