SRJC police 'devastated' after arrest of officer suspected of embezzlement

The arrest of a longtime Santa Rosa Junior College police officer suspected of embezzlement came as a "gut-punch" to the department he helped form decades ago, SRJC Police Chief Matt McCaffrey said.

Jeff Holzworth, 51, had the greatest tenure in the force of 14 sworn officers and held significant responsibilities that gave him access to money.

"They are devastated," McCaffrey said of Holzworth's fellow officers. "Jeff was our most senior officer and he was very well liked, not only within the department but with the junior college at large. He's been here forever."

Holzworth faces felony charges of grand theft and embezzlement and was arrested after he finished his shift at 10 a.m. Wednesday. He was released at 9:30 p.m. from the Sonoma County Jail after he posted bond on $150,000 bail, jail records show.

Holzworth's arraignment was rescheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Holzworth is suspected of stealing "several thousand dollars," but Santa Rosa police officials declined to give a specific figure.

On Thursday outside Holzworth's Santa Rosa home, defense attorney Joe Passalacqua said he was retained to represent the officer.

"We'll be giving no statements at this time," Passalacqua said.

The investigation began with a chance observation by a fellow officer, McCaffrey said. The officer saw something that raised his suspicion and he immediately reported it to the chief.

McCaffrey said he spoke with several others in the department and, about 24 hours later, called Santa Rosa police on Nov. 1.

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