The Vallejo Police Officers Association will discuss what it calls a “community crisis” at a Wednesday morning press conference.
The culprit, says the VPOA, is the “unethical and failed leadership” of Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams.
The press conference, coming on the heels of a Monday press release, will be held Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the group’s headquarters at 1040 Colusa St. Parking on the street and in the group’s small parking lot will be available.
VPOA attorneys Mike Rains and Julia Fox will be present at the press conference. The group says it will discuss its no-confidence vote in Williams, which it shared confidentially with city leadership in the hopes of a change in department leadership.
“Since Chief Williams’ arrival in 2019 there has been a mass exodus of police officers at every rank to other agencies, leaving the police department with the lowest number of sworn officers (87) since bankruptcy proceedings resulted in massive layoffs and retirements in 2009,” the VPOA states in its news release. “Officers leaving the department have chosen instead to work under ethical and committed police chiefs who implement policies and programs to hire, train, and retain high-quality personnel to provide protection and safety for the community members they are sworn to serve.”
The group’s release makes no mention of the badge-bending scandal or the high number of officer-involved shootings during the past decade in Vallejo.
In July of 2020 the website Open Vallejo released a story claiming VPD officers over the years had bent the points of their badges each time they had killed someone in the line of duty. In mid-March, former Vallejo police officer Michael Kent Tribble testified in court that he and retired officer Dan Golinveaux helped originate the ritual back in 2000 while working for the Concord Police Department.
Tribble, who retired in 2021, testified in Solano County Superior Court in Vallejo that the ritual was “a way to signify the fact that we would stand up and do our job.” He said the ritual was not held solely for fatal shootings. Tribble’s testimony came in a case involving Dominic Milano, who was fired on by Vallejo officers — including Komoda — in 2017. Milano, who survived the shooting, was charged with the attempted murder of Komoda.
Other officers named in the ritual included Matthew Komoda, David McLaughlin, Sanjay Ramrakha, Mark Galios and Zachary Jacobsen, according to the Vallejo Sun. Jacobsen shot and killed Angel Ramos in 2017. According to those reports, the alleged bending of badges were often done at The Relay Club, a bar in Vallejo.
The confidential memorandum on the bending of badges is still being withheld from the public.
The statement released on Monday also makes no mention of the VPD looking to move out of its longtime headquarters on Amador Street. Both the city and the police department say the police headquarters building at 111 Amador St. is in dire need of repairs and upgrades. The facility was built in 1961, when the Vallejo population was approximately 60,000.
An OIR report earlier this year found that the poor working conditions in the Amador building have led to “burnout, discouragement and a pervasive sense of being underappreciated by city officials as well as outsiders. Working conditions fostered an ‘us against the world mindset.”