By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – Trevor Edens had a 17-year law enforcement career with Davis Police, where he headed up YONET (Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team). It all came crashing down on him over embezzling $1040 from his department.
On Wednesday he took a misdemeanor plea ending up with 45 days in jail—which he will undoubted serve in some sort of alternative program—and one year of informal probation.
They did get a search clause on that with Solano County prosecutor Paul Sequeira, whose office came in after the Yolo County DA conflicted itself out, arguing, “The defendant embezzled public monies. I think given these proclivities he can do well to have a search clause for the next year.”
Judge Dave Reed granted that.
For those who think this is a slap on the wrist and another example of a police officer getting off light and white collar crime being prosecuting more lightly than other forms of property crime, they are of course right.
But there is another level to this. This was simply not the crime of the century. In fact just opposite. To say that he threw away his career over $1040 actually understates just how dumb this all was.
Chief Darren Pytel was unable to give the details until the case resolved—as he put it, “It’s not really sexy to be honest.”
Trevor Edens was in charge of YONET. Several agents believed he was having an inappropriate relationship with somebody, based on his position. Davis Police was in charge of YONET at the time, and they put Edens on administrative leave while they investigated him. (He ended up being cleared on that charge).
Because there was a supervisory switch, the DPD did a full audit of money in a safe that the sergeant in charge of YONET is in charge of. The morning that they did the admin leave, they did an audit and discovered that money was missing from the safe.
Edens, shortly thereafter, contacted an agent to put money back into the safe.
“That information was immediately provided to our administrative team,” Pytel said. “Based on that we contacted the DA’s office and asked them to do a criminal investigation.”
Based on that investigation, the DA’s office conflicted out, sent it to Solano County and they did the criminal prosecution.
What the Vanguard has learned through a number of sources is that what happened here is that Edens used the $1040 to give himself a personal loan to give to his girlfriend at the time—at this point he was married as well.
His intent was apparently to take the money and then replace it the next day when he got paid—even though there was no way to actually take the money without it coming up in the next audit, which was routinely done on a monthly basis.
This is really incredibly stupid behavior by a cop who was in charge of YONET, the agency at that time in charge of making drug busts and enforcing drug trafficking in Yolo County. An agency that had often come under fire because of charges of corruption, use-of-force complaints and heavy-handed tactics.
While far from the crime of the century, in a way this embodies a lot that is wrong with the system.
On one level, you have sheer stupidity on the part of a cop who was put in charge of YONET. This is a guy who many sympathized with when he was involved in a very serious motorcycle accident a decade ago, who behaved recklessly in his personal life and turned that into criminal behavior that ultimately ended his law enforcement career.
What does it say for the law enforcement community, not only that this guy had been given high levels of responsibility and not only broke the laws that he was sworn to enforce but did so in such a brazen and ultimately stupid manner and in a way that really had no upside for him?
But this illustrates something else—this is the conduct that ends up getting police in trouble. This DA has in his time as head DA prosecuted two active duty cops—one in West Sacramento for sexually assaulting multiple women while using his uniform to access them, and now the other for temporarily taking $1040.
Meanwhile, the DA has declined to prosecute the cops that brutally beat the Galvan brothers (instead, he took the victims to trial three times); the officers who killed Luis Gutierrez—one of whom is now the undersheriff; the officer who threw a protestor on a car; the officer who pepper sprayed peaceful protestors, and many more.
Don’t get me wrong, the conduct by Trevor Edens was illegal and immoral and he has no business being a cop anymore. But as dumb as that conduct was, we have a system that looks the other way at all sorts of use of force and use of deadly force cases that needlessly resulted in the loss of life or great bodily injury of members of the public, and the DA does nothing.
And again, what does it say that this guy was put in charge of YONET to begin with? It simply once again embodies the problems that the now thankfully defunct organization had from beginning. But again, of all the problems we have heard over the years, this petty crime is the most that has come out of it—while much more egregious actions have long since been swept under the rug.
So, while it is good to see a slight measure of justice served here and good to know that officers like Trevor Edens will no longer have the color of authority to inflict additional damage, we are left with a system that so often fails to deliver.
—David M. Greenwald reporting
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