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Friday, October 15, 2021

UC Davis Police Chief Carmichael moves to the University of Oregon

LUCY KNOWLES / AGGIE
LUCY KNOWLES / AGGIE

Jennifer Garcia named Interim Chief during search for new police chief

After 14 years at The UC Davis Police Department, UC Davis Police Chief Matthew Carmichael resigned from his position at the end of August in order to move to the University of Oregon. Jennifer Garcia was named the new interim police chief in the meantime.

“I have some big shoes to fill because of Matt Carmichael,” Garcia said. “I have been at the university for almost 22 years and I am personally dedicated to UC Davis — that’s why I accepted this position even though I knew it would be temporary.”

Garcia has what it takes to be the intermediary between him and his successor, according to Carmichael.

“Chief Garcia is definitely prepared to be your chief,” Carmichael said via e-mail. “She rocked it as a lieutenant and I am confident will do the same as chief […] Having a police department that understands the needs of our students and applies a true community policing philosophy to how we approach safety and security on campus was always my goal. Chief Garcia truly understands and adheres to [that] in everything she does.”

Carmichael, who has already begun his new job at the University of Oregon, believes that he can use his experiences from UC Davis to help him move forward in his career.

“My experiences at UC Davis […] have prepared me to be a better chief and, quite frankly, a better person,” Carmichael said via e-mail. “I had my share of mistakes and when I was successful it was only because of the support of many amazing people on campus. I wish I could send each and every one a thank you card but hopefully they know who they are.”

With Garcia serving only temporarily, the search is already underway for a new chief for UC Davis.

“[The] Chief selection processes usually take about six months,” Garcia said. “[The administration has] a search committee — they have a company they hire, basically a head hunter. [The company] does a nationwide search and that company vets through the applications and sees that the qualifications meet their standards and such.”

Having undergone the hiring process himself, Carmichael offered his ideal qualities for a new chief, which include being caring, compassionate and demonstrating the philosophy of true “community policing.”

According to Kelsey McDonald, student assistant to the chief at The UC Davis Police Department, this concept of “community policing” is one of Carmichael’s defining characteristics.

“Having a strong sense of community I think is number one [when looking for a new chief],” McDonald said. “Something that I loved about Chief Carmichael was that the community was his priority — both the safety of the community and interacting with the community.”

In her opinion, Garcia believes the most important quality a university police chief should possess is good communication.

“We need to have interaction between our community, which is mostly students, and make sure we are open to having those conversations about what good police work is and what bad police work is,” Garcia said.

McDonald looks forward to other students having the chance to experience his policing skills.

“He was wonderful,” McDonald said. “I really, really enjoyed working with him. As sad as I am to see him go, I am really happy that he will be able to get his really great police mindset out to other university campuses. I know that the University of Oregon is really lucky to have him.”
Written by: Kenton Goldsby – campus@theaggie.org

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