The Times-Standare by Thadeus Greenson - April 16, 2011
A Eureka police officer charged Thursday with nine criminal counts had a prior run-in with law enforcement and faced allegations of domestic abuse, according to court records. It also appears Daniel Jason Kalis, 36, of Eureka, worked as a police officer for five months with a warrant out for his arrest. Kalis -- who was charged Thursday with drug possession, theft and other charges -- was named in an arrest warrant ordered in September 2010 by Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Marilyn Miles. The warrant was issued after Kalis failed to appear at a July 2010 court hearing, where he was to be arraigned in a misdemeanor case charging him with fishing without a license in a closed river and catching a wild steelhead. Kalis was placed on administrative leave by EPD on March 7, the same day the department launched an internal affairs investigation into allegations surrounding his conduct. He resigned his position with the department on April 1. Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen said his department didn't learn of the active warrant out on Kalis until Friday. Nielsen said his department isn't notified when warrants are issued, and it's not standard procedure to run warrant checks on officers during internal affairs investigations. ”It's just one of those things that slips through the cracks,” Nielsen said, adding that officers have a responsibility to notify the department if warrants are issued in their name, just as they would if their driver's license was suspended. The arrest warrant issued by Miles set Kalis' bail at $5,000 in the case, and indicated that a mandatory court appearance would be required, but Kalis may be released on a promise to appear. On Thursday, the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office contacted Kalis and notified him that it had filed a complaint accusing him of nine crimes: possession of heroin, possession of more than an ounce of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, petty theft, vandalism, false imprisonment, accessing DMV records without authorization, contacting a prisoner without authorization and accessing a computer network without authorization. Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos said investigators had Kalis sign a promise to appear Thursday and that he had been unaware of an active arrest warrant in Kalis' name until being informed of it Friday. ”I'm not aware of him being arrested, and that's a problem,” Gallegos said, adding that if he'd known of the warrant, he would have had investigators arrest Kalis on Thursday. “I would say there's a warrant out for his arrest, and someone should pick him up.” Gallegos said the decision not to arrest Kalis was based on incorrect information, and was made with the belief that Kalis did not pose a flight risk or a danger to the community. The charges filed Thursday are the result of two investigations merging -- EPD's internal affairs investigation and a criminal investigation launched by the DA's office into allegations surrounding the officer. Kalis, who goes by “Danny,” started with EPD in 2004. The misdemeanor charges filed against Kalis in 2010 stem from allegations that he caught a wild steelhead while fishing without a license by the Blue Lake Bridge on the Mad River on Oct. 7, 2009 -- six days after the river had been closed to fishing due to low water conditions. Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen said his department was aware of the misdemeanor complaint filed against Kalis in 2010, and that it was investigated internally. ”That incident and other allegations were investigated in 2010, and disciplinary action was taken,” Nielsen said, declining to discuss the other allegations. “The discipline that was meted out was based on recommendations of the city's labor attorneys.” Nielsen declined to comment on the disciplinary action taken against Kalis, but the incident seems to coincide with Kalis' being switched from a detective to a patrol officer last year. A document in Kalis' family law file concerning child support payments also states that Kalis received half-pay on at least three paychecks in 2010 due to “in-house discipline.” A temporary restraining order was issued April 8, ordering Kalis to stay away from his ex-wife and his four kids and to either turn his firearms over to law enforcement or sell them. In requesting the order, Kalis' ex-wife cited a number of instances when she felt scared or threatened by Kalis, including times when he was on duty. On Jan. 25, she was driving on Broadway in Eureka when Kalis passed her in his patrol car, according to a “description of abuse” she wrote in requesting the restraining order. ”He cocked his hand like a gun and pointed it at me,” she wrote. “I took the action as a symbolic threat to use a gun.” Five days earlier, she claims she was driving in Eureka with her son and two cousins when a police car pulled behind her, flashed its lights and stopped her. Kalis was driving the patrol car, the ex-wife alleges, and pulled alongside her, rolled down his window and called her a “bitch” and mumbled other profanities. Nielsen said he's aware of those allegations and said they were looked into as a part of the internal affairs investigation that was ongoing when Kalis resigned. Kalis' ex-wife also claims he engaged in “stalking behavior,” sleeping in his car outside of her house, text messaging her repeatedly and showing up at various events she was attending after they separated. She also describes an incident that allegedly occurred in the parking lot of Redwood Acres in Eureka last spring. ”Danny motioned for the children to come over to his truck; he reached into his truck and removed a plastic bag, which he handed to my son,” she wrote in the document. “Inside the plastic bag were some freshly cut dog tails. ... Danny was controlling and abusive during our marriage.” Gallegos said he had not heard anything like the allegation in the family law file from his investigators. ”I'm not aware of any allegations of animal abuse,” he said, noting that such allegations would be taken very seriously. In the request for a restraining order, Kalis' ex-wife indicates she is more afraid now that Kalis is no longer employed as a police officer. ”I believe the risk of serious abuse from him towards me and the children is significantly increased,” she wrote. “... I am afraid for myself and the children that Danny's initial reaction to this request will be extreme anger and potentially violent conduct.” Three of the charges filed against Kalis Thursday -- vandalism, petty theft and false imprisonment -- name Kalis' ex-wife as the alleged victim. The criminal complaint filed against Kalis indicates the vandalism was carried out on his ex-wife's car, and a document in the couple's family law file states that she suspected him of carving the word “bytch” into her car in the summer of 2010. Gallegos said the case remains under investigation, and anyone with information regarding the potential criminal conduct of Kalis is asked to call EPD Detective Todd Wilcox at 441-4315 or DA Investigator Wayne Cox at 268-2591. A day after news broke that Kalis was facing a felony criminal complaint, Nielsen characterized the climate at EPD as somber. ”I think the rank and file understand that we have a responsibility to maintain and reflect a level of integrity, and that the public expects that of us, and when one of us violates that public trust it impacts us all negatively,” Nielsen said. “Not only is it embarrassing for Danny, it's embarrassing for everyone who works at EPD, and it's embarrassing for the profession as a whole. ”It's one of those things you just hate to see happen, but we have to remember that police officers and public servants are human beings and we're all fallible,” Nielsen continued. ”At times, things like this are going to arise and we just have to work past them and prove constantly -- every day -- that we are worthy of the public's trust.” Staff writer Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or tgreenson@times- standard.com.