Appointment of Carmichael to Chief For One Year Raises Questions

hexter-and-carmichael_lg.jpgAt one level, the hiring of Matthew Carmichael to be the Police Chief of the UC Davis Police Department seemed the obvious choice.  He had already led the department since those fateful days following the November 18 pepper-spray incident, that led to the suspension of his predecessor and nationwide scrutiny on the department.

Supporters can point to his long record of service and training.

“Matt is a 27-year veteran with extensive leadership experience, having previously overseen all Davis campus public safety operations as Lt. before being promoted to chief on an acting basis (as chief, he oversees both this campus and the Sacramento campus),” UC Davis Spokesperson Barry Shiller told the Vanguard.

“He holds Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) basic, intermediate, advanced, supervisory and management certifications,” he continued.

But on the other hand, the appointment triggers a number of questions, some of which remain unanswered, while others are answered relatively easily.

One of the critical questions is where was Matt Carmichael on November 18, 2011?

To the best of our understanding, it appears that Matt Carmichael was Officer S in the report.  Officer S appears to have had no direct role in the November 18 incident.  The references to him appear to be limited to some pre-incident interviews, in which there is nothing of substance directly attributed to him.

It does lead one to wonder exactly what was the point of redacting his name.

According to Mr. Shiller, he had spoken to Chief Carmichael directly about this question on Thursday.  He said, “He was on a regularly assigned shift at the Medical Center in Sacramento.”

This makes a good deal of sense, since we figured that the reason that Matt Carmichael was ultimately appointed to acting chief was precisely because he had no involved in the pepper-spray incident.

One of the perhaps surprising things we learned is that Chief Carmichael holds an associate’s degree in administration of justice from Napa Valley College.  At the very least, it seemed odd that a world class university would have a police chief that does not even hold a bachelor’s degree.

When we asked Mr. Shiller about it, he dodged the core of the question, focusing instead on the training and experience of Matt Carmichael.

And there is no doubt about it.  He has 27 years in law enforcement.   He’s been a lieutenant at UC Davis since he was hired in 2002.

One police officer, who asked not to be identified by name, felt that given the circumstances it was not odd that UC Davis would hire someone without at least a bachelor’s degree.

However, they added, “For a Departments that size, the typical education requirement is a BS.”  And in fact, “A[n] MS or better is preferred along with command college, FBI National Academy and/or IACP Leadership.”

He added, “It will surprise me in a year if their permanent chief does not have a BS.”

Chief Carmichael did just graduate from IACP Leadership.  International Associations of Chiefs of Police is an organization that seeks to “advance professional police services; promote enhanced administrative, technical, and operational police practices; foster cooperation and the exchange of information and experience among police leaders and police organizations of recognized professional and technical standing throughout the world.”

As it turns out, Matt Carmichael never could have been even an acting chief in the Davis Police Department.  Davis Police Department, for ranks of lieutenant or above, requires not just a BS, but the degree must be from an accredited school.

Our source indicated that throughout the valley, a number of chiefs had no education higher than an AA.

He indicated this this “really surprised” him.

He added, “I was also surprised how many chiefs and exec staff had a BS and MS from a non-traditional school.  I see that as a troubling trend.”

And a BS is just the minimum.  For Captain and above, an MS or better is actually preferred.

So here we have a Police Chief appointed for a year, at a major university, without a bachelor’s degree and expected to come in and stabilize the department and make the kinds of changes that are need.

One of the questions that emerges is why appoint Chief Carmichael for a one-year term rather than keep him on as acting chief until a permanent chief can be hired?

“There is a significant difference between a lieutenant serving as Acting Chief and being appointed officially to the job for a defined term with a national search to come,” Barry Shiller told the Vanguard.

He added, “Under the former structure, one vacancy is created to fill another. Backfilling is required to keep other key spots staffed. With Matt [Carmichael] officially serving as chief, he can address other staffing needs, fill gaps, etc.”

The other critical change the university has made is shifting the roles of the administrators.

On Thursday, Chancellor Katehi also announced a shift in oversight of the Police Department – effective May 1 and on an interim basis – from the vice chancellor of Administrative and Resource Management, a post held by John Meyer, to the provost and executive vice chancellor, Ralph J. Hexter, who serves as the campus’s chief academic and operating officer.

“This transfer will ensure that, going forward, the department will be closely aligned with our core academic mission and values,” Katehi said.

As we noted yesterday, Vice Chancellor Meyer played a critical role leading up to the fateful decisions on November 18 and was criticized in particular for lack of communication between the leadership team and the police department.

The Kroll report writes, “In that capacity, he, more than other members of the Leadership Team, should have taken steps to determine if police leadership had concerns about the contemplated operation and to ensure that those concerns were understood and evaluated by the Leadership Team.”

But Provost Hexter was hardly a bystander in the process, either.  As Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, he was part of the “Leadership Team.”

Provost Hexter was, in fact, described by Vice Chancellor Meyer and others  as one of “several key decision-makers within the group.”  He was on call even though he was not on campus on November 18.

So the question is, why would UC Davis expect better results with Provost Hexter in charge of the police rather than Vice Chancellor Meyer?

For Barry Shiller it is a move that simply makes more sense.  He told the Vanguard, “Ralph Hexter oversees all academic programs and is the campus’s chief operating officer.”

“There is a desire to align police services more closely with academic priorities; this move serves that goal. In addition, the department will receive attention from the campus’s top administrator,” he added.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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22 Comments

  1. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]So the question is, why would UC Davis expect better results with Provost Hexter in charge of the police rather than Vice Chancellor Meyer?[/quote]

    Good question!

    [quote]For Barry Shiller it is a move that simply makes more sense. He told the Vanguard, “Ralph Hexter oversees all academic programs and is the campus’s chief operating officer.”

    “There is a desire to align police services more closely with academic priorities; this move serves that goal. In addition, the department will receive attention from the campus’s top administrator,” he added.[/quote]

    But this is the very problem that plagued the entire operation – not allowing the police dept to do its job in deciding tactics. Instead academicians appeared to be making the tactical decisions, which turned out to be disastrous…

  2. JustSaying

    “‘This transfer will ensure that, going forward, the department will be closely aligned with our core academic mission and values.’Katehi said.”

    Your homework assignment assignment for this weekend: Translate this sentence into English.

    One thing for sure, it loudly proclaims that Meyer–and the functions left under his supervision–are NOT considered aligned with what Katehi views as UCD’s “core academic mission and values.” Not exactly cleaning house, but certainly sending a message.

  3. JustSaying

    “‘This transfer will ensure that, going forward, the department will be closely aligned with our core academic mission and values.’Katehi said.”

    Your homework assignment assignment for this weekend: Translate this sentence into English.

    One thing for sure, it loudly proclaims that Meyer–and the functions left under his supervision–are NOT considered aligned with what Katehi views as UCD’s “core academic mission and values.” Not exactly cleaning house, but certainly sending a message.

  4. Problem Is

    [quote][i]”Your homework assignment assignment for this weekend: Translate this sentence into English.” [/i][/quote]

    A UCD professor and my former academic advisor used to say:

    [quote][i]”Administrators always speak in tautologies.”[/i][/quote]

    [b]Tautology (Math & Logic):[/b] A statement that is always true regardless of the truth value of its components.

    [b]Tautology (Rhetoric):[/b] An unnecessary repetition of meaning, using dissimilar words that effectively say the same thing.

    [quote][i]”This transfer will ensure that, going forward, the department will be closely aligned with our core academic mission and values.”
    [b][i]Chancellor Linda P.B. “Chemical” Katehi[/i][/b][/i][/quote]

    [b]Katehi-ism[/b] A statement designed to both inform and miss inform without saying anything of substance. See: Tautology.

    My professor was correct again…

    It makes you miss Theodore “$300k Office Decoration” Hullar and “Good Ole” Larry Vanderhoef…

    I shall now work on JustSaying’s assignment for Picnic Day… May the “Heat Wave ’12” be with you Picnic Day goers…

  5. Problem Is

    [quote][i]”Your homework assignment assignment for this weekend: Translate this sentence into English.” [/i][/quote]

    A UCD professor and my former academic advisor used to say:

    [quote][i]”Administrators always speak in tautologies.”[/i][/quote]

    [b]Tautology (Math & Logic):[/b] A statement that is always true regardless of the truth value of its components.

    [b]Tautology (Rhetoric):[/b] An unnecessary repetition of meaning, using dissimilar words that effectively say the same thing.

    [quote][i]”This transfer will ensure that, going forward, the department will be closely aligned with our core academic mission and values.”
    [b][i]Chancellor Linda P.B. “Chemical” Katehi[/i][/b][/i][/quote]

    [b]Katehi-ism[/b] A statement designed to both inform and miss inform without saying anything of substance. See: Tautology.

    My professor was correct again…

    It makes you miss Theodore “$300k Office Decoration” Hullar and “Good Ole” Larry Vanderhoef…

    I shall now work on JustSaying’s assignment for Picnic Day… May the “Heat Wave ’12” be with you Picnic Day goers…

  6. David M. Greenwald

    “One thing for sure, it loudly proclaims that Meyer–and the functions left under his supervision–are NOT considered aligned with what Katehi views as UCD’s “core academic mission and values.” Not exactly cleaning house, but certainly sending a message. “

    It certainly seems that way. Not sure they are doing much more than reacting at this point and hoping for the best.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    “One thing for sure, it loudly proclaims that Meyer–and the functions left under his supervision–are NOT considered aligned with what Katehi views as UCD’s “core academic mission and values.” Not exactly cleaning house, but certainly sending a message. “

    It certainly seems that way. Not sure they are doing much more than reacting at this point and hoping for the best.

  8. jrberg

    I’m a bit disappointed to see “degreeism” pop up in this forum. I know Matt Carmichael, and despite his lack of formal degrees, I think he is fully capable of doing the job he has been given. But even if I didn’t know him, I still feel that in many cases degrees are overrated.

    Whether or not I have an advanced degree, I could still do the job I’ve been doing successfully because of experience, not education. By and large, I am self educated. I know many other people who are also successful and effective in spite of their degrees or lack of degrees. I also know many people with degrees, including PhDs, who are incompetent.

    People, not degrees, get things done.

  9. jrberg

    I’m a bit disappointed to see “degreeism” pop up in this forum. I know Matt Carmichael, and despite his lack of formal degrees, I think he is fully capable of doing the job he has been given. But even if I didn’t know him, I still feel that in many cases degrees are overrated.

    Whether or not I have an advanced degree, I could still do the job I’ve been doing successfully because of experience, not education. By and large, I am self educated. I know many other people who are also successful and effective in spite of their degrees or lack of degrees. I also know many people with degrees, including PhDs, who are incompetent.

    People, not degrees, get things done.

  10. eagle eye

    Ditto jrberg –
    Often, police have BA’s in very soft fields from schools that aren’t that rigorous, and they don’t turn out to be good officers.
    Police are often hired, in many agencies, simply because they have a relative on the force. That’s not good either.
    On the surface, Carmichael sounds intelligent and thoughtful and well schooled in law enforcement.

  11. eagle eye

    Ditto jrberg –
    Often, police have BA’s in very soft fields from schools that aren’t that rigorous, and they don’t turn out to be good officers.
    Police are often hired, in many agencies, simply because they have a relative on the force. That’s not good either.
    On the surface, Carmichael sounds intelligent and thoughtful and well schooled in law enforcement.

  12. Aggie Vet

    If you want some hilarious reading, pull Lt. Carmichael’s testimony from the Brie Holmes trial. IntellIgent and thoughtful is not what come across.

    Let’s also not forget that he was the on-site commander during the Mrak 52 arrests in Nov. 2009. An operation largely described as a total blunder and media fiasco.

    Perhaps Katehi is correct, maybe he does subscribe to the “core values” and “professionalism” that have come to represent UC Davis.

  13. Aggie Vet

    If you want some hilarious reading, pull Lt. Carmichael’s testimony from the Brie Holmes trial. IntellIgent and thoughtful is not what come across.

    Let’s also not forget that he was the on-site commander during the Mrak 52 arrests in Nov. 2009. An operation largely described as a total blunder and media fiasco.

    Perhaps Katehi is correct, maybe he does subscribe to the “core values” and “professionalism” that have come to represent UC Davis.

  14. SODA

    Seems strange that any current UCD PD member would be appointed since the report implied a dysfunctional depr. I would think they would want to go outside for a fresh rebuilding and setting of new culture. He was part of the old.

  15. SODA

    Seems strange that any current UCD PD member would be appointed since the report implied a dysfunctional depr. I would think they would want to go outside for a fresh rebuilding and setting of new culture. He was part of the old.

  16. eagle eye

    Thanks, Aggie Vet, for the history on Lt./Chief C ~~

    One can only wonder how many skeletons are in the closet at UCD PD,
    whether an outsider could make much headway, and whether an outsider
    would even want to take on the job with Katehi at the helm.

  17. eagle eye

    Thanks, Aggie Vet, for the history on Lt./Chief C ~~

    One can only wonder how many skeletons are in the closet at UCD PD,
    whether an outsider could make much headway, and whether an outsider
    would even want to take on the job with Katehi at the helm.

  18. David M. Greenwald

    The problem JRBERG is that there is a reason many departments require degrees, and I get struck when I interview some of these chiefs in either fire or police and their understanding of the world outside of their field is very limited. When you are at a university setting, it is important to be able to understand where your charges are coming from and when you don’t no only might you misconstrue their position, you might react the wrong way. Technical law enforcement knowledge and experience is good, but a broader education base I think is important and so do a lot of other departments that require a BS if not an MS to be chief.

  19. David M. Greenwald

    The problem JRBERG is that there is a reason many departments require degrees, and I get struck when I interview some of these chiefs in either fire or police and their understanding of the world outside of their field is very limited. When you are at a university setting, it is important to be able to understand where your charges are coming from and when you don’t no only might you misconstrue their position, you might react the wrong way. Technical law enforcement knowledge and experience is good, but a broader education base I think is important and so do a lot of other departments that require a BS if not an MS to be chief.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    “This seems like a self-serving claim by the alleged criminal and his supporters. Why does the Vanguard report it as if it was a fact? Has a doctor’s report been entered into evidence? Does dmg have expertise in evaluating nerve damage?”

    I have no reason to doubt it. How is it any different than reporting on the condition of victims of crime – sometimes those prove to be self-serving and inaccurate as well.

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