Commentary: More Thinking About the Police Audit

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For those who did not catch Debra LoGuercio’s column in yesterday’s Davis Enterprise, it is worth a read if you haven’t already turned your paper into compost. LoGuercio is editor of the Winter’s Express, also owned by the McNaughtons.

LoGuercio really questions what we learned from this study that has been given coverage across the state from the non-profit group Cal-Aware. I have never directly submitted a public records requests with the Davis Police Department, but I have with the city and requested information from the Police Department with City Clerk Margaret Roberts and I have always been treated fairly and received the information I have wanted.

The most pertinent portion of her column though relates to our article that we ran on Sunday, January 14, 2007 that dealt with the handling of the story by the Davis Enterprise and tip off (claimed to be inadvertent) by Debbie Davis. If you haven’t read the story there is a good response from Davis Enterprise reporter Cory Golden who was the reporter who conducted the audit. My major concern with the handling of it was that I believe the test should have been invalidated when Davis Enterprise Editor Davis tipped them off–hey mistakes happen, we understand that. But they continue. Interim Police Chief Steve Pierce then is quoted as saying his department would have handled it the same way, despite questions raised by the reporter himself in his notes to that effect. And the Davis Enterprise article never really illuminates all of this.

LoGuercio writes:

Some local police departments fared better. Dixon got an A-minus, Davis scored a B-plus, and Winters a B. However, not only was the Davis Police Department inadvertently tipped off about the audit, their “average citizen” was a familiar Davis Enterprise reporter. Big, fat cheaterheads. Davis should’ve gotten a zero and been disqualified. On the other hand… they cheated and still only got a B-plus? Losers. Elsewhere, Fairfield scored a solid F, while Suisun and Vacaville less-than-failed.

So let me get this straight, the police department that happens to be tipped off, also gets one of the higher grades. Now in fairness, again, Golden points out that in fact, a number of departments around the state figured out what was going on and still rated very low–which makes you all the more concerned.

Nevertheless our concern from the start was the lack of public accounting of this story–when you read the Enterprise it is more of a whitewash of the event buried in the middle of the story and without the background which should truly concern the average reader.

–Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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12 thoughts on “Commentary: More Thinking About the Police Audit”

  1. Doug Paul Davis

    Found a couple of other interesting thing related to this issue that did not merit a new story, but should be added to the public record for discussion:

    This is a letter to the editor from the Woodland Police Chief arguing that the grade was unfair and I think he makes some good points here:

    Letter to editor

    And here is today’s front page story from the Daily Democrat on the controversy:

    Article

    Neither of these speak to the problems between the Davis Enterprise and the Davis Police Department but they do raise questions about the audit process–questions that I began wondering about when Cory Golden informed us that a number of stations figured out what was going on anyway.

  2. Doug Paul Davis

    Found a couple of other interesting thing related to this issue that did not merit a new story, but should be added to the public record for discussion:

    This is a letter to the editor from the Woodland Police Chief arguing that the grade was unfair and I think he makes some good points here:

    Letter to editor

    And here is today’s front page story from the Daily Democrat on the controversy:

    Article

    Neither of these speak to the problems between the Davis Enterprise and the Davis Police Department but they do raise questions about the audit process–questions that I began wondering about when Cory Golden informed us that a number of stations figured out what was going on anyway.

  3. Doug Paul Davis

    Found a couple of other interesting thing related to this issue that did not merit a new story, but should be added to the public record for discussion:

    This is a letter to the editor from the Woodland Police Chief arguing that the grade was unfair and I think he makes some good points here:

    Letter to editor

    And here is today’s front page story from the Daily Democrat on the controversy:

    Article

    Neither of these speak to the problems between the Davis Enterprise and the Davis Police Department but they do raise questions about the audit process–questions that I began wondering about when Cory Golden informed us that a number of stations figured out what was going on anyway.

  4. Doug Paul Davis

    Found a couple of other interesting thing related to this issue that did not merit a new story, but should be added to the public record for discussion:

    This is a letter to the editor from the Woodland Police Chief arguing that the grade was unfair and I think he makes some good points here:

    Letter to editor

    And here is today’s front page story from the Daily Democrat on the controversy:

    Article

    Neither of these speak to the problems between the Davis Enterprise and the Davis Police Department but they do raise questions about the audit process–questions that I began wondering about when Cory Golden informed us that a number of stations figured out what was going on anyway.

  5. Anonymous

    Doug,
    Anytime a law enforcement agency is asked for information from a news outlet they consider it a test.

    What the testers failed to tell you is that most of the information has to be hand searched (takes time) and lots of agencies have to get approval from legal counsel (takes time) before releasing information. Some information is protected under the Police Officers Bill of Rights, Federal Law, State Law, etc. Law enforcement is subject to being sued for just about anything including releasing confidential information.

    Chief Sullivan’s letter is right on the money and well put.

    Bottom line – the grade was ridiculously unfair and only used to sell newspapers.

  6. Anonymous

    Doug,
    Anytime a law enforcement agency is asked for information from a news outlet they consider it a test.

    What the testers failed to tell you is that most of the information has to be hand searched (takes time) and lots of agencies have to get approval from legal counsel (takes time) before releasing information. Some information is protected under the Police Officers Bill of Rights, Federal Law, State Law, etc. Law enforcement is subject to being sued for just about anything including releasing confidential information.

    Chief Sullivan’s letter is right on the money and well put.

    Bottom line – the grade was ridiculously unfair and only used to sell newspapers.

  7. Anonymous

    Doug,
    Anytime a law enforcement agency is asked for information from a news outlet they consider it a test.

    What the testers failed to tell you is that most of the information has to be hand searched (takes time) and lots of agencies have to get approval from legal counsel (takes time) before releasing information. Some information is protected under the Police Officers Bill of Rights, Federal Law, State Law, etc. Law enforcement is subject to being sued for just about anything including releasing confidential information.

    Chief Sullivan’s letter is right on the money and well put.

    Bottom line – the grade was ridiculously unfair and only used to sell newspapers.

  8. Anonymous

    Doug,
    Anytime a law enforcement agency is asked for information from a news outlet they consider it a test.

    What the testers failed to tell you is that most of the information has to be hand searched (takes time) and lots of agencies have to get approval from legal counsel (takes time) before releasing information. Some information is protected under the Police Officers Bill of Rights, Federal Law, State Law, etc. Law enforcement is subject to being sued for just about anything including releasing confidential information.

    Chief Sullivan’s letter is right on the money and well put.

    Bottom line – the grade was ridiculously unfair and only used to sell newspapers.

  9. Doug Paul Davis

    I was in basic agreement with you until the last sentence, it is not clear that this was only used to sell newspapers, it’s not clear that the non-profit group had any connection to newspaper sales.

  10. Doug Paul Davis

    I was in basic agreement with you until the last sentence, it is not clear that this was only used to sell newspapers, it’s not clear that the non-profit group had any connection to newspaper sales.

  11. Doug Paul Davis

    I was in basic agreement with you until the last sentence, it is not clear that this was only used to sell newspapers, it’s not clear that the non-profit group had any connection to newspaper sales.

  12. Doug Paul Davis

    I was in basic agreement with you until the last sentence, it is not clear that this was only used to sell newspapers, it’s not clear that the non-profit group had any connection to newspaper sales.

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