Chico buys guns for cops to own City’s gun-buying escalated with Down Range

photo by Karen Laslo
Down Range Indoor Training Center sign

by Dave Waddell

In the last three years alone, the financially strapped city of Chico has paid out nearly $25,000 to buy at least 40 guns of undisclosed types for the personal ownership of its police officers, according to a search of online records by ChicoSol.

Such gun transactions – made possible by a $900 per year “uniform allowance” afforded to all of the Chico Police Department’s more than 90 “sworn personnel” – skyrocketed with the advent of the Down Range Indoor Training Center three years ago.

Down Range, which is outside city limits along Highway 99 on the northern entrance to Chico, is known for boldly advertising the sale of assault rifles, especially around some holidays. The business is co-owned by Chico police officer Steve Dyke and has been gaining a bigger slice of Chico PD’s gun-buying pie each year. read more

Man killed downtown by Chico cop Second fatal police shooting in four months

by Dave Waddell

For the second time in four months, a man has been shot dead by Chico police.

An officer fired his weapon at the unidentified white man inside Mid Valley Title and Escrow in the 600 block of Main Street in downtown Chico shortly after 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

According to Chico police Lt. Billy Aldridge, a man had wounded two police officers and a private security guard with a knife. The officers were treated and released at Enloe Medical Center, while the guard received a “significant” wound.

In the Police Department’s initial statement released this morning, the names of the man killed, the security guard and the officers involved were not divulged. Aldridge said that an investigation of the incident that was started by Chico PD had been turned over to the Butte County Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Team headed up by District Attorney Mike Ramsey. read more

Timeline backs student’s retaliation claim DA’s probe tracked missing phone all over Chico

Madeline Hemphill

photo by Bianca Quilantan

Madeline Hemphill points to the bush along the Esplanade where she says she was “tackled” by a Chico police officer.

by Dave Waddell

While ruling out officer involvement in a missing cell phone mystery, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey also has disclosed details to ChicoSol that bolster a student’s claim of retaliation by Chico police.

Chico State senior Madeline Hemphill has maintained that five minutes or less elapsed between an initial confrontation with officer Steve Dyke and her arrest in front of her nearby residence. Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien, in contrast, issued a press statement two days after the Aug. 27, 2016, incident indicating a gap of 28 minutes between the two encounters. read more

Group may ask for CPD citizen oversight board David Phillips pushes for independent probe of police killing

photo by Karen LasloDave Phillips at a recent meeting of Chico City Council

photo by Karen Laslo

Dave Phillips at a recent meeting of Chico City Council

by Dave Waddell

In the wake of the killing of Desmond Phillips, community activists expressed support Monday for establishing a citizen board to review the Chico Police Department’s internal investigations.

Pastor Vince Haynie said proponents of citizen oversight are researching the practice in other cities and gathering support from various community groups.

“In light of recent events, we really need that,” Haynie said at the May 1 meeting of the Human Relations Network of Butte County.

Haynie’s reference was to the killing of Phillips, who was black, mentally ill and 25 years old. Phillips was shot 10 times by officers Alex Fliehr and Jeremy Gagnebin on March 17 in his father’s living room. read more

Chico police deploy body cameras in wake of Phillips shooting Advisory board to launch discussion about treatment of mentally ill

photo by Dave WaddellDavid Phillips, right, father of Desmond Phillips, talks to Police Chief Mike O'Brien and DA Mike Ramsey at today's meeting.
 

photo by Dave Waddell

David Phillips, right, father of Desmond Phillips, talks to Police Chief Mike O’Brien and DA Mike Ramsey at today’s meeting.

by Dave Waddell

The Chico Police Department – criticized for not having body cameras on its officers in the recent killing of a mentally disturbed young black man – deployed those cameras on Saturday, Chief of Police Mike O’Brien said today.

O’Brien made the surprise announcement at the somewhat raucous April 3 meeting of the Human Relations Network of Butte County (HRN), at which he and Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey revealed more details and answered questions about the Chico police shooting of 25-year-old Desmond Phillips on March 17. Two officers fired 16 rounds, with 10 bullets hitting Phillips, Ramsey said. read more

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