SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the City of Vallejo, and the Vallejo Police Department (VPD) today announced an agreement to collaborate on a comprehensive policing plan in an effort to modernize and reform VPD’s policies and practices and increase public trust. The review will aim to support effective policing through improvements in use-of-force procedures, anti-bias and community policing, and accountability by focusing on training, policy, and transparency in alignment with national standards, best practices, current and emerging research, and community expectations.
“Our communities are safer when our police departments can build public trust through good policies, practices, and training. This review and reform agreement we announce today with the City of Vallejo represents a critical step the Vallejo Police Department must take to build trust with people who have lost faith in them,” said Attorney General Becerra. “When our communities speak up, we must listen — and, in recent days, people across California and the nation, and in Vallejo have bravely come together to make their voices heard. This is only a first step in our broader fight for racial justice. We must all do our part, and we must do it now.”
“I have long stated that we know not all the best ideas are in Vallejo, and our Council welcomes the involvement of the California Department of Justice in helping us implement better police practices in Vallejo,” said Vallejo City Manager Greg Nyhoff. “Our officers share our Council’s mission to keep our community safe and reflect the best of policing. We believe that collaboration with the DOJ and implementation of the suggestions from our recently completed external audits are an important step for everyone.”
“The City of Vallejo had launched a series of reform projects before I arrived in Vallejo that evidenced their desire to improve. It is one reason I was attracted to the role of Chief,” said Vallejo Chief of Police Shawny Williams. “As Chief, I have already implemented a stronger body-worn camera policy, an improved de-escalation policy, and a program to regularly analyze use-of-force data, but the biggest steps are ahead of us. I welcome all voices to the table. We are stronger together.”
The agreement comes in light of several recent high-profile VPD officer-involved shootings. The number and nature of the incidents raised concerns among members of the community and the California Department of Justice (Cal DOJ). The City of Vallejo and the Vallejo Chief of Police have expressed their deep commitment to updating their policies and practices and implementing recommendations that will be developed by Cal DOJ. Cal DOJ will work with a team of its own police practices experts to develop best practices specifically for VPD and will independently evaluate VPD’s implementation efforts. The agreement between Cal DOJ and the City of Vallejo and VPD is currently set to be in effect for three years. The agreement is expected to be ratified at the Vallejo City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 9.
Attorney General Becerra has fought to improve public safety and the criminal justice system by advocating for reforms across the state and working with cities to implement new policies. Earlier this year, Attorney General Becerra announced that Cal DOJ would conduct an independent review of the Los Angeles Police Department’s records and policies regarding the use of CalGang, a system used by law enforcement to share gang-related intelligence. In March, the Attorney General released Cal DOJ's second interim progress report detailing the status of the San Francisco Police Department’s efforts to implement police reform recommendations. In January, Cal DOJ announced a new online dashboard to give researchers, legislators, journalists, and all members of the public greater access to data reported by law enforcement agencies under the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015. Last year, Attorney General Becerra released a report providing the Sacramento Police Department with recommendations to help guide reform efforts on use-of-force policies, training, and practices. The Attorney General also entered into an agreement with the Stockton Unified School District and its police department to address system-wide violations of the civil and constitutional rights of African American and Latino students and students with disabilities.
A copy of the signed agreement is available here.