Former Nevada City Police Chief Tim Foley dies |

Former Nevada City Police Chief Tim Foley dies

In this 2014 file photo, Nevada City Police Chief Tim Foley is sworn in as wife Sue looks on.
John Hart/ | The Union

Tim Foley, who served as Nevada City’s police chief from 2014 to 2018, has died.

Joey Jordan, who worked with Foley on acquiring a K-9 for the department and establishing the Rüdiger Foundation, said Foley died of a heart attack Tuesday while on a trip to Paris.

FILE – Nevada City Chief of Police Tim Foley swears in Ethan Roth as a youth member of the Nevada City Police Department at City Hall in 2016.
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

“It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to one of our founders, Timothy A. Foley,” Jordan wrote in a post on the foundation’s Facebook page. “Tim, thank you for the legacy you have left behind — we’ll make sure Rüdiger Foundation carries on your good work.”

Foley, 66, spent more than three decades with the San Francisco Police Department before retiring and then accepting the position in Nevada City.
In the late 1970s, Foley made news when he was partnered with Anna Ong on patrol — the first male-female patrol team west of the Mississippi, said Ong’s husband, Paul Ong.

“It was ground-breaking,” Paul Ong said. “They made it very difficult for women to rise in the ranks … Most of the men didn’t like having females on the force.”

It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship for Ong and Foley, and led to his decision to move to Nevada County.

“He visited us here,” Paul Ong said. “When he retired, Anna encouraged him to apply (for police chief). He was not the kind of guy who likes to sit still.”

During Foley’s four-year tenure in Nevada City, he was “instrumental” in developing a lot of positive programs, said current Chief Chad Ellis, a sergeant with the department when Foley was hired.

FILE – Nevada City Police Chief Tim Foley, right, slices a tri-tip sandwich under the watchful eye of chef Jay Cooper during a trip-tip fundraiser hosted by Riebes Auto Parts in 2017. The money raised will benefit the Suerra Nevada Hospital Foundation/Barbara Schmidt Millar Fund, which will be distributed directly to women and men of Nevada County who are in need of mammograms.
Photo by Liz Kellar/ |

“Cup With a Cop,” which now is a regular event involving all the top law enforcement officers in the county, was started by Foley, Ellis said.

“That was 100% him,” Ellis said. “He started it specifically for Nevada City and it became extremely successful and filtered into a regional deal.”
Ellis also pointed to Foley’s efforts to acquire Rüdiger, the city’s first K-9 officer.

“The Rüdiger Foundation would never have happened without him,” agreed Jordan. “Tim and I were literally standing on the street in Nevada City and he told me he wanted a dog program.”

At that exact moment, Jordan said, a donor stopped to chat — and they told him they needed to buy a police dog.

“That is really what made it possible,” she said.

Foley left Nevada City in 2018, saying at the time he was leaving the department in a good position.

“There are several new energetic, enthusiastic officers on board with great community relations skills,” he said. “I think the timing is good to leave.”
Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum said she was saddened to hear of Foley’s death.

“He was a wonderful chief and really attentive to the needs of the city and the public,” she said. “He worked hard to remediate some of the homeless issues, he listened to people.”

Ellis said Wednesday he was still in shock, adding that Nevada City’s police department will plan something in the near future to honor Foley.

“He had a heart of gold,” Ellis said. “He loved the community. … He really embraced Nevada City. He enjoyed his tenure here, and he will be missed.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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