Close-up of a University of California Police Department patch on the side of an Officer's uniform

The UC Davis Difference

Safety and justice that reflect our communities' values

At UC Davis, the police department works toward safety and justice that reflect our communities’ values. We strive for continuous improvement in everything we do. Our policing strategies allow us to be guardians of our community, a responsibility that we hold ourselves accountable for achieving.

Reforms in public safety at UC Davis started in response to officers using pepper spray against campus protesters more than a decade ago. Not only have we changed how our department deals with protests — but these reforms have served as a catalyst for a series of progressive steps, new leadership and innovative practices.

Recently we’ve been working to respond to recommendations for reforms made by multiple university leadership groups, at a time when the future of policing has been under intense scrutiny across the nation. 

We are working to outgrow past challenges, to become a model for the future of campus safety, and to serve our community in ways that students can be proud to partner with us.


We are working to challenge the way things have been done

The UC Davis Police Department is not afraid to make changes and move forward boldly. Responding and growing with our communities' needs on both the Davis and Sacramento campuses — with our eyes on justice, social inclusion, transparency and integrity — is important to how we can accomplish effective policing.

  • Increasing transparency with Police Accountability Board
  • UC Davis established an independent Police Accountability Board in 2014 — one of the first of its kind in the country. Students, faculty and staff serve on the board to review investigations of police conduct and make recommendations to the police chief. The UC Davis Police Accountability Board was later emulated by other University of California campus police departments and is now required of all UC campus police departments. The UC Davis Police Department has provided substantial leadership and consultation in the formation of these accountability boards for other campuses.
  • Building trust with comprehensive data dashboards
  • Our community requested better access to statistics and information about campus safety, so in 2021 we began publishing a Transparency Dashboard on the UC Davis Police Department website to make campus police data more available and user-friendly. We continue to expand the availability of our campus data, with additional dashboards that make use of our participation in the UC Community Safety Data Dashboards.
  • Respecting lived names to foster inclusion
  • The UC Davis Police Department is a national leader in adopting the use of preferred first names, as long as they are not being used for the purpose of misrepresentation. UC Davis allows students to specify a lived name in their student record (see Lived Name policy details), and UC Davis police officers are instructed to interact with people using their preferred names. This policy is intended to create mutual understanding, prevent discrimination, and ensure the appropriate recognition of community members who choose a preferred name to reflect their gender identity or cultural expression.
  • Restorative justice to address community conflict
  • The UC Davis Police Department collaborates with the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office for its Restorative Justice Partnerships program. This holistic program addresses non-violent and low-level crimes in a way that is restorative instead of punitive with community-based solutions outside of the traditional criminal justice system.

Aggie Hosts lined up together with UC Davis water tower in the background.

Who we are reflects our diverse student community

We seek to be part of the fabric of our community and respect the experiences, knowledge, and abilities of one another.

  • Students work as Aggie Hosts
  • Policing a college campus allows us to engage students as partners. Each year about 50 students are employed as Aggie Host Security, providing a sense of hospitality and security in routine patrols every day.
  • Educating tomorrow’s law enforcement
  • To advance student careers in law enforcement, the UC Davis Cadet Academy provides educational opportunities and training in police work. Many graduates of the cadet academy have gone on to train and become police officers, including more than 20 alumni who serve as career employees with the UC Davis Police Department.
  • Strengthening our department with a diverse workforce
  • Our department strives to mirror the communities we serve — by hiring from within our own community and by making efforts to reflect the community's diversity. Our department has also committed to the 30x30 Initiative, with a goal to increase the number of women officers represented in our department to 30% by 2030. Learn more about our team.
  • Adjusting with new roles and casual uniforms
  • We’ve diversified the roles on our team to include CORE Officers in casual clothes as well as Community Safety Specialists and Protective Service Specialists, who can assist with safety and security issues outside of emergency situations for more ways we can provide care for our community. Launched in 2019, our CORE Officer programdecreases visibility of uniformed personnel without decreasing safety or service. Should an emergency arise, our CORE Officers have the ability to pivot and provide support to other officers.

Swearing in ceremony of new police chief.

Growing out of our challenges makes us a model for the future

Since 2012, we’ve made many changes to our policies and practices. We’ve been working to improve transparency and gain trust, to become trusted leaders in our community and innovators among campus police departments.

  • New leadership speaks out for social justice
  • UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May swore in Joe Farrow as the chief of police for both the Davis and Sacramento campuses. Chief Farrow has been outspoken publicly about the need to fight historical injustices and his commitment to serving community members regardless of their citizenship, national origin, race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation. Farrow is a leader in addressing issues of law enforcement and mental illness, and he also championed state legislation to allow anyone legally authorized to work in the United States to be employed in law enforcement. He shared his vision for shifting the narrative on policing and transforming campus policing in this 2023 video interview with the chancellor.
  • Being proactive has made us a model for other UCs
  • In 2019, police departments at all University of California campuses were encouraged to follow the UC Davis example of implementing their own Police Accountability Boards, among recommendations to increase accountability and transparency in all UC police departments. UC Davis officers and leaders have continued to provide leadership among UC police departments throughout the development and execution of the UC Community Safety Plan, which was released in 2021.
  • Responding to calls for help, with campus partners
  • When someone calls 911 at UC Davis, there may be times when a police officer may not be the most appropriate response. We’ve diversified the roles on our team — and we’ve partnered with other campus departments, including the Fire Department and its Health 34 initiative, to create a campuswide plan for “Tiered Responses to Calls for Campus Assistance” to better network campus resources and services for responding to crisis and non-crisis calls.
  • Changing policies in use of force and crowd control
  • Some of the changes most evident in our policing relates to how we approach protests, crowd control and use of force. When people are peacefully exercising their rights, police officers don’t need to be present. Our current campus policing policy can be found in the UC Davis Police Policy Manual.

Smiling student talks to a UC Davis Police officer outside of the Teaching and Learning Complex.

Facing our future with a commitment to improvement and reform

We have already implemented the University of California's recommended police reforms and met international standards for accreditation. With leaders and academics at UC Davis, we're working to envision the future of policing for higher education and hospital settings — starting with our campus communities in Davis and Sacramento first.

  • Putting progressive police reforms into action
  • Police chiefs of all 10 UC campuses have committed to a 21st century model of community-oriented policing, guided by sources including President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force, the #8CantWait project and Campaign Zero. As of June 2020, the UC Davis Police Department has implemented all 22 of the recommendations from the 2019 Report of the Presidential Task Force on Universitywide Policing that can be implemented at the local campus level. At UC Davis, we have committed to the 30x30 initiative, with a goal to increase the number of women officers represented in our department to 30% by 2030.
  • Meeting international standards and committing to ongoing improvement
  • The UC Davis Police Department is fully accredited by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the largest professional organization dedicated to excellence in public safety in higher education. This process helps us serve as a national model in campus law enforcement. It also demonstrates our commitment to continuous self-assessment, as it requires an ongoing practice of updating policies and implementing practices that help us remain in compliance with more than 200 IACLEA standards and strengthen our service to the community.
  • Evolving, learning and taking action on ‘Next Generation’ reforms
  • The UC Davis Police Department took action in response to campus safety recommendations made by leaders of the UC system, UC Davis and UC Davis students. Progress made toward campus safety reforms was tracked by the Campus Safety Oversight Committee, including changes in staffing, mental health response, tiered response, data transparency, community feedback, restorative justice and other policies. Members also participated in the Chancellor’s Next Generation Reforms to Advance Campus Safety Task Force, which engaged faculty, staff, students and administrators to discuss future models for campus safety.
  • Actively seeking community feedback
  • The Police Department Interaction Feedback form was launched in January 2022. This survey invites members of the community to provide feedback immediately after their interaction with an officer or other employees of the police department. Results from this process are shared as Police Department Ratings, part of our Transparency Dashboard.

UC Davis Police officer on a bike at Hutchison field looking out across campus.

Maintaining Aggie spirit throughout policing

Through it all, police work at UC Davis strives to reflect our Aggie values such as innovation, education for all, environmental sustainability, integrity in all we do, and responsible stewardship of university resources.

  • Traffic safety with hybrid vehicles and sustainability in mind
  • The UC Davis Police Department provides traffic safety on roadways and surrounding areas, with the use of hybrid utility vehicles, GEM electric vehicles and bicycles. The campus police department has made an effort to incorporate hybrid vehicles into its fleet to help reduce our carbon footprint from patrol vehicle emissions.
  • Education can help prevent crime
  • Our Crime Prevention Program offers community education to reduce crime. We teach people how to anticipate and recognize a crime risk, how to reduce the threat of crime, and how crime prevention relates to their daily lives. These programs are offered throughout the Davis and Sacramento campuses, as well as other research and teaching facilities throughout Northern California.