Chief Black Calls For More Personnel and Training as Budget Priority

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On Tuesday May 22, 2007, the Davis City Council had a workshop on the 2007/ 2008 Fiscal Year Proposed Budget. One of the components of this budget were the public safety needs of the police department. Newly hired Chief Landy Black made his first statements as a chief for what he saw as the budgetary needs and priorities of his department.
According to City Manager Bill Emlen, unfunded needs are “basically items that we did not include in the budget but were suggested by the various departments during the course of the budget process.”

It is clear to many observers that the Davis Police Department is understaffed in terms of both support staff and actual officers on the beat. Back in February, the Police Ombudsman as well as the council spoke of the need to upgrade training of officers. However, I think one point that really has not been discussed in this community sufficiently is the issue of staffing of the police department and in the unfunded needs (see the graphic), you see a number of them that relate directly to the need for more staff.

These needs include: an IT analyst/ project manager, a fourth lieutenant, a new training officer, a police dispatch supervisor, a police services specialist who specializes in calls for service, and of course additional police officers. The need for new police officers is quite clear and has been for some time. This point has been driven home not only with long response times to often serious crimes such as a daylight downtown bank robbery, but also by basic logistical problems.

Chief Black spoke strongly to the need for the proper levels of personnel as a means to adequately train and supervise officers on patrol. He acknowledged that this was crucial toward dealing with public confidence issues that have arisen in recent years. However, his point also drove home the need for the people that the public may not see–the supervisors, training officers, and support staff all of which appear to be greatly lacking.

“50 percent of our officers are working in the patrol division with minimal supervision. With the public confidence issues that have been dealt with over the last couple of years with the city of Davis I think can be remedied by having quality training, quality supervision, and oversight, and that can’t be done by simply moving people around, we need to actually take an aggressive plan, to put in that oversight process, to bring in the people who will be doing the oversight, and show how to properly do their job.”

Moreover Chief Black also spoke of the need to ensure that technology such as the video cameras and police computers are operational not just as a means to protect the public but also to protect the officers.

“Part of the problem that we are trying to overcome is a perception of our inability to manage the technology within the department which is creating both a public confidence problem because they expect that our technology’s going to do what it is supposed to do to ensure their rights and give us the ability to defend ourself when there are criticism of our actions.”

Fortunately it seems that both the video cameras and the in-car computers are now working most of the time, but there was a long delay that not only fed into the perception about the department but also put police officers at risk in several different ways as the chief alluded.

One of the positions in great need is for a fourth Lieutenant position. However, Black also suggested that dispatch is in need of a supervisor. Basically there is one person who is responsible for that job 24 hours a day.

I witnessed this first hand last Saturday as I rode along with a police officer for a “ride along.” On this Saturday night they had five units on the beat and two “party officers” who are on overtime and are there to respond to noise complaints and other out of the control party events late on the weekend or Thursday nights. At 1:00 a.m. officers responded to a serious incident involving injuries and an assault.

This incident eventually took up all but one unit that was on duty. Because they needed that last unit free, they did not respond to several of the noise complaints. This was done just in case another serious incident occurred, the one unit could not be tied down.

This incident illustrates how thin the resources are stretch, if a single moderate incident can tie down all but one unit, it is clear that the department simply does not have enough resources to ensure the safety of the city at peak times such as late at night on the weekends.

While the department also requested some equipment, it is clear that personnel is a clear priority both for the department and this community. However, it is also clear that the new personnel needs to coincide with more training. Unfortunately, there are a great number of departments and services in this city that also need to be funded. However, in my view, getting more police officers and more command officers should be one of the highest priorities in this city. Some of the problems that we have seen in the last few years result directly from the lack of staffing and as importantly the lack of supervision and training of the officers who patrol this city. From that perspective of both this community and our police force, we owe it them to fully staff them and properly train them.

I do not mean this to dismiss the need for equipment. Assistant Chief Pierce who is more familiar with past issues, once again made a pitch for a live-fire training facility. I understand the need for that and how that could be of value. However, scarcity of funding means making tough decisions in terms of what gets funded and what does not. From my standpoint, I would prefer that money go toward more personnel, supervisors, support staff, and some of the training proposals that have been discussed in recent years.

—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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28 thoughts on “Chief Black Calls For More Personnel and Training as Budget Priority”

  1. Anonymous

    There is an alternative to using police officers as first line party busters – it would free up time and cost less.

    At major weekend concerts there are always police officers and a cadre of hired security people who are there to help keep the peace.

    Davis/UCD could hire a couple of dozen students to help patrol the party scene. They would not be there to arrest people but they would give warnings. They would basically say ” there has been a noise complaint, if you actually get a ticket this is what it will cost you, anyone seen with an an open container will be cited, you have 20 minutes to clean this place up/quiet down before officers arrive”. Most UCD students are responsible enough to heed such warnings and that will end the issue.

    If they do something like this they can spend more of the money on things like training – something that will do some good.SAH

  2. Anonymous

    There is an alternative to using police officers as first line party busters – it would free up time and cost less.

    At major weekend concerts there are always police officers and a cadre of hired security people who are there to help keep the peace.

    Davis/UCD could hire a couple of dozen students to help patrol the party scene. They would not be there to arrest people but they would give warnings. They would basically say ” there has been a noise complaint, if you actually get a ticket this is what it will cost you, anyone seen with an an open container will be cited, you have 20 minutes to clean this place up/quiet down before officers arrive”. Most UCD students are responsible enough to heed such warnings and that will end the issue.

    If they do something like this they can spend more of the money on things like training – something that will do some good.SAH

  3. Anonymous

    There is an alternative to using police officers as first line party busters – it would free up time and cost less.

    At major weekend concerts there are always police officers and a cadre of hired security people who are there to help keep the peace.

    Davis/UCD could hire a couple of dozen students to help patrol the party scene. They would not be there to arrest people but they would give warnings. They would basically say ” there has been a noise complaint, if you actually get a ticket this is what it will cost you, anyone seen with an an open container will be cited, you have 20 minutes to clean this place up/quiet down before officers arrive”. Most UCD students are responsible enough to heed such warnings and that will end the issue.

    If they do something like this they can spend more of the money on things like training – something that will do some good.SAH

  4. Anonymous

    There is an alternative to using police officers as first line party busters – it would free up time and cost less.

    At major weekend concerts there are always police officers and a cadre of hired security people who are there to help keep the peace.

    Davis/UCD could hire a couple of dozen students to help patrol the party scene. They would not be there to arrest people but they would give warnings. They would basically say ” there has been a noise complaint, if you actually get a ticket this is what it will cost you, anyone seen with an an open container will be cited, you have 20 minutes to clean this place up/quiet down before officers arrive”. Most UCD students are responsible enough to heed such warnings and that will end the issue.

    If they do something like this they can spend more of the money on things like training – something that will do some good.SAH

  5. Doug Paul Davis

    DPD calls for more officers for the DPD and it’s greeted with fanfare or silence? I hear silence. Come on people, I thought Greenwald was anti-cop.

  6. Doug Paul Davis

    DPD calls for more officers for the DPD and it’s greeted with fanfare or silence? I hear silence. Come on people, I thought Greenwald was anti-cop.

  7. Doug Paul Davis

    DPD calls for more officers for the DPD and it’s greeted with fanfare or silence? I hear silence. Come on people, I thought Greenwald was anti-cop.

  8. Doug Paul Davis

    DPD calls for more officers for the DPD and it’s greeted with fanfare or silence? I hear silence. Come on people, I thought Greenwald was anti-cop.

  9. Richard

    one would have to believe that Black was pretty open about his views during the interview process, so this shouldn’t come as a big surprise

    Davis is no longer a small college town, it is becoming a city, and yet, it has persisted in the belief that it can get by with a small town police force

    hopefully, Black’s improvements might also result in fewer embarassing episodes like the Bazayan case as well

    –Richard Estes

  10. Richard

    one would have to believe that Black was pretty open about his views during the interview process, so this shouldn’t come as a big surprise

    Davis is no longer a small college town, it is becoming a city, and yet, it has persisted in the belief that it can get by with a small town police force

    hopefully, Black’s improvements might also result in fewer embarassing episodes like the Bazayan case as well

    –Richard Estes

  11. Richard

    one would have to believe that Black was pretty open about his views during the interview process, so this shouldn’t come as a big surprise

    Davis is no longer a small college town, it is becoming a city, and yet, it has persisted in the belief that it can get by with a small town police force

    hopefully, Black’s improvements might also result in fewer embarassing episodes like the Bazayan case as well

    –Richard Estes

  12. Richard

    one would have to believe that Black was pretty open about his views during the interview process, so this shouldn’t come as a big surprise

    Davis is no longer a small college town, it is becoming a city, and yet, it has persisted in the belief that it can get by with a small town police force

    hopefully, Black’s improvements might also result in fewer embarassing episodes like the Bazayan case as well

    –Richard Estes

  13. Anonymous

    The University should be contributing to Davis’ public safety needs as far as its living-on-campus students are concerned. They add to Davis’ policing needs,”partying” off-campus, and the City foots the bill.

  14. Anonymous

    The University should be contributing to Davis’ public safety needs as far as its living-on-campus students are concerned. They add to Davis’ policing needs,”partying” off-campus, and the City foots the bill.

  15. Anonymous

    The University should be contributing to Davis’ public safety needs as far as its living-on-campus students are concerned. They add to Davis’ policing needs,”partying” off-campus, and the City foots the bill.

  16. Anonymous

    The University should be contributing to Davis’ public safety needs as far as its living-on-campus students are concerned. They add to Davis’ policing needs,”partying” off-campus, and the City foots the bill.

  17. Anonymous

    Department “laundry lists” of needs is to a significant degree, political bureaucratic “theater”. Silence can denote a healthy attitude of reserving judgement.

  18. Anonymous

    Department “laundry lists” of needs is to a significant degree, political bureaucratic “theater”. Silence can denote a healthy attitude of reserving judgement.

  19. Anonymous

    Department “laundry lists” of needs is to a significant degree, political bureaucratic “theater”. Silence can denote a healthy attitude of reserving judgement.

  20. Anonymous

    Department “laundry lists” of needs is to a significant degree, political bureaucratic “theater”. Silence can denote a healthy attitude of reserving judgement.

  21. Sharla

    I support having another officer in a supervisory position. Another solution mentioned was having “patrol captains,” but I agree that this is not ideal. It seems similar to putting one of my siblings “in charge” when my parents went out for the evening when I was a kid. We all either just did what we wanted or, if it ended up being my brother in charge, suffered immeasurably under his temporary power.

    Chief Black also mentioned the need for an additional staff support to help the single person handling all of the work currently. Knowing that there is only one person handling all of the clerical work for the department changes my view completely. I think she’s doing a bang-up job and I hope the officers are bringing her coffee, taking her out to lunch, getting their reports turned in on time and generally doing whatever she asks.

    However, the comments from the Council made it seem like funding these needs was unlikely. I wonder about the process.

  22. Sharla

    I support having another officer in a supervisory position. Another solution mentioned was having “patrol captains,” but I agree that this is not ideal. It seems similar to putting one of my siblings “in charge” when my parents went out for the evening when I was a kid. We all either just did what we wanted or, if it ended up being my brother in charge, suffered immeasurably under his temporary power.

    Chief Black also mentioned the need for an additional staff support to help the single person handling all of the work currently. Knowing that there is only one person handling all of the clerical work for the department changes my view completely. I think she’s doing a bang-up job and I hope the officers are bringing her coffee, taking her out to lunch, getting their reports turned in on time and generally doing whatever she asks.

    However, the comments from the Council made it seem like funding these needs was unlikely. I wonder about the process.

  23. Sharla

    I support having another officer in a supervisory position. Another solution mentioned was having “patrol captains,” but I agree that this is not ideal. It seems similar to putting one of my siblings “in charge” when my parents went out for the evening when I was a kid. We all either just did what we wanted or, if it ended up being my brother in charge, suffered immeasurably under his temporary power.

    Chief Black also mentioned the need for an additional staff support to help the single person handling all of the work currently. Knowing that there is only one person handling all of the clerical work for the department changes my view completely. I think she’s doing a bang-up job and I hope the officers are bringing her coffee, taking her out to lunch, getting their reports turned in on time and generally doing whatever she asks.

    However, the comments from the Council made it seem like funding these needs was unlikely. I wonder about the process.

  24. Sharla

    I support having another officer in a supervisory position. Another solution mentioned was having “patrol captains,” but I agree that this is not ideal. It seems similar to putting one of my siblings “in charge” when my parents went out for the evening when I was a kid. We all either just did what we wanted or, if it ended up being my brother in charge, suffered immeasurably under his temporary power.

    Chief Black also mentioned the need for an additional staff support to help the single person handling all of the work currently. Knowing that there is only one person handling all of the clerical work for the department changes my view completely. I think she’s doing a bang-up job and I hope the officers are bringing her coffee, taking her out to lunch, getting their reports turned in on time and generally doing whatever she asks.

    However, the comments from the Council made it seem like funding these needs was unlikely. I wonder about the process.

  25. Anonymous

    Sharla: Isn’t it funny that when the campaign was on last year, these guys were the police vbf’s but when push comes to shove, they do not give them the tools to be successful. Now if the top end managers need a pay raise, pension increase, and benefit’s raised, then they are all there. But when it comes to the rank and file, the council majority is no friend to the average city worker–even the police.

  26. Anonymous

    Sharla: Isn’t it funny that when the campaign was on last year, these guys were the police vbf’s but when push comes to shove, they do not give them the tools to be successful. Now if the top end managers need a pay raise, pension increase, and benefit’s raised, then they are all there. But when it comes to the rank and file, the council majority is no friend to the average city worker–even the police.

  27. Anonymous

    Sharla: Isn’t it funny that when the campaign was on last year, these guys were the police vbf’s but when push comes to shove, they do not give them the tools to be successful. Now if the top end managers need a pay raise, pension increase, and benefit’s raised, then they are all there. But when it comes to the rank and file, the council majority is no friend to the average city worker–even the police.

  28. Anonymous

    Sharla: Isn’t it funny that when the campaign was on last year, these guys were the police vbf’s but when push comes to shove, they do not give them the tools to be successful. Now if the top end managers need a pay raise, pension increase, and benefit’s raised, then they are all there. But when it comes to the rank and file, the council majority is no friend to the average city worker–even the police.

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