City of Vallejo and Department Of Justice Partnership

Following several months of coordination, the City of Vallejo approved an agreement on June 5, 2020, to collaborate with the California Department of Justice on modernizing and reforming the Vallejo Police Department (VPD). The agreement is in effect from June 9, 2020, through June 9, 2023.

The City of Vallejo and the VPD welcome insights and assistance on how to have the best possible police department for our community. The VPD looks forward to collaborating with the DoJ regarding 21st Century Policing, an initiative aimed at increasing fairness and transparency throughout the criminal justice system.

According to the agreement, the City of Vallejo will work together and share information with the DoJ. The DoJ will review recommendations by the OIR Group, an expert consulting group the City proactively hired in 2019 to conduct an independent assessment of VPD policies and practices. The DoJ will then offer any additional recommendations on best practices and assist and evaluate as the Department implements the recommendations.

The City has had a series of reform projects in process and stands ready to implement further recommendations from both the OIR Group and the California DoJ. On November 12, 2019, the City welcomed a new Chief of Police, Shawny Williams. Williams was selected following a robust recruitment and hiring process, which involved community-focused activities, including two community forums and an interview panel of community members.

Under Chief Williams’ leadership, the VPD has implemented a stronger body-worn camera policy, an improved de-escalation policy, and a program to regularly analyze use-of-force data. Additional initiatives to improve the relationship between the VPD and the community are listed on the Vallejo Unites webpage.

If you have questions about this issue, please refer to the list of Frequently Asked Questions, or contact us directly with your questions or feedback by emailing vallejodojpartnership@cityofvallejo.net. This webpage will continue to be updated as additional information becomes available.

View the California Department of Justice Agreement here.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Is the Department of Justice taking over the Vallejo Police Department?

The agreement that the City of Vallejo entered into with the California Department of Justice represents a collaborative effort to modernize and reform the Vallejo Police Department. The City of Vallejo welcomes insights and assistance on how to have the best possible police department for our community, and we stand ready to implement recommendations.

Was this Agreement a response to the officer-involved shooting on June 2, 2020 or a response to the protests that have been taking place in June throughout America?

The agreement is the result of months of coordination with the California Department of Justice to establish a collaborative effort focused on modernizing and reforming the Vallejo Police Department.

The City has had a series of reform projects in-work. In 2019, the City proactively contracted with the OIR Group for an independent assessment of VPD policies and practices. The DoJ will review recommendations by the OIR Group and offer any additional recommendations on best practices, and will then assist and evaluate as the Department implements the recommendations. To learn about additional initiatives focused on improving the relationship between the VPD and the community, visit the Vallejo Unites webpage.

Will the DOJ be monitoring the daily activity of the Vallejo Police Department?

As part of the agreement, the DoJ will review recommendations by the OIR Group and offer any additional recommendations on best practices, and will then assist and evaluate as the Department implements the recommendations. The agreement specifies that the Cal DOJ will not supplant the roles and responsibilities of the City, including the City Attorney, the City Manager, the City Council or any City officials including its Chief of Police.

How can I share my feedback on how the Vallejo Police Department could improve?

You can contact the City directly with your questions or feedback by emailing vallejodojpartnership@cityofvallejo.net. The City of Vallejo and the VPD welcome insights and assistance on how to have the best possible police department for our community.

When did the City start working to improve the Police Department and to focus on enhanced community relations?

The agreement is the result of several months of collaboration with the Cal DoJ, based upon a desire to work together to implement recommendations identified in the OIR Group assessment (a third-party evaluation the City commissioned in August 2019). Major steps to reform the Police Department started in July 2019 with the appointment of interim Chief of Police Joe Allio. That same month the City engaged OIR Group to conduct an independent audit of the Police Department’s policies and procedures. Also in July 2019, the City launched search for a new Chief of Police with an emphasis on community involvement in the talent identification and selection process.

Also in July 2019, the City engaged the Federal Department of Justice Community Relations Service to aid community dialogues related to policing matters.

In September 2019, the City Manager and interim Chief of Police provided a community update the the recruitment, status of the OIR review and offered comments on the loss of life related to officer involved shootings. Later that month the City announced the selection of Shawny Williams as the new Chief of Police. 

On November 12, 2019, Shawny Williams took over as the Chief of Police for the City of Vallejo. He first met with the Cal DoJ on November 18, 2019.

On January 13, 2020, City Manager Greg Nyhoff met with Chief Williams and Supervising Deputy Attorney General Nancy Beninati, and coordination between the City and DoJ has continued since that time.

In February 2020, Vallejo Police Department established a Youth Outreach Program to better connect the police officers with the students in the Vallejo City Unified School District

In March 2020 Chief of Police Williams implemented new body camera activation standards for all officers to ensure extensive footage was available for training and transparency purposes.

In April 2020 Chief of Police Williams rolled out new use-of-force policies for the Police Department including enhanced de-escalation standards and protocols to reduce physical conflicts between Vallejo Police Officers and the public.

In June 2020 the City entered into an agreement with the California Department of Justice to have third party review of the City’s recently completed OIR Group audit of the Police Department. The Department of Justice will provide oversight on the implementation of the suggestions offered in the OIR Group report.

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