Davis’ top cop since 2007 is among the final three candidates to head the Fairfield police department.
Davis Police Chief Landy Black is also discussing a new contract with the Davis City Council and City Manager Bill Emlen. The results of these negotiations may decide the future of the Davis Police Department’s leadership.
At the heart of the decision is the pay level Davis can afford to compensate its department officials. The city of Davis pays all of its department heads similar salaries. Because of the demand for experienced police chiefs, especially in larger cities such as Fairfield, Davis’ pay scale has fallen behind real market rates. A new contract will go to the City Council for approval in roughly two weeks, Emlen said.
“We are not going to exceed market rates, but we understand that if we diverge too much it will begin to affect our ability to recruit qualified people,” Emlen said.
The other two candidates are Manuel Rodriguez, assistant chief of the National City Police Department, and Walter Tibbet, chief of the Alameda Police Department.
Chief Black earns $144,511 per year in Davis, which is less compared to police department leadership positions in larger cities.
Black expressed a desire to continue working in Davis. He explained that no decisions have become final in Davis or Fairfield.
“I am still here working with the [Davis] city manager and the city council to reach a contract, and if that works out satisfactorily then you can count on me to be here for years to come,” Black said.
Black praised the community and fellow officers for taking an active role in public safety.
“Every facet of this community has worked with me to improve our conditions here in Davis,” he said. “They have treated me and the police department with great respect … Chiefs of police who are able to gather this sort of intelligent and considerate cooperation from the communities for which they are responsible for are particularly blessed.”
Black also described his experience as police chief in Davis. In Davis, public nuisances such as petty theft and vandalism combined with a tight budget can hinder proactive policing efforts, such as community outreach programs.
“Davis is a relatively safe town when it comes to the incidence of violent crime,” Black said. “However, we have a significantly high rate of property crime. This tends to overwhelm our capacity at times, which means that our outreach efforts cannot be as robust.”
Councilmember Sue Greenwald said she was enthusiastic about the job that Black has done and hopes he will continue to work in Davis.
“We all think he is a great police chief,” Greenwald said. “He has been very steady and very responsive to the community. We recognize that we are a small town and we cannot always compete with the larger cities in terms of salaries.”
Greenwald said she hopes the benefits of living and working in Davis outweigh the potentially larger income that an experienced official would enjoy in a larger town.
SAMUEL A. COHEN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.