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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Police Chief Matt Carmichael holds town hall meeting

Newly appointed UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael held a town hall style forum in Memorial Union II last Tuesday at 6 p.m. With free pizza and a light atmosphere, Carmichael created an environment in which students could contribute to future changes in store for the university’s police department.

“We are here tonight to get input on what our policies should look like. To do it in the summer means that students aren’t important. We can knock it out now and come back in the fall,” Carmichael said.

The first hour included discussion about the new policy update program that Carmichael has implemented. Having signed with the risk management company, Lexipol, the UC Davis police department will have access to information on case law, agency customization, daily bulletin integration and archiving.

“Updates from Lexipol come twice a year. We must review and accept them. They give an example of new language [for policies] so we know exactly what needs to be changed,” said Paul Harman, the policy manager.

The new policy is public and will be published online as a PDF file. It is about 1,200 pages long and can include graphics or videos to further explain the policies. This new program also includes a daily training bulletin, which reinforces policy to officers throughout the year.

Harman is currently working on fixing the policies and has set a six month goal.

As the meeting moved toward questions from students, issues such as upholding best practice policies and punishments for officers not participating in the Daily Training Bulletin arose.

The  Daily Training Bulletin is a service provided to police officers through Lexipol, which assist police officers in learning the content of their agency’s policy manual and the practical application of those policies. Every day a new and customizable scenario is sent to law-enforcement personnel that, according to Lexipol’s website, make everyday a training day.

According to Carmichael, daily bulletin updates are more concerned with how personnel learn from them and if officers fail to take participate in the training, the bulletins will accumulate.

Students asked how policy would become a reality. Carmichael said the department is committed to doing their best. He also said Lexipol is a great program, but it is meaningless if not upheld.

According to Carmichael, it is important that town hall style meetings become the norm because it is important to hear students’ opinions.

“At anytime you can ask questions, you don’t need an incident or issue. We’re here for you guys and we are more service oriented that many departments in California,” said Ray Holguin, a UC Davis police veteran.

Near the end of the session, Carmichael clarified that he does not feel that using Lexipol is furthering privatization of the police department, but rather using it to make a differences and fix a lot of issues.

The issue of the use of force was also addressed.

“POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) put on a symposium and 417 people attended. Out of that they drafted new guidelines for crowd management,” Harman said.

The question of how the police department would handle an issue utilizing campus policy was also discussed. Carmichael explained that they would work to bridge the gap because the police are not the answer to everything.

Carmichael said he is looking forward to making positive changes to the UC Davis police department, specifically in regards to policy.

“Our proof is in what we do; that’s why we’re here. I want to be proactive,” Carmichael said.

DANIELLE HUDDLESTUN can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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