Chico PD needs more than a new Chief, they need a Chief De-escalator

18 May

You can always tell when Enterprise Record Publisher Mike Wolcott has been out of town – he edits a number of other papers in other towns. When he’s gone, the letters section stalls along at 3 – 4 letters, when he comes back, it’s what I call a “letters barf” – he runs 8, 10, 12 or more letters in one day. A letter I work on for a week or more is lost at the bottom of a pile. Oh well, it’s his paper, he can cry if he wants to. 

Here’s a letter I don’t want to see buried – thanks Scott Rushing and George Gold for bringing this up. The city is looking for a new police chief right now, and they haven’t been inviting the public into the conversation. Two councilors I spoke to indicated to me that Chief O’Brien has already picked his own successor from within the department, his deputy chief, Matt Madden.

One councilor told me we pay our chief so little here that it was hard to recruit. “I’m not saying we should spend more I just looked at other communities that are like size and their Chiefs are 20-40k higher.”

That’s funny, cause when I was searching Matt Madden online, I found this coincidental news about an officer who recently retired from Chico, who happened to have the  same last name, from Open Payrolls:

“Abigail Madden worked for the city of Chico, California and in 2017 had a reported pay of $119,894.45 according to public records. This is 76.8 percent higher than the average pay for city employees and 88.5 percent higher than the national average for government employees.”

This woman was just an officer when she retired, and she was making over $100,000 in salary. Our police department employees are paid well, in fact, if you look at the Secretary of State’s website here, you see, in total compensation, they are paid almost as much as Sacramento Police, including the chief. And, Chico cops have bigger benefits packages:

The same council member told me, “We always got away with Chico being such a great place to live and a premier department. We are struggling to keep both those titles.”  Sorry, I don’t  remember when Chico PD was a “premier” department. I remember all the way back to Bullerjahn, and I remember one bad chief after another. I also disagree that Chico is not a great place to live. What I would say is, our council and $taff have not done their jobs, and have led us into the current state. That’s what needs to change – new council and staff.

We need to pressure our current council to look outside Chico for a new chief. Look at nearby towns with better records, look for cops who will accept a reasonable salary and benefits to do the job they are sworn to do, UPHOLD THE LAW. For EVERYBODY, not just the entitled class.

Here’s a letter from George Gold and Scott Rushing that reminds us that cops are there to protect ALL of us.

Moral Imperative. There are now three pieces of legislation on the books that address law enforcement conduct. They codify peace officers conduct as relates to use of deadly force, release of records, and the public’s access to law enforcement records. These legislations are now the law and they combine to guide all police departments in California as regards transparency and these new limits on police behavior.

Chico’s next police chief must, as part of his / her oath, swear to uphold these new laws. Additionally, a new police chief must approve, ratify, and recommend de-escalation and crisis intervention training for every police officer in Chico and, officers must learn how to apply these trainings in the field. De-escalation conduct by Chico’s police officers must be the primary path of all police / citizen interactions. So far today, this approach to community policing has not been implemented.  The unnecessary and tragic death of Tyler Rushing is just one example of how current policy has failed. This must change.

Each police officer must take it upon themselves to practice these new behavioral requirements. In fact, each police officer has a moral imperative to speak up when these policies are not followed.

— George Gold, Chico, and Scott Rushing, Ventura

6 Responses to “Chico PD needs more than a new Chief, they need a Chief De-escalator”

  1. Jim May 18, 2020 at 7:32 am #

    They keep doing this “other communities that are like size” to justify higher pay.

    Well Compton is about the size of Chico. Compton has a much higher crime rate, lower quality of life and much higher cost of living. So why should pay be equal?

    Same for other urban areas of California.

    With most jobs, pay rate should be based on market conditions, that being what will attract good employees.

    That being said, I believe that our police officers should be well paid since we want good people. The bigger issue is what we can afford.

    • Juanita Sumner May 19, 2020 at 5:52 am #

      I agree, police officers should be well paid, but that’s a subjective goal, we all have to agree on what is “well paid”. That needs to be a public discussion.

      The secretive nature of the contract negotiations should end, if we’re all on the hook to pay, we should all be included in “how much”.

  2. Scott Rushing May 18, 2020 at 4:31 pm #

    Thank you Juanita. For a city councilor to sanction the hiring of Madden because he will accept “being paid so little” leaves me dumbfounded.

    I have, and will continue to be, a critic of CPD. This secretive hiring process is an example of the “good ol’ boy” system in Chico. These shooters have the power of life and death on their hips! The Chief *must *be a de-escalator, not an enabler that allows the shooting officers to be judges, juries, and executioners.

    Orme, Constantin, and O’Brien still have not yet disclosed to your group the real/total costs related to the killing of Breanne Sharpe, Desmond Phillips, and Tyler. They should! If O’Brien, and the past “underpaid and overworked” chiefs, had not created a culture of “shoot first and ask questions later,” the taxpayers ….and the families of the dead ….would have benefitted. Spending a few thousand dollars on training is a much better, and cheaper, investment than legal fees, staff time, increased insurance premiums, and settlement payments.

    Good catch on the Abigail Madden salary. Matt and Abigail are doing quite well financially….. even though they are paid “so little.”


    Scott R.

    On Mon, May 18, 2020 at 6:04 AM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: “You can always tell when Enterprise Record > Publisher Mike Wolcott has been out of town – he edits a number of other > papers in other towns. When he’s gone, the letters section stalls along at > 3 – 4 letters, when he comes back, it’s what I call a “letters b” >

    • Juanita Sumner May 19, 2020 at 5:56 am #

      I agree on the training, and they should also have regular check-ups with a mental health professional. I can’t believe a mentally healthy individual would empty his firearm in the back of a 16 year old girl’s head.

      Thanks for staying involved Scott, I appreciate your efforts.

  3. bob May 20, 2020 at 1:11 pm #

    Mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be anything but government employees…

    Why California Is In Trouble – 340,000 Public Employees With $100,000+ Paychecks Cost Taxpayers $45 Billion

    Despite California’s $54 billion budget deficit and $1 trillion unfunded pension liability, there are 340,390 government employees bringing home six-figure salary and pension checks.

    Recently, though, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked U.S. taxpayers for a bailout.

    Read the rest here–340000-public-employees-with-100000-paychecks-cost-taxpayers-45-billion/

    • Juanita Sumner May 20, 2020 at 2:02 pm #

      Thanks. The voters need to wake out of their ConVID stupor and get ready for the tax blitz coming in November. I keep wondering what kind of tax increase Newsom has in mind.

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