Annette Spicuzza
Former Chief of Police, UC Davis Police Department

Annette M. Spicuzza, who took office on May 16, 2005, is the first woman to be permanently appointed to Chief of the UC Davis Police Department. She is now infamous for her role in the circumstances surrounding the police brutality against peaceful protesters on the UC Davis Campus on November 18, 2011, namely, for falsely telling the media that the police had been trapped by those who were occupying the quad and for failing to exert control over her officers.

Her career included more than 20 years in law enforcement for Chicago, Illinois and in Washington State for the cities of Federal Way and Kennewick. Prior to her employment at UC Davis, she was assistant police chief at the University of Washington in Seattle. She also was an educator at the Washington State Police Academy and Pierce Country Community College. A cached copy of her former linkedin profile is available here: linkedin-as-of-nov-21-2011.pdf

While employed at UC Davis, Spicuzza played a prominent role in the pepper spraying event that occurred on November 18, 2011. The Chancellor of UC Davis, Linda Katehi, following the advice of her team of administration leaders, ordered the police to remove a group of protesters loosely associated with the Occupy movement from the campus quad. In response, Spicuzza sent a team of officers to disperse the protestors from the area. Responding police officers, after asking protestors to leave, pepper sprayed a number of students who remained on-site in continued protest. The action was caught on video, sparking widespread national outcry in the weeks to follow.

After the incident, Spicuzza claimed that her police officers were trapped by those who were occupying the quad, despite video footage that showed one of the officers easily escorting prisoners to waiting police cars and another officer calmly stepping over the seated students. The Reynoso Report, an investigative report commissioned by University of California after the incident, portrayed her as a weak leader who tolerated insubordination. The report was also critical of Chancellor Linda Katehi who made the decision to send in the police, thereby forcing Spicuzza to act on that day. Following the incident, Spicuzza was placed on administrative leave on Monday, November 21, 2011 by Katehi pending a review of this incident. She resigned in April 2012 after the Reynoso report was published.

Spicuzza to her department on the events of November 18: "I wanted you to know, for those who weren’t involved, that our officers showed great restraint, professionalism and respect for all involved. [...] I wanted to thank those involved for their work, all of their effort, and dedication. I am proud of all you do. Thank you."

On April 3, 2013, the mayor of the troubled city of Pacific, Washington announced Spicuzza as his choice for the interim Public Safety Director citing her experience in law enforcement as the primary criteria for selecting her for the position. The mayor stated "The way I think is like this: a man's past, or a woman's past, whatever happened, I overlook that. I talk to them and get my opinion of their character. Once I have the opinion, I have the knowledge of the feeling to either reject or approve. "When I talked to her, she gave me the impression she’s a highly ethical person with great integrity. And she has the spunk to do what I need her to do, which is taking over the police department. I don't care where she’s been or what happened before." King 5 News, Enterprise

On April 5, 2013, Spicuzza decided not to accept the position. Spicuzza announced "Mayor Sun reached out to me and sought my provisional appointment to maintain leadership and ensure delivery of public safety services to the citizens of Pacific, during the investigation period. The issues at the City of Pacific are deep seeded. As as result, it has prevented my appointment and assistance to the Police Department. I wish the City of Pacific and its citizens all the best." NWCN


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2011-11-21 20:40:02   One day, top of the world in a cushy job. The next, under the bus with all four wheels crushing your back. Must suck to be you right now. Of course, it would have helped your cause if your lie wasn't broadcast over national news.—JimStewart

2011-12-22 23:53:52   Having worked with Chief Spicuzza in the in past, I can say that she came off to me as a very competent and friendly person. She also was very happy and eager to work with students, which not all of the previous descriptors can be applied to most police officers, in my opinion. I also feel that this view is shared with many of my friends and colleagues who have worked with her in ASUCD and elsewhere.

That being said, her comments regarding the Nov. 18th incident and the fact that she is responsible for the police department's actions stand by themselves. It seems regrettable, but I don't see how she can continue to lead the UCD Police Force. Goes to show how one black mark can destroy an otherwise good reputation. —DylanSchaefer