California university ‘defunding’ police, touts endorsement of group ‘grounded’ in Obama task force
The University of California, Davis has announced plans to undergo a “defunding” of its campus police department and will eliminate three vacant officer positions.,
According to a UC Davis press release, the university announced it will reallocate funding from the three eliminated officer positions to new positions. The university also said three other officer positions have been “repurposed.”
The new positions are a “public safety policy analyst in student affairs; an analyst position to support data, accreditation and transparency efforts within the police department; and a new position dedicated to the Health 34 initiative.”
The Health 34 initiative is a new program that trains fire personnel in mental health response in preparation for being dispatched to certain calls.
Three uniformed police officers will also be “repurposed” to focus more on “outreach, education and providing support to the UC Davis community in a non-traditional way.”
The university is adopting the changes as part of its response to multiple campus safety reviews dating to an incident in November 2011 when campus police officers pepper-sprayed student protesters.
In the press release, the university also announced it has earned accreditation from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, which “is grounded in President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st-Century Policing.”
While UC Davis has never received law enforcement gear from the federal government’s Law Enforcement Support Office, the university nonetheless changed its procurement policy, eliminating any participation in the program.
During a protest on Thursday hosted by the University of California, Davis “CopsOffCampus” group, protesters displayed a sign outside of the police department stating, “We will outlive policing.” The sign included a cardboard cutout of a pig surrounded by smoke.
The group also tweeted, “looks like some folks had fun on thursday” and attached images of multiple vandalized university signs.
One UC Davis student, who asked to remain anonymous, told Fox News that defunding the police isn’t a good idea.
“There is no reason at all to decrease the number of officers,” the student said. “One of the most important features of campus includes the police-run SafeRide system, which helps students get home when they’re drunk or feeling unsafe walking alone at night. In general, due to the amount of partying that takes place in a college town, police have to be active to deal with cases of alcohol poisoning.”