The City Council is debating the best way to improve oversight of the Davis Police Department. The Human Relations Commission proposed an Independent Review Board, similar to the one found in Berkeley, California. The City received the HRC proposal and passed by a 5-0 vote the establishment of an independent ombudsman model instead and initiatives to facilitate appropriate oversight, increased responsiveness, and positive interactions between the police and the community. A citizens group, CAROLE or Community Advocating for Responsible Oversight of Law Enforcement, is still pushing for a larger review board. On March 8th, 2006 150 students marched to City Hall to protest the defeat of the review board and the suggestion of the ombudsman. On November 21st, 2005 UC Davis admintrators and faculty unveiled an informal report on racial profiling, the report concluded with a suggestion that the City adopt a review board.

Proposed Davis Civilian Review Board Model:

  • Paid investigator with subpoena power
  • Five citizen members appointed, each council member gets 1 appointment
  • Two at large members
  • Two year terms for the members
  • Citizens hear complaints and order investigations when needed; Investigator is only one allowed access to confidential records and files.
  • Investigator investigates
  • No officer or employee of the City shall be appointed to the Commission.
  • All meetings shall be open to the public, unless the Commission, in order to protect the rights and privacy of individuals, decides otherwise and if such closed meeting is not waived by the individual concerned.
  • All Commission meetings, and agendas for such meetings shall adhere to the Brown act regulations for public meetings and notify the public as in the case of all other public meetings in the city of Davis.
  • The Commission makes no sanctions only releases findings of fact; the Police Department Discipline Structure will determine appropriate action
  • Police officers are allowed review by an administrative law judge and other legal avenues

Editorial: City Council offers ineffective solution

Racial profiling in Davis Posted: 3/14/06 in The California Aggie Though the city of Davis prides itself on being a diverse and accepting community, numerous incidents over the past few years have revealed a racial profiling problem in the town. The City Council took a step to address and alleviate the issue on Feb. 21 when it approved a police oversight committee that would look into controversial racial profiling cases. However, the council's efforts were embarrassingly flaccid.

While the council approved the examination, it significantly cut the number of members from 11 to a single paid ombudsman. The committee supporters optimistically proposed a high number of members, hoping that they and the City Council could come to a compromise. Decreasing the group to six or seven members would have been a viable option, but by cutting it to just one person, the council diminishes the severity of racial profiling.

The City Council also needs to make sure it is looking at the right issue. Mayor Pro Tempore Sue Greenwald said the formation of the committee was about helping ethnic minorities feel comfortable in Davis. The problem, however, is that city officials are condoning the illegal practice of racial profiling by not taking meaningful action.

Furthermore, the City Council must treat the issue as one that is affecting the entire city, not just students. About 150 students and some professors showed up at the last meeting to protest the large cut the council made to the proposed committee. While students have been some of the more vocal and visible victims of racial profiling, they are certainly not the only ones.

The city's goal should be to do all that it can to rectify the issue of racial profiling. But its actions regarding the new committee only show that the council is treating a shameful problem too lightly.

Alternative Models of Independent Civilian Oversight passed by Davis City Council

The Davis City Council endorsed the following initiatives to facilitate appropriate oversight, increased responsiveness, and positive interactions between the police and the community they serve, all while maintaining the highest level of public safety for our citizens.

  1. Create ombudsman position. Develop, as part of the 2006 budget development process, the concept and funding requirements for an Ombudsman position to facilitate citizen complaints for all city programs and departments.

  2. Analyze police encounter data. Conduct a detailed analysis of police encounter data (stops and arrests) to clearly assess the potential for any disparate treatment, with a report of the results presented to the City Council in six months or less.

  3. Review citizen complaint process. Direct the Interim City Manager to work with a Police Advisory Committee of three experts to review the existing citizen complaint process, including thoroughness of investigations and appropriateness of personnel dispositions and report to the Council in six months or less.

  4. Comprehensive oversight and advisory initiative including:

  5. Three-person Police Advisory Committee to review police processes, address complaints, address investigation procedures, etc.

  6. Davis Police Community Advisory Board to provide input and feedback to the Police Department. The CAB has met three times and consists of 16 individuals representing a broad cross section of the community.

  7. Training for officers. This Inclusion Training will address understanding and appreciation of people with different views and belief systems.

  8. Accreditation for the Police Department through the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). This is a comprehensive voluntary national accreditation program involving professionally recognized criteria for excellence in police management and service, including community relations.

  9. Comprehensive Annual Report by the Police Department to the City Council

  10. Increase use of technology for public safety. Examples include the installation of in-car cameras to record interactions officers have with citizens during stops, the use of "red-light" cameras at major intersections in town, and a development of a new public safety radio system to improve field communication .

  11. Police-Student Relations Sub-Committee. This body meets on an ongoing basis to address any concerns involving interactions between the Davis Police Department, the UCD Police Department and UCD students. The group has been working on preparations for a safe Picnic Day and other activities.

[The History and Development of the Public Sector Ombudsman Office]

Links to other web pages on the Independent Civilian Review model

Here are the Models of the Cities of San Jose and Boise Idaho that Councilmember Stephen Souza is proposing for Davis' Independent Ombudsman

Per the Irish ombudsman model that Steve Souza cites:

Calls for reform of the police complaints and discipline process have focused on the need for greater independence as a means to increase public confidence and police accountability. This paper addresses key reforms and draws upon empirical research to discuss the experiences of complainants. The trend among complainants indicated a perceived lack of objectivity, independence and a concern regarding the 'police investigating the police.' The government proposal of a new independent system (IPCC) in 2000 offered a new possibility for greater police accountability. This is an article from British Library Direct, a new service that allows you to search across 20,000 journals for free and order full text using your credit card.

Article title: Is Independence the Only Answer to Complainants' Satisfaction of the Police Complaints Process? A Perspective from the United Kingdom Author: Strudwick, K. Journal title: POLICE PRACTICE AND RESEARCH Bibliographic details 2003, VOL 4; ISSU 1, pages 35-46 Publisher: ROUTLEDGE TAYLOR AND FRANCIS GROUP


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2006-03-30 14:18:52   The CITIZENS ADVISORY BOARD is not a solution to an independent review board. I've heard that they just listen to the chief provide reports they don't review complaints. I know some of these people...they are nice, but they are hand picked by the chief. It's so arrogant for council to not address this issue in an honest and meaningful way. If there's nothing to hide then what's the problem? —MichelleStanley

2006-03-30 14:19:38   Key point on the ombudsman: "Create ombudsman position. Develop, as part of the 2006 budget development process, the concept and funding requirements for an Ombudsman position to facilitate citizen complaints for all city programs and departments."—for all city programs and departments. That's just absurd. It's certainly not independent eyes. It's certain a position that is not going to have the resources or impetus to thoroughly investigate complaints. —CaroleDavis

2006-03-30 14:20:09   Why is it that everybody...including other cities...i.e. Sacramento & San Francisco but not our council. Time for a change. —MichelleStanley

2006-03-30 14:26:57   Community Ombudsman for the City of Boise in Idaho

2006-03-30 14:31:07   I think the board should have a former prosecutor and a former defense attorney. That could help provided an independent check and balance as to whether things the dept does are illegal or not. As far as community representation, I don't know whether community members would have the expertise to really say more than whether something seems shady. If this proposal is to go anywhere, it should guarantee that the body has expertise to discern whether or not something comports with the spirit and letter of the law. —JaimeRaba

2006-03-30 14:38:26   Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland: independent impartial investigation of complaints against the police.

2006-03-30 14:40:20   Jaime: How could they do any worse than the current process? The City Council thoroughly examined the Buzayan case and found nothing to it. What are they looking at it through? Who is doing the investigations? —CaroleDavis

2006-03-30 14:41:01   That's impressive Steve, Northern Ireland. —CaroleDavis

2006-03-30 14:53:14   As it stands right now, Ombudsman sounds smarter because it's something with built-in credentials. I think if there are problems of racism within a comunity, you run the risk of replicating those problems in a committee when you take a cross-section of that community. The application of the law is certainly a major issue here, so I hope that any thrusts for independent oversight keep these ideas in mind. —JaimeRaba

2006-03-30 14:57:08   The Citizen Review Board would have a paid investigator with subpoena power and it would have a group of the public who would serve on the board for a two year term. The idea size of that board would probably be 5 to 7 people. The problem with the ombudsman is that they would still answer to the city manager and city council, and these guys have shown that they are not independent. They completely blew the investigation of cases such as the Buzayan case and that's going to cost the city of Davis and its taxpayers quite a bit. —CaroleDavis

2006-03-30 16:10:26   Just so we are crystal clear, this is how Police Officers accused of wrongdoing are treated in Davis: Page A9 of the Davis Enterprise shows a picture of Jim Hyde congratulating Pheng Ly who received the David PD's Officer of the Year award on Tuesday. Ly is the cop being implicated in Buzayan case. —DavidGreenwald

2006-03-30 16:40:50   This is the kind of oversight we get in Davis—officer accused, officer awarded with the department officer of the year. Defend that Mr. Souza! —CaroleDavis

What happened to innocent until proven guilty CAROLE. Okay for Halema, not for Officer Ly. As usual you are all double standard. — NatKarst

2006-03-30 19:45:58   A police review board is not an end-all solution. It will not change resident-police interactions overnight. A multi-pronged solution will see results. The steps outlined by the Davis PD and City Manager (above) will need time to implement and to evaluate. The idea of an independent police review board should not be championed at the expense of thinking of new and better ways to address conflict between community residents and the police department. If the time comes after the steps outlined by the DPD and City Manager have been tried and found unsuccessful, then we can look to more drastic solutions. I am definitely in favor of people working collaboratively together to address issues. In my interactions with Lt. Pytel and Sgt. Doroshov of the Davis PD in the Police-Student Relations Sub-Committee, they have been willing to listen, discuss, and have shown much respect to committee members.


2006-03-30 20:36:46   None of the people on the advisory board can speak to the interaction between DPD and Davis youth (14-18 year olds). —SharlaDaly

  • Marsha Ludwig is the Student Services Director for the School District. She works hand in hand with the Police Department and the Yolo County Probation Department in providing information that is ultimately used against kids in Court. Her office is used as an investigative arm of Probation Department and the Yolo County DA. She should definitely not be on the Citizen's Advisory Board to the Police Department. Again, here is an example of the "fox guarding the hen house" mentality that is going on. - SharlaDaly

I do not trust, Hyde, Pierce, Pytel and Dorschov....Over the summer Ken Wagstaff (former Mayor), Paul Goldstene (Sac State Law Professor) and myself met with them and a few of their staff over the summer to discuss Halema's case. They told us the matter was out of their hands because the victim wanted to prosecute Halema. Well, as fate have it, the victim is my boss at the Women's Center. She never wanted the girl to be prosecuted nor was she ever contacted to endorse prosecution. The chief, the captain and his top to officers lied and the City Council supports them without question. I do not trust any solutions proposed by the police; you don't ask the fox to come up with a plan about staying away from the hen house. A police review board is not a drastic solution. It is a solution in hundreds of major US cities. What is drastic is a city council and police chief passing reforms that they came up with without any community input. An ombudsman is a true figurehead, all show and no power. Why not try the review board first then an ombudsman? What is "a multi-pronged solution" a euphemism for? It is a euphemism for a solution created by the very people the complaints are being lodged against, the police and the city manager who oversees them. And what will be deemed unsuccessful for the Ombudsman model? A larger stigma as Davis being a racist town? A real injury to a student? A highschool student being falsley put in jail as a gang member? Females living in a sorority house being raped or inured because the police took 20 minutes to an hour to respond? A student being disfigured because an officer misused a "non-lethal" weapon? Wait that has occurred, his name is Lucas and he has a lawsuit against the city(He spoke at city council meetng about it). How costly will it become, the Buzayan lawsuit.....the "private investigation" to deem Dean Johansson's complaint unfounded or the money spent trying to prosecute Dean's speeding ticket which was thrown out by a judge who did not believe the officer? How much will these lawsuits cost the city, monetarily and reputation-wise? As you can read on the Police Misconduct Stories page, minority students and adults have been protesting bad police practices since atleast 1989... I think its time for REAL change, not change simply to save face and recover from bad PR.—JamesSchwab

2006-03-30 21:52:26   Halema will attend UC Davis in the fall. —CaroleDavis

2006-03-30 21:53:35   Starngely, even with people from UCD telling her to go to another school, Halema wants to attend UCD. —JimSchwab

2006-03-30 22:00:08   The thing is, people say give this a chance—the problem is that the people we are supposed to give a chance to, are part of the problem. Pytel messed up the Buzayan investigation. The city manager perpetuated that. Bill Emlen is not a guy who is going rock the boat, that much is clear. Jim Hyde is a problem and complicit in this. The city council supposedly reviewed the Buzayan case, but you have to wonder exactly what that means. Did they listen to the surveillance? If they did, it would be hard to believe that they could arrive at the conclusions that they did. If they did not, then that's part of the problem as well. I have no confidence in any procedure that doesn't have eyes outside of the chain of command that can provide a check and a balance. Basic principles of the American system. —CaroleDavis

2006-03-30 22:21:20   We need more than one solution to address resident-police conflicts. A police review board may be able to show incidents that need Davis PD officer disciplinary action; brought forth in a public setting. What are the other outcomes of a police review board? I do not see a police review board fixing the stigma of Davis as racist, answering questions around constitutionality of gang validation, or improving police response time. —StevenWorker

  • Because it will give the reality and perception that something is actually being done to solve these issues. There will be a public, transparent process for these grievances to be aired. Currently, there is no place for a citizen to go to air their grievances with any assurance their grievance will be taken seriously. The City Council, City Managaer, and Chief of Police have not shown ONE OUNCE of concern. They deny that any sort of problem exists. Those problems will be solved if an open, honest forum is created for such discussion. An ombudsman will not create an open forum. The citizens advisory committee is only composed of people who the city council feels will echo their own beliefs. And again how can we trust a solution from the very people who are creating the problem? -JimSchwab

2006-03-30 22:23:48   You are absolutely right Steven Worker—we do need more than one solution. But that solution is new leadership from the PD to the DA. Climate starts from leadership—the City Manager present interim and past has no leadership. The police chief has no leadership. The city council and city manager are acting as advocates defending the police department as opposed to oversight. And the DA's office is complicit by expending scarce resources on misdemeanor hit and run crimes that have been civally resolved. That is what the problem is. So you are correct—the civilian review board will not solve those problems. The civilian review board will enable citizens to have a place to air their complaints that will encourage them to come for rather than berate and insult them. —CaroleDavis

2006-03-30 22:51:25   Steve Souza: perhaps you can explain to us how some of these links are relevent or helpful. Particularly the Northern Ireland one that mentions a tribunal? —CaroleDavis

2006-03-30 23:47:54   Steve Souza's research is clearly lacking. We did a simple search of the Irish ombudsman model and wouldn't you know it suffers from the same problems we are dealing with here. Steve, do you have any solutions that have not been fully discredited? CaroleDavis

2006-04-01 07:06:22   I wonder what they have in areas like Los Angeles and Riverside, where they've come a long way since some serious, very public issues? Anyone know about this? —JaimeRaba

2006-04-01 07:26:44,1,4601696.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-californiaCaroleDavis

  • Council responds : with the same old tired rhetoric. The Community Advisory Committee to date has been used as an information body that receives crime reports and other updates from the police. They have not been used in any type of advisory capacity. The current city manager lacks any real power or backbone. He exerts no control over the police or police chief whatsoever. Puntillo at a recent city council meeting suggested that the city council was the ultimate police oversight body. That in fact could not be further from the truth as they see their first duty as defending the police rather than exercising any degree of oversight over the body. How much control does this council and city manager have, Officer Pheng Ly, the arresting officer in the Buzayan case was named Davis Police Officer of the Year. That is an utter slap in the face to the Buzayan family. It is an utter and complete insult. How much more could the Davis Police Department be further discredited.—CaroleDavis
    • I believe that the Officer of the Year award was from another organization - I think the local Yolo county VFW. I don't think the City has anything to do with those awards. - SharlaDaly

2006-04-03 10:03:09   The caption on Thursday's Davis Enterprise, page A9 reads: "Davis Police Chief Jim Hyde congratulates one of his officers, Pheng Ly, who received the Davis Police Department's Officer of the Year award Tuesday during a ceremony held by the American Legion Yolo Post 77 in Woodland." —CaroleDavis

    • Yes, but this is the Davis Enterprise we're talking about. A google search for "davis police department" "officer of the year" only brings up results for the UCDPD. A search of the DPD/City's website for "officer of the year" yields no results. I'm not saying that the Enterprise is wrong, but Sharla's got some wiki cred (using her real name, been around a while, not championing a single cause, contributing useful information, etc.) and tends to know these things. — ArlenAbraham
  • Correction - Per the article in the Daily Democrat Lawmen Honored, the officers were nominated by their respective departments. - SharlaDaly

2006-04-03 11:07:08   Just out of curiosity, what about having a high school-aged person being on this board? Even though minors cannot vote, they are affected by police and law enforcement, so wouldn't it makes sense to have a representative from that group as well? —JulienBiewerElstob

  • Yes! I agree. Or at least someone who has a connection to the kids in town that are most impacted by the police - not someone from the school district and not a PTA representative or straight A student from the High School who is looking for something to add to their college applications. - SharlaDaly
    • Exactly. A kid or student who is very average, and who knows Davis well. For the student representative to have any real impact, they would have to have had some sort of interaction with the police, especially if the involvement was like.. a cop busting some teens for hanging out in a wierd location.. like the Line Spot, or some other slightly obscure place. -JulienBiewerElstob