Introducing our new Police Accountability Board
By Dateline staff
- Academic Senate — Jack Chin, member; David Howitt, alternate
- Academic Federation — Leon Jones (UC Davis Health System), member; Beth Slutsky, alternate
- UC Davis Health System — Tamara Cole, member; Jacob “JP” Eres, alternate
- Staff Assembly — Amy Young, member; Paul Cody, alternate
- Graduate Student Association — Abram Jones, member; Kevin Peterson, alternate
- ASUCD — Ben Marchman, member; Awais Khalid, alternate
- Student Life — Hazel G. Quintanilla, member; Jhamere Howard, alternate
It is the first of its kind on a U.S. college campus: the UC Davis Police Accountability Board, a civilian panel of students, faculty and staff.
The two-year pilot project starts with a public forum from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, at the Conference Center. You’ll meet the board members and alternates — from the Davis and Sacramento campuses — and have the opportunity to ask questions.
Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi endorsed the pilot project earlier this year, and the administration has been working since then to get the board up and running.
“The UC Davis Police Accountability Board is unique for an American campus and demonstrates our profound commitment to a professional, accountable and transparent Police Department,” Katehi said. “The creation of the board has been an open and deliberative effort, and I am grateful to the many members of the campus community who have participated in the process and helped make the board a model for universities across the country.”
Police Chief Matt Carmichael has been supportive of a civilian review board since the campus began discussing the idea more than a year ago. “This really is the community becoming a bigger part of the Police Department, and the department becoming a bigger part of the community," said Carmichael, whose status as chief changed went last week from "interim" to "permanent." See separate story.
"The Police Accountability Board provides an amazing opportunity for the department to rebuild the campus community's trust," said Carmichael, who as acting chief and interim chief for two-plus years devoted considerable attention to trust-building and plans to continue doing so.
In setting up the board, the university invited nominations from seven constituency groups — and came up with seven members and seven alternates (see box).
The members and alternates have had three training sessions with police representatives, discussing policies and procedures; and the board’s legal adviser, to work on the board’s bylaws and procedures. Future training is planned with a representative from 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.
The university has contracted with outside counsel, so as to maintain independence from the administration. The contract is with Sacramento’s Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard, and the attorney is Laura Izon Powell.
The board’s bylaws and procedures, when final, will be posted on the board’s website (which is being developed).
The board is supported by two campus administrators and their units: Wendi Delmendo, chief compliance officer; and Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor, Office of Campus Community Relations. Reed is traveling and not able to attend the forum, so a representative from his office will join Delmendo in discussing how the board came to be and how it will work, and how their units will work with the board.
The board also has the assistance of investigators who work out of the campus compliance office.
As previously reported, 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.
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