On Wednesday, the Vanguard reported that a letter, reading like a national form letter, had been sent out to members of the community seeking to raise funds for the local Davis Police Officers’ Association, referencing “the unprecedented wave of violence against our fellow officers in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and especially the execution murder of a Texas Sheriff’s deputy.”
As it turns out, the letter was unauthorized by the local POA and even got the name of the current president wrong.
In a letter from Sean Bellamy, the President of the Davis Police Officers’ Association, he said, “Regrettably, this mailer was sent out without the DPOA’s knowledge or approval. The content of the letter was not authorized by the DPOA and does not represent the viewpoint of the DPOA or a majority of its members. “
As he explained, “For several years the DPOA contracted with a company to send out mailers on behalf of the DPOA asking for donations. The DPOA would in turn distribute the donations to local charities and charitable causes throughout the community.”
A few years ago, the DPOA “suspended those mailers and no longer engage in that type of fundraising activity.” He called it a clerical error by the company producing the mailers that placed the DPOA back on their active distribution list.
Officer Bellamy explained, “That error caused the most recent mailer to be sent out without the DPOA’s knowledge or approval. The DPOA contacted the company immediately after learning of the unauthorized mailer and has ensured that this type of mistake will not occur again.”
As the Vanguard noted in its initial story, “The letter reads like a national form letter that does not specifically reference Davis Police activities. And, while controversies have struck elsewhere, the community and the Davis Police have worked well together to avoid these kinds of national controversies.”
The letter noted, “Today as I ask for your continued support of our community mission, we are mindful of the unprecedented wave of violence against our fellow officers in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and especially the execution murder of a Texas Sheriff’s deputy. Combined with the double punch of California’s AB 109 (early release of some prisoners) and Prop 47 (making most property crimes, theft and non-violent drug crimes a misdemeanor) your future support is more critical than ever.”
The letter comes to light at the same time the Davis City Council voted to approve a three percent COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustment) to the DPOA, along with other bargaining units, in part because the DPOA has played ball and accepted concessions in the past. It comes at a time when the council may be looking at ways to add patrol officers and to make the department positions more attractive to new recruits.
It also comes at a time when many have been working with the Davis Police on ways to make the Davis Downtown safer for residents to enjoy the late night scene, as well coming on the heels of an agreement for an alternative conflict resolution process (ACR) and a discussion on the implementation of police body cameras.
According to the DPOA, any donations received in response to the mailer will be given to local charities.
Officer Bellamy added, “The intent of this letter is to clear up any confusion and assuage any concern about the mailer. The DPOA sincerely values its overall positive image and relationship with the Davis community and desires to maintain open lines of communication with the community at large.”
“I would like to thank the City of Davis and its residents for their ongoing support of the first responders who serve the community,” Officer Sean Bellamy wrote.
He added, “Having lived and worked in this community for years, I have seen first-hand the tremendous support shown by those who live, study and work here for their local law enforcement officers. The DPOA greatly appreciates that support and has continually attempted to strengthen its relationship with the entire community through open communications with civic leaders and ordinary citizens.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting