Police-community relations on the mend after low point Critics say more change needed at CPD; cell phone case looms

photo by Karen LasloMike O'Brien assumed the chief's post almost two years ago when Dunbaugh left.

photo by Karen Laslo

Mike O’Brien assumed the chief’s post almost two years ago when Dunbaugh left.

by Dave Waddell

Two years ago, Mike Dunbaugh came out of retirement to set the Chico Police Department on a path to reform. His five-month stint as interim police chief ended with a June 4, 2015, final report. In that confidential memorandum sent to the City Council and other officials, Dunbaugh described Chico PD as having abnormally poor relations with the community it served, as well as being unwelcoming to women. 

“The failure of the Police Department to maintain healthy community connections is extreme,” Dunbaugh wrote.  “In over 40 years of being associated with the law enforcement industry in California, I have not seen a department from a city this size dig a hole this deep for itself. City leadership played a role in this happening; and, it is going to take significant effort and time for the police department to reconnect and correct.” read more

Investigators Hunt Cell Phone Missing from Police Evidence CSUC Students Claim Retaliation for Filming, Excessive Force

Madeline Hemphill

photo by Bianca Quilantan

Madeline Hemphill demonstrates the grip that the students say officer Dyke used on Nicole Braham.

by Dave Waddell and Bianca Quilantan

What happened to Madeline Hemphill’s cell phone and the video she says would prove excessive force by Chico police?

It’s a question central to law enforcement investigations of the Aug. 27 arrests of Hemphill and her roommate and fellow Chico State student Nicole Braham.
A second cell phone video from the arrest scene — shot by Telvina Patino, a third roommate and Chico State student – has been viewed tens of thousands of times on YouTube and can be seen here.

Chico community activist Emily Alma has labeled the arrests an “excessive force event.” Also critical of police handling of the incident has been Michael Coyle, an associate professor of political science at Chico State. Coyle, who teaches criminal justice courses, said that if good policing means de-escalating situations, what’s shown in the video are poor police practices. “The video looks more like a basic training on how to escalate a situation, physically put someone in pain, and make them afraid of police,” said Coyle, who chairs the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) board in Chico. “Whatever happened to community policing?” read more