The UC Davis Difference

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

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 started in response to officers using pepper spray against campus protesters have changed not only how our department deals with protests — but served as a catalyst for a series of progressive steps, new leadership and innovative practices. We know we can do better.

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.

 

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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 and later emulated by other University of California campus police departments. Students, faculty and staff serve on the board to review investigations of police conduct and make recommendations to the police chief.
  • Respecting preferred 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 preferred name in their student record (see Preferred 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 self-identity or cultural expression.
  • Restorative justice to address community conflict
  • The UC Davis Police Department cooperates with the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office for its “Neighborhood Court” program. This 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.   

UC Davis Aggie Hosts laughing in front of Student Community Center

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 120 students are employed as Aggie Hosts, 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 academy have gone on to train as police officers, including 10 officers who have served as officers 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 reflecting the community's diversity. In 2019, 43% of Police Department career staff members were underrepresented minorities, and 37% of staff members were female. Learn more about our team.

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 have been working to improve transparency and gain trust, as we transition from correcting past errors to become trusted leaders in our community.

  • New leadership speaks out for social justice
  • UC Davis Chancellor Gary 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.
  • 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. Find more information about the Reynoso Task Force reforms in the wake of the pepper spray incident. Our current campus policing policy can be found in the UC Davis Police Policy Manual.
  • 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 campus police departments.

Police officer talks to nurse at the UC Davis medical center

Facing our future with a commitment to improvement and reform

We have already implemented the University of California's recommended police reforms and are working to meet 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 UC Police reforms into action
  • Police chiefs of all ten 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. In June 2020, the UC Davis reported that 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. (The remaining six recommendations are systemwide changes, scheduled for implementation by the end of 2021.)
  • Meeting international standards and committing to ongoing improvement
  • We are working to meet all 214 accreditation requirements 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 is expected to be completed in Fall 2020, and means not just updating policies and practices to bring the department in line with the best professional practices, but committing to continuous self-assessment to ensure that the department remains up to date in serving the community.
  • Evolving, learning and listening for ‘Next Generation’ task force reforms
  • We are participating in the Chancellor’s Next Generation Reforms to Advance Campus Safety Task Force. Announced in 2020, faculty, staff, students and administrators are being brought together to discuss what a police department should look like for an educational environment such as the Davis campus and for a health-focused campus such as the Sacramento campus.

Police officer on bike at the Arboretum and Public Garden.

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 sustainability in mind
  • The UC Davis Police Department’s Motor Unit provides traffic safety on main roadways and surrounding areas, with the use of motorcycles. This approach reduces the police department's 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.