My View: Former Davis Police Officer’s Embezzlement Case Is the Most Stupid Crime of the Century So Far (Opinion)

Davis Police Car

Davis Police Car

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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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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18 Comments

  1. Alan Miller

    ‘not sexy’ pretty much sums up this fumble & bumble.  Never have been a fan of the YONET, and wish they’d never been housed in DPD.

  2. Sharla Cheney

    I stopped being a fan of YONET after they raided a known grow house in my North Davis neighborhood of townhouses, took all the cash that was available, but left the operation of 50+ mature plants running.  We had no recourse other than civil action against the landlord to get the tenants to move.  It took nearly six months and a formal eviction, where they stopped paying rent. There was a dog left in the unit to guard the place that was never taken outside the unit, fights at the unit with children involved, sales to underaged customers coming over from Davis High School, and the smell of marijuana wafting into neighboring units with common walls.  All calls to the police were referred to YONET that didn’t respond after that initial raid.   If this guy was in charge, then I have no trust and I’m glad he’s no longer part of the department.  I’m assured he got caught for something that was the tiny tip of the iceberg.

    1. Joseph Wisgirda

      By the way, they sell that stuff downtown now. In several locations I hear. It’s sanctioned by the city. And that’s just the tiny tip of the iceberg.

      Don’t you know that drug cops are out to serve and protect their task forces and pensions? And not their communities?

      “But I tried to help you out by giving you a ride across the river. Why did you sting me?” asked the Fox.

      “Because ….. it’s in my nature” replied the Scorpion.

       

  3. Bill Marshall

    17 years w/DPD… so, minimum of 51% of final salary in retirement, + full PERB…

    No mention in Emptyprize, or here, of ‘restitution’… I’d think it should have been at least treble damages for the theft, and FULL costs for investigation, prosecution, judgement, and ALL costs of monitoring on ‘parole’… the $$$ was de minimus… the breach of ethics, sworn duty, is humungous…

    To modify the old TV phrase, “Throw the WHOLE book at him, Danno”…

    The full financial ‘book’ has not been put in play… yet the Emptyprize and VG do not make ANY reference to “restitution” for the public costs associated with this jerk’s behavior… whatever…

    1. Bill Marshall

      Not likely (losing pension or PERB), due to state and federal law precedents… but no reason he should not pay full restitution (all costs, not just the $1,040) from that, even over a 5-10-15 year period…

    1. David Greenwald

      This is no provision in California for decertification – which is why we have been covering the legislative efforts to create one.

  4. Naomi Ed

    There’s a lot more to this case then what’s being said, I don’t know why but they let him off easier then he deserved. I don’t know if Davis was down playing it to hopefully stay out of the news or what. He was put on admin leave because there were allegations he was having a affair with a informant. I’m not sure if it was a informant, but he did meet her on a search warrant and sent her boyfriend to prison and started dating her. He had multiple affairs all of them he had some kind of contact with on the job. He also was manipulating his time card and saying he was working when he wasn’t and collecting overtime. He was using his work car for personal use and having sex in it. He also was borrowing money more then this one time. He had been doing this kind of things for years from the office slush fund and buy monies. He also got charges dropped because of who he knew for his girlfriends friends. He looked people up for her so he was violating clets. There is probably money missing they don’t even know about.

    1. Alan Miller

      The Vanguard doesn’t believe in publishing mug shots because the person may not be guilty; in most cases I’d agree with that.  (Had it happen to a friend – it wasn’t cool – he was later released with no charges filed).

      Is the sharing of un-confirmed juicy gossip against a guilty person similar?  I mean the person is guilty of the crime, but are they guilty of the allegations made here?  Maybe so, maybe not – but should that be broadcast here?  Those sorts of things spread around can be as damaging as jail time in some circles.

      1. David Greenwald

        You raise some interesting issues here Alan Miller. I can tell you that I was provided a lot of these things with some supporting documentation from various sources. Ultimately, Edens took a plea agreement, got off with a slap on the wrist and destruction of his career. It’s kind of the way the system works for white collar crime.

          1. David Greenwald

            I was trying to say that I saw enough to believe there is some there – there, but decided not to pursue it for a variety of reasons.

  5. Naomi Ed

    As for his benefits, as far as I know he didn’t get to keep them. He does keep his calpers, but his ex wife who got screwed over gets half of that and his ghetto girlfriend he lost everything for gets the other half. Lol so rest assured he isn’t sitting pretty. He choose the dark side over the good and karma will bite him on the butt trust me.

    1. Bill Marshall

      He does keep his calpers, but his ex wife who got screwed over gets half of that and his ghetto girlfriend he lost everything for gets the other half.

      Entitled, maybe… but a) he’d have to retire and take benefits… b) usually can have only one ‘beneficiary’, unless a Court judges otherwise, so I suspect the ex-spouse might well prevail, as to half… would not be surprised if a girlfriend (unless a ‘domestic partner’) would be SOL…

      In any event, I don’t care much… as long as he makes full restitution, with interest, for the theft, and also for all legal fees incurred by Yolo County in prosecuting him, and any and all incarceration/parole costs… the public should not be paying one cent for his actions, or the consequences…

  6. Bill Marshall

    So, is Naomi Ed = Naomi Edens?  That would explain adjectives used in the postsand general tone.  Will assume not, as VG policy is to use ‘true names’…

    I can tell you that I was provided a lot of these things with some supporting documentation from various sources. Ultimately, Edens took a plea agreement, got off with a slap on the wrist and destruction of his career. It’s kind of the way the system works for white collar crime. [except a large part of the focus has been not just while collar, but “blue collar’ (PD officer) crime…]

    I saw enough to believe there is some there – there, but decided not to pursue it for a variety of reasons.

    I’ll hazard a guess… confidentiality… and it helps forward a negative image for PD employees, and institutions like the DA’s office… I cite:

    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.

    what does it say that this guy was put in charge of YONET to begin with?

    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.

    Note that it was not Yolo Co DA, but Solano Co DA who investigated and prosecuted… by your own account…

    “Based on that investigation, the DA’s office conflicted out, sent it to Solano County and they did the criminal prosecution.”

    Whatever…

     

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