Police Chief Matt Carmichael to Step Down

UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael
Matt Carmichael has introduced numerous reforms and initiatives as chief of police at UC Davis. He is stepping down to take up a new job leading the Police Department at the University of Oregon. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

University of California, Davis, Police Chief Matt Carmichael is taking up a new position, leading the Police Department of the University of Oregon in Eugene. Carmichael officially retires from UC Davis on Thursday (Sept. 1), and his first day at the University of Oregon will be Sept. 12.

“From his first day as chief, Matt has served this community with skill, vision and integrity,” Acting Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter said. “While we are happy for Matt’s new opportunity, we are extremely sorry to see him go, but take comfort in knowing he has helped build a first-rate campus police force that serves UC Davis very well. We know he will do more great work in Oregon and wish Matt and his family nothing but the best.”

Lt. Jennifer Garcia will step in as interim chief while the search for Carmichael’s successor is conducted.

“UC Davis has been a great place to work. It’s been a privilege to have the opportunity, every day, to work with this outstanding community,” Carmichael said.

Building ties with the community

As chief, Carmichael has established or expanded numerous initiatives to connect the department more closely with students and the campus community, and to improve security on campus. New programs include: Student Advisory Council; independent Police Advisory Board, which oversees complaints of misconduct by officers; Cadet Academy for students; Global Liaison Unit, which works with international students on campus, and those from underrepresented groups; outreach unit, to promote campus safety and department programs; "preferred names” policy for students; and a police K-9 unit (Charlie, the department's black Labrador, is trained as both a bomb-detection dog and a goodwill ambassador).

In additon, Carmichael expanded the SafeRides program, so that no student ever need walk home alone from campus or downtown Davis; expanded the role of student security officers, called Aggie Hosts, to take care of routine security patrols; and implemented the department's participation in the Restorative Justice Program organized by the Yolo County district attorney's office.

Cadet program a highlight

The highlight of his tenure, Carmichael said, was establishing the Cadet Academy, about to begin its fifth year in 2016-17. The program offers graduating seniors and graduate students the opportunity to learn the basics of law enforcement. Top cadets receive scholarships to attend police academy anywhere in California, and several former cadets have been hired as officers by the UC Davis Police Department and other departments around the state.

“It has opened doors for the department and the community to build a highly educated, diverse work force,” Carmichael said. “It creates police officers who are from the community.”

In April 2016, the department hosted a national conference for police departments, sheriff's offices and district attorney's offices, and communities often wary or skeptical of law enforcement, including the LGBTQIA community, veterans, disabled people, black-African American and Latino/a, as well as Sikh and other communities of faith.

About Chief Carmichael

Carmichael became acting chief on Nov. 21, 2011, and was sworn in as interim chief the following April. He was confirmed to the permanent position in May 2014.

Carmichael has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement, starting with the Pinole Police Department in 1985, and joined UC Davis in 2002 as a lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice management from Union Institute & University and an associate’s degree in administration of justice from Napa Valley College.

Lt. Garcia, the interim chief, began her career in law enforcement working in the UC Davis dispatch center. In 2000, she applied for a position as a UC Davis police officer and has served with the department since then.

About the UC Davis Police Department

The UC Davis Police Department aims to be a model law enforcement agency that balances security and law enforcement and delivers service with a community policing philosophy. The department includes 50 sworn officers with the same authority under the law as municipal police officers, nonsworn protective services officers who provide security at the UC Davis hospital and outlying areas, and 120 student Aggie Hosts, who perform security functions on campus.  

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