As policing faces increased scrutiny throughout the nation, the Danville Police Department -- which itself has seen two fatal police shootings since 2018 -- plans to hold a presentation on how officers are selected and trained during the Town Council's meeting Tuesday.
Police Chief Allan Shields will be on hand to give the report, which will review how Danville police officers are trained and recruited from the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office -- which provides police services to the town by contract.
"Developing and maintaining positive relationships with all members of the community is integral to earning the community's trust and working in partnership with our residents and businesses to keep the town safe," Shields and Town Manager Joe Calabrigo said in their written staff report to the council before the public meeting.
"Our police chief and our officers are always open to community feedback and suggestions on ways to better serve the community and meet expectations for effective policing," they added.
Danville PD and the sheriff's office have come under criticism recently due to the fatal police shootings of two people of color in Danville in the past 2-1/2 years -- both of which involved the same deputy, Andrew Hall, who was criminally charged by the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office earlier this month for his actions in the 2018 shooting.
In response to the deaths, community members have been directing questions about DPD's policies and training methods to both the police department and Town Council, questions Shields will look to answer during Tuesday's meeting.
Outlining the recruitment process in a report to the council, town leaders said that while officers are trained and selected from among the ranks of the sheriff's office, each individual officer who joins is interviewed and selected by the Danville police chief, with the selection methods eligible to be reviewed by the town manager.
Danville is a department that generally recruits more experienced officers, according to Calabrigo and Shields, with the majority of officers who apply already having several years on the force before joining the town.
Officers selected to work in the town serve for a minimum of two years; however, town staff noted that they often choose to remain in the town for longer than that.
"Applicants are required to be patrol qualified, meaning that they have already passed a basic police academy, usually have served within the capacity as a jail deputy and have passed the rigorous standards of the Office of the Sheriff patrol training program," Calabrigo and Shields said.
Training is also conducted through the sheriff's office, with town staff saying that officers are required to receive a certain amount of training that focuses on ethical policing to compliment field work.
According to town staff, mandatory training seeks to teach local officers about constitutional rights, racial and cultural diversity, crisis intervention and de-escalation, crowd control and unbecoming conduct, to name a few.
"All officers assigned to Danville, from the chief to patrol officers, received extensive, ongoing training through the Sheriff’s Office. In an effort to be transparent with the community, our Police Department has provided links for residents to documents on policy and training on the Department website," Calabrigo and Shields said.
The policies and procedures, as well as the course curriculum for the classes officers are required to take, can be found online via the Sheriff’s Principled Policing webpage.
Danville has seen two fatal police shootings since 2001, with the first occurring in November 2018 when Hall shot and killed 33-year-old Newark resident Laudemer Arboleda at close range while Arboleda tried to drive around police vehicles trying to block his path.
Hall has since been criminally charged with felony counts of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a semiautomatic weapon for shooting Arboleda. He is currently out on $220,000 bail.
After clearing Hall through their own internal investigation, the sheriff's office allowed Hall to return to active duty while the DA continued to investigate the shooting.
Hall is the same Danville police officer who shot Tyrell Wilson at the Sycamore Valley Road-Camino Ramon intersection on March 11. Wilson, a 32-year-old homeless man, died at a local hospital days later.
Residents watch Chief Shields' report during the Danville Town Council's regular meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday (May 4).
Those interested can view the meeting via video teleconferencing app Zoom using Webinar ID 814 9778 6908.
In other business
* During Tuesday's meeting the council is also set to receive a Maintenance Services Department report from department director Dave Casteel.
An annual report on the status of the department, Casteel will review the accomplishments achieved in the department over the past year, as well as the goals that lie ahead.
* Next, city clerk Marie Sunseri will provide a report on municipal commissions and committees that are currently seeking residents to volunteer on.
For interested residents, applications for most volunteer positions are due May 12.
For local poetry enthusiasts, the town is also in need of a new poet laureate to serve in the position for a two-year term.