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Police Accountability Board to launch by spring quarter

By Dave Jones on January 21, 2014 in University

SEARCH FOR POLICE CHIEF

Two town halls are scheduled next week on the Davis campus for discussion of the qualifications the university should be looking for in its search for a police chief. The Sacramento campus will host a town hall on the same topic in the coming weeks (details to be announced).

Next week’s town halls:

More information on the search.

UC Davis will have a Police Accountability Board in place by the start of the spring quarter, as a two-year pilot project.

Administrators have been working on the project for more than a year, bringing in a top national consultant, and conducting forums on the Davis and Sacramento campuses, to shape what is likely to be the first civilian oversight board for a university police department in the United States.

Given the board’s first-of-its-kind status, “we believe that designating it as a ‘pilot’ project is appropriate,” said Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor, and Wendi Delmendo, chief compliance officer, in a Jan. 13 letter asking five campus constituency groups to nominate board members.

“After two years, there will be a rigorous re-evaluation of the board and its efficacy, particularly in light of changing and evolving police policies and procedures,” Reed and Delmendo wrote.

The UC Davis board will comprise one member each from the Academic Senate and Academic Federation, Staff Assembly, the ASUCD and the Graduate Student Association.

Leaders of those groups have been asked to submit three nominees each by Jan. 31. Out of each slate of nominations, one person will be on the board and one will be the alternate; by asking for three names from each group, the campus will have an extra person to consider, in the event, during the vetting process, any one of the three is found to be unqualified for the board.

Administrators said they plan to have the selection process completed by Feb. 10.

The board will have the assistance of an investigator, working out of the compliance office, who will investigate police cases as well as other types of administrative matters.

In February and March, the investigator, board members and alternates will undergo training — part of which will be with a representative of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, a nonprofit organization that brings together individuals or agencies working to establish or improve oversight of police officers in the United States.

Other training will be provided in-house, on the topics of confidentiality, and police policies and procedures.

The university has contracted with a legal adviser to help develop the Police Accountability Board’s procedures, and to assist with cases as needed. The adviser is from off-campus to maintain independence from the administration.

The procedures to be developed include complaint review and recommendations to the police chief.

Before the end of winter quarter, the campus will introduce the board and its procedures at stakeholder and constituent group meetings. “The whole idea is to continue building trust between the community and our Police Department,” said Reed, who heads the Office of Campus Community Relations.

Early in spring quarter, the Police Accountability Board will hold an open forum — before moving into closed session for the board’s first meeting.

All complaints will be discussed in private, and all names will be redacted from investigative documents that are given to the board, to protect the privacy of the people involved.

Disciplinary actions, if any, will be private, as are all other disciplinary actions taken by the police chief — given that they involve confidential personnel matters.

However, the Police Accountability Board will present an annual report, documenting the number of complaints that have come in, and the types of complaints. The report also will document the number of board decisions approved by the police chief.

In this way, the campus community and administrators can keep an eye out for patterns that may signal the need for additional training for police, or policy changes.

Earlier coverage

“Campus forums supportive of civilian oversight of Police Department,” Dateline UC Davis (March 15, 2013)

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556, dljones@ucdavis.edu

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