Former Chief Offers Insulting Depiction of DPD

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Former Davis Police Chief Jim Hyde is back in the news, this time as a feature story in a May edition of a local Contra Costa County indy magazine, 110°.  110° Magazine is self-described as a publication that personalizes the community by focusing upon the people, places, and businesses of Contra Costa.

The article on Jim Hyde is bound by a picture of him aiming his weapon towards the reader with a caption that reads:

“A man of integrity and vision is at the helm of the Antioch Police Department.  Jim Hyde has the required experience and training – plus, he has the cheerful confidence that instills confidence, together with an attitude of service and sacrifice.”

One would not know from the cover that this is a man facing at least four federal lawsuits, including one in his former department of Davis.  His actions nearly tore one community apart at the seems and perhaps is in the process of doing the same in Antioch.

More surprising and disturbing are remarks that Chief Hyde makes within the pages of the article.  Comments that have alarmed and angered many of his old colleagues.  Remarkably the author of the article prints these comments with little or no effort to talk to people in his old department who might set the record straight or at the very least offer a contrary position.

When the Vanguard called the Davis Police Department for comment however, current Chief Landy Black expressed little interest in getting in any sort of give and take with the former chief.  Diplomatically he simply suggested that the past was the past and left it at that.

To me, one who has certainly had well-publicized differences with the Davis Police Department, the article sheds a tremendous amount of light and provides clarity to a very dark period of time.  As time goes on, it has become more and more clear that what happened in late 2005 and early 2006 was largely the product of one person at the helm of a department and his failure to properly deal with what should have been a fairly minor event–the Buzayan incident.  His failure and subsequent problems with the leadership in the city of Davis led to a snowballing that would consume the entire city and threatened for a time to tear the city of Davis apart.

In this article, we see a brash and arrogant chief who has appalling words for his former department.  One who looks with mocking disdain not only at his old department but in fact at the severity of what he faces in the court of law.  It is difficult to overstate this and I shall largely allow his own words speak for themselves other than to suggest that most of what he alleges about his former department is simply untrue.

“Chief Hyde was subsequently able to hone his skills during three years in the roll of Chief of Police at Davis.  The Davis City Council hired him to help turn around what had become a dysfunctional organization.”

Note the use of the word “dysfunctional” which he used frequently to describe many things in Davis upon his exit.

“For example, he discovered that Davis police were using an out-dated radio system that often didn’t work. Also, nobody was keeping track of crimes; they had been simply making up statistics and taking off a percent or so each year to provide a facade of improvement.”

Did the author of the article even bother to fact-check any of this?

“Members of the Davis Police Department treated their station like a firehouse. They were conducting themselves in real life just like the fictional characters in Reno 911 acted in comedy.”

He continued:

“The department was also filled with bitter antagonisms. When he reported for duty at 7:00 a.m. for his first full day of work, Hyde said that a line of managers were waiting for him, most of them recommending that he fire one of the other managers standing in the line.

His studies, together with his experience, gave him the tools for understanding what was going on and how to remedy it; he was successful in turning the appalling situation around.

His success in Davis resulted in four different cities attempting simultaneously to hire him.”

It would have been nice to have had the author attempt to gain balance or ACCURACY, but he apparently never bothered to contact Davis.  There are many different stories about the end of Hyde’s tenure in Davis, few will describe it as one filled with success and most describe it as a situation where he pretty much had to leave.

The depictions by Chief Hyde of Davis are largely not true and if there were bitter antagonisms, perhaps he fostered them as he fostered them within the community.

He then describes in detail his attitude toward being sued:

I asked the Chief about the federal litigation going on. He laughed and said, “Citizens worry that we’re going to be scared off because people are suing us.  In fact, that’s one of the purposes of this kind of lawsuit; it’s in the interest of some segments of society to create conditions of anarchy.”

And then he added, “Getting sued is part of being a cop. You get used to it. I’ve had people try to shoot me, run me over, and then they sue me. I’ve stopped guys from killing their wives, and they’ve turned around and sued me. It comes with the territory.”

He explained that in our litigious society anybody can sue anybody for anything. The process of law works faster when the charges are criminal. Unfortunately, civil suits can drag on for years.

It is appalling that he is laughing at some pretty serious lawsuits.  The most recent was just filed two weeks ago, the third federal lawsuit stemming from allegations that members of the Antioch Police Department used intimidation and discrimination towards Section 8 tenants.

This one in particular alleges that a landlord has been targeted due to renting their properties to Section 8 families.

The Community Action Team (CAT) was formed in July of 2006, to investigate problem properties and assists the local housing authority in policing Antioch’s subsidized housing sites.

Since it’s inception, CAT has faced many complaints by Section 8 renters and as recent as July of 2008, the Antioch Police Department was named in a federal class action lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and Section 8 renters contending that “CAT” unfairly targets African-American families participating in the Section 8 housing program. Public Advocates, a civil rights advocacy group and Bay Area Legal Aide also involved in the class action suit, released a December 2007, 41 page report that said, “black families are four times more likely to be scrutinized by CAT than are white families.”

The Patras family lawsuit called “Riaz Patras v. City of Antioch,” is the third lawsuit filed against CAT, since it was formed in July 2006.

Lynda Carson writes on May 12, 2009 on Indybay.org:

The Patras family lawsuit called “Riaz Patras v. City of Antioch,” is the third lawsuit filed against CAT, since it was formed in July 2006.

“I have been renting to Section 8 families in the East Bay since 1997,” said Riaz Patras, “and have never had a problem with them, except in Antioch when the police started paying me visits to tell me that they want me to evict all of my Section 8 families.”

“I’ve owned around 10 to 12 properties through the years, and only own around 5 properties now. Times are hard, and I lost a few properties because of foreclosures in recent years. My Section 8 tenants are hard working families with children who have all been certified by the Housing Authority of Contra Costa County and have been qualified to reside in my rental properties. Their good people, and they’ve never been a problem.”

“I filed suit against the Police Department and the City of Antioch because I am being pressured not to rent to Section 8 tenants, and the cops are watching me very closely. We all have rights in this country, and I have been unfairly treated by the Antioch Police Department because they are trying to force me to evict all the African-American families from my properties. Looking back on what has occurred, I wish that I would have gone before the Mayor and the City Council to complain about the way the Antioch Police has been treating the citizens of Antioch,” said Patras.

Indeed, as alleged in the recent suit filed in court, documents state that the Antioch Police systematically intimidated, harassed and pressured the Patras family to evict their Section 8 tenants, all of whom were African-Americans. Furthermore, it’s alleged that the CAT officers used guns to intimidate, and harassed the Patras family with phone calls, using “Jim Crow tactics,” to intimidate the landlord into evicting the Section 8 tenants.

This of course induces laughter from the Police Chief who is named in no less than four federal civil rights lawsuits?  None of which involve, by the way, people who tried to shoot him and run him over.

To me this article gives great insight into the man who used to be Police Chief of Davis and who presided over a period that nearly tore this community apart.  The Buzayan lawsuit is moving slowly through the system now.  Two months ago, the Vanguard reported that a federal judge had ordered the suit to go forward and that the defendants quit stalling.  Apparently the case has entered the discovery phase along with depositions. 

Meanwhile Davis has moved on with a new chief and has begun to put itself past this era.  This article is a reminder though to us all of where this community stood just three short years ago.

—David M. Greenwald 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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25 thoughts on “Former Chief Offers Insulting Depiction of DPD”

  1. alphonso

    I do not know if any improvements were made or not, but I do know this-

    He was brought in to improve electronic communication in vehicles and as he left the equipment still did not funcition properly – he had three years.

    He did improve some aspects of communication – the community meetings for example. However on a personal level he had trouble. He looked completely disfunctional when ABC 7 showed up with questions and he took the low road when it came to dealing with the Human relations commission.

    Before he arrived there was no reasonable chain of command to review what was going on – officers acted like lone rangers (some acting well below the level of kemo sahbee). Also some officers used the law to promote themselves as they tried to create more out of crime events than really existed and nobody bothered to manage that. Hyde might have made improvements, but several cases including the Buzayan case indicate there were still major problems.

    Finally, a truly professional police chief would not have made the comments Hyde made to the Contra Costa magazine.

  2. Crime statistics

    “nobody was keeping track of crimes; they had been simply making up statistics and taking off a percent or so each year to provide a facade of improvement.”

    Perhaps Hyde says he cleaned this up, but just to see, I just went to the city crime mapper (http://maps.ci.davis.ca.us/gis/crimemap/view.htm) and checked on a minor property crime I reported several months ago, and it is indeed listed on the map, with date and time.

  3. Frankly

    Two points comments that I completely agree with:

    “When the Vanguard called the Davis Police Department for comment however, current Chief Landy Black expressed little interest in getting in any sort of give and take with the former chief. Diplomatically he simply suggested that the past was the past and left it at that.”

    This is good advice for a whole lot of people… let’s lick our wounds of the past and move on. Also, it is common for any resigned or terminated employee feeling less than appreciated by his old employer to have negative things to say. People generally don’t hold positive views of institutions and people that reject them. Knowing that, we should stop asking questions because there is a lack of objectivity in the answers.

    “”Citizens worry that we’re going to be scared off because people are suing us. In fact, that’s one of the purposes of this kind of lawsuit; it’s in the interest of some segments of society to create conditions of anarchy.”

    He explained that in our litigious society anybody can sue anybody for anything. The process of law works faster when the charges are criminal. Unfortunately, civil suits can drag on for years.”

    This is absolutely true. My late brother In-Law, Paul Narr, even with his stellar record of customer service and a higher than usual collection of complements from suspects for being treated with respect by him, I understood he had law suits against him. It added to his stress on the job, but like the chiefs comment, he accepted it as being part of the job. I think it is unfortunate and wrong.

    Our criminal and civil law system should provide social advantage, but too often it is a social liability when used as weapon for revenge, or a tool to advance political careers or to extort money. The plaintiffs – usually having been involved in something that justified attention by the police – are generally just pawns in this game. Because of these trends, I would argue that a police chief in any reasonably-sized California town would likely be guilty of doing a lousy job without having law suits filed against him/her. For this benchmark, we should thank the trial attorneys and activists. At least we know Chief Hyde is doing his job.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    Every time I’ve gotten an answer on the time line, it’s been delayed. As I understand they are finally starting depositions and discovery and that process will take some time. I’ll see if I can get a better idea on a time line in a week or so.

  5. Brian K

    Re: The Cover Photo

    It doesn’t look that way to me. It looks as though Chief Hyde is pointing his handgun over the photographer’s shoulder, away from the the reader’s line of sight. Also, note, he doesn’t have his finger on the trigger.

    “The article on Jim Hyde is bound by a picture of him aiming his weapon towards the reader…”

    PS: What’s an “Indy magazine”? One owned by Indiana Jones? I wish DPD would stop makin’ stuff up as he goes along.

  6. Frankly

    David,

    I forgot to mention that I liked the way you reported this story… I think it was balanced and you defended the Davis PD from Chief Hyde’s claims. My point was/is that I wish the Hyde stories would go away. It seems that we have plenty of other more interesting, current and important topics available these days.

  7. Anon

    Landy Black is taking the high road, and acting in a professional manner by refusing to comment on Hyde’s derogatory remarks about the DPD. Hyde could take a lesson…

    Professionalism requires that in-house dirty linen with respect to office politics and the like remain in-house. The claims that Hyde makes about the DPD are impossible to prove/disprove, and sound far more like self-serving hyperbole than truth.

    Frankly, we are well rid of Hyde, and the DPD is better for it, as is the city itself. I suspect Antioch is not so enamored of their “hero” now…

  8. Mike Harrington

    Lawyers use Pacer Federal Courts Dockets to look at federal filings. Anyone can sign up, with a credit card and they bill you several times a year for the charges. It is very inexpensive, and easy to use. The DPD’s case is in the Eastern District of California, Sacramento. Sign up with Pacer, and read it all.

    I occasionally look in on that docket. Very interesting. Do the citizens of Davis have a clue how their precious tax dollars are being wasted by that case? Probably not.

    Chief Hyde basically says that everyone sues, and they get into it. Total horse-sh__.

    As a litigator of major aviation and transportation cases over the past 20 years, I can tell you that clients HATE to get into litigation. They dont like to shell out money to lawyers. They dont like calls and correspondence from lawyers. When a client deals with a lawyer, it reminds the client of death, disaster, and destruction. It’s all backward-looking.

    It takes a lot of perceived abuse to make most people pick up the phone, meet and retain a lawyer, and go to court.

    If Hyde is being sued, over and over, in various courts for the way he handles his job as a peace officer, then maybe he should consider re-examining how he handles professional issues and assignements. His comments seem to blame the victims.

  9. Ryan Kelly

    Jim Hyde was not a good fit for Davis. He hated the public (especially the Davis public with its high level of participation); did not participate in the Davis community; apparently did not like talking to people; ignored or criticized the community’s attempts to tell him about community needs; and seemed to behave as though every member of the community were criminals or potential criminals, or “dysfunctional.” I’m glad he left.

    Our present Chief is a much better fit – an all around nice guy, likes talking to people, is actively participating in the Davis community, and listens and responds to community needs, yet still manages to project an image of concern for public safety, the safety for his officers and enforcing rule of law. I’m so glad he came.

    Hyde violated an important professional rule of never trashing a previous position. If he complains about Davis, he’ll do the same to Antioch when he leaves them. Eventually, employers will steer clear of him.

  10. Frankly

    “It takes a lot of perceived abuse to make most people pick up the phone, meet and retain a lawyer, and go to court.”

    This has not been my experience. I think the perspective is different from us non-attorneys. Especially when cases are backed by legal activist, there isn’t much disincentive for someone to sue. If not free legal services provided by attorneys paid by the activist cause, most of these civil cases are taken on contingency. Plaintiff attorneys and their clients often just roll the dice because they can and have nothing better to do.

    The “perceived abuse” is a key here. There are many that feel the “abuse” or damage claim from the Buzayan family is trivial or not justified. There was a time when people seem to have better judgment and tolerance for these things. We seemed to be able to accept responsibility for our own actions, even when the consequences had an element of bad luck associated with it. We seemed to be more able to get over things and move on. Now we expect perfection in everyone and everything (except ourselves) or we will hold a grudge and sue. This trend may be better for those in the legal profession, but certainly not better for someone in law enforcement.

  11. anonymous

    The Davis PD was a force fractured by leadership conflicts long before Chief Hyde arrived. He did not (or could not or would not) resolve those conflicts. It would be short-sighted of us all to blame everything on Hyde, without remembering prior history. And it would be unfair not to give credit to the current department for its growth and positive direction under Landy Black.

  12. Sara Lee

    “For example, he discovered that Davis police were using an out-dated radio system that often didn’t work. Also, nobody was keeping track of crimes; they had been simply making up statistics and taking off a percent or so each year to provide a facade of improvement.”

    Sorry to tell you all, crime mapper is so deflationary. I lived in low income housing and there was so much crime going on. The police department covers up crime statistics in order to keep up the values of the property. They work closely with property managers and scumlords to placate complaints and cover up the real facts so as to maintain property values and appease the statiticians. There’s nothing but money at stake here. The Davis police department unfortunately for the most part is corrupt. The clerks and records department are the biggest perpetrators. St. Rod Rifredi and others are just a bunch of rich republicans living on the government dole. They hate having to actually work for their money. They make so much and don’t do any work. Davis is a gravy town for them. I agree with the former police chief. They do lie and cover up statistics. The records department and clerks are the most corrupt, as they are in charge of ionformation. They are just like the clerks at the Yolo superior court. They all work together to betray justice and freedom. Fuxxx Davis. It’s expensive and artificial.

  13. Anonymous

    I’m kind of surprised at some of those comments, and hope they weren’t the byproduct of “creative license”. Jim Hyde has always struck me to be a sincere person that was genuinely interested in affecting change within the Davis Police Department. (He even had Davis PD managers reading up on “Nuts: Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success”. That project died when he resigned, and those books just sit on the bookcases in the waiting area of the police chief’s office.)

    Unfortunately, Jim Hyde’s weak spot was in underestimating the potential for a “minor” property damage hit-and-run incident to be blown all over the media. The original incident was not handled well by “middle management” (the sergeants, lieutenants, and assistant chief) and became an albatross by the time it fell into Jim Hyde’s lap.

    Some items in the article hit the nail, and other items missed the mark:

    The “outdated” radio system, while problematic, was very much functional. Davis PD was already planning an upgrade to their radio system in tandem with UC Davis PD, Woodland PD, West Sacramento PD, and Yolo County in a bulk purchase contract long before Jim Hyde arrived. The “new” in-car cameras and computers are another story. Not a lot of thought (or expertise) went into their purchase, and they frequently malfunctioned. (Tip: consult with other local police agencies next time for references.)

    While Jim Hyde did introduce the “Crime Analyst” position to Davis PD, the previous practice of reporting crime statistics was not the farce that the article seemed to imply. Before the Crime Analyst position, it was the Crime Prevention Community Services Officer’s responsibility to read the daily log, categorize it according to the FBI’s “uniform crime reporting” matrix, and tally it in an Excel spreadsheet by month. It was truly a “no frills” report.

    Equating the Davis Police Department to “Reno 911!” does a disservice to the hard-working employees who try to perform their duties in a morale-challenged environment. (Like “class” culture clashes between the sworn and non-sworn “civilian” employees, personality conflicts, supervisors who really don’t want to supervise, employees being assigned to “school crossing guard duty” due to budget problems, etc.)

    While Davis PD has improved in many areas, I feel that middle management still seems to be stuck in the status quo, regardless of who the police chief is. Chief Black has made a lot of visible improvements, but will struggle to improve employee morale under the current middle management.

  14. Old Skool Davis

    Chief Hyde was a wylie veteran that kept this town safe.
    He is a deep methodical thinker with a masters in clinical physchology.
    His take on frivolous litigation as an occupational pit-fall was spot on.
    A stand-up guy that would not bend to the venomous hand wringing cry babies.

    You got your puppett now from the No. West ( a bad motorcyclist and a Woodland resident) don’t cry like a female dog when the New Harmony thugs really stank this town. Mr. Professor and his old lady will turn on you in a heart beat the first time their Lexus get’s keyed.

  15. Not buying it

    Hey Old Skool:

    Hyde comes across and arrogant and condescending guy in this article which was my general experience with him dealing with him in person. His intransigence turned a minor incident into something that brought him down.

    I see no evidence that he kept this town safe, when has it ever not been safe?

    I don’t see him as a spot on guy. I think the person who posted before you had much more depth to his comments and they were much more valuable than what you have to offer.

    What do you have against Chief Black?

  16. David M. Greenwald

    What are you talking about WDF, that is the photo Hyde from yesterday???

    j/k

    Apparently the magazine wasn’t happy about the use of their picture and I got a nice threatening note from them, so I pulled it.

  17. wdf

    “Apparently the magazine wasn’t happy about the use of their picture and I got a nice threatening note from them, so I pulled it.”

    Well, this is a more flattering image of him.

  18. infowarrior916

    the davis pd is so bored they have nothing to do but harass young people. yolo county also is one of the top counties that sends the most people to prison and its mostly over the phony drug war.
    Stop the war on drugs and the fake war on terror wake up people we need to change the system and the gang mentality that the police have of them against the public.
    infowars.com wearechange.org truthaction.org check out the obama deception for free on youtube or google video..

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