Council asked to approve plan to add two deputy police chiefs

by John Glidden | Nov. 16, 2020

VALLEJO – Faced with a depleted command structure inside the Vallejo Police Department, City Hall will ask the Vallejo City Council to approve a plan on Tuesday to add two deputy police chief positions to the beleaguered department.

The plan includes creation of one deputy chief position to oversee the department’s operations, while converting the relatively new assistant police chief into a second deputy chief position tasked with implementing reform efforts, including recruitment, and internal affair investigations, according to the city staff report written by City Manager Greg Nyhoff.

“Maintaining the status quo in the Vallejo Police Department is no longer an option,” Nyhoff wrote. “Without the requested resources, reform will not be possible, and the City’s fiscal liability will continue to grow and reach a point that will become unmanageable. The only viable alternative is to begin exploring policing alternatives for the community of Vallejo.”

The assistant police chief position is currently vacant.

According to the city, two of the department’s three police captains are currently on leave for unspecified reasons. Multiple sources have told JohnGlidden.com that Lee Horton and Joe Iacono are the two captains on leave.

While he didn’t discharge his weapon, Horton was in close proximity during the shooting death of Sean Monterrosa outside a Vallejo Walgreens. Responding to reports of looting at the store during the early morning hours of June 2, Horton’s vehicle was rammed by a fleeing car.

Horton can be heard over the radio stating that Monterrosa is armed, before correcting himself to say that the 22-year-old San Francisco man might be armed. At the same time, an unmarked police vehicle enters the store parking lot as Vallejo det. Jarrett Tonn fires his high-powered rifle five times from the backseat of the vehicle.

Monterrosa, who was carrying a 15 inch hammer in his sweatshirt pocket was hit once in the throat, dying at the scene.

Tuesday’s proposed action is occurring under the auspices of an emergency declared by the city, which was challenged by the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association.

Officials have pointed to increased crime, the prospect of defending itself in at least two dozen federal civil lawsuits involving the policing department, and the community’s lack of trust in the department and its officers, as reasons for declaring an emergency proclamation.

“VPD’s ability to manage and impact crime rates is related to the public’s willingness to
assist the City in that effort,” Nyhoff added. “The crisis of legitimacy and trust makes it more difficult to control the crime which has created a public safety emergency endangering the lives and property of Vallejo residents and visitors.”

The union sought a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from declaring a public emergency, giving Vallejo police Chief Shawny Williams the power to make reform decisions without first speaking with the VPOA first.

All three captain positions are represented by the union, while the two deputy police chief positions would be unrepresented.

City Hall is also seeking to add two analyst positions, tasked with reviewing body camera footage, and implement recommendations from the OIR Group report. Officials are further asking for an allocation of $195,000 “for necessary professional services to conduct Internal Affairs investigations, accomplish a comprehensive update of Vallejo Police Department (VPD) policies and procedures consistent with best practices, and additional training for the police department.”

City Hall is anticipating it will cost Vallejo more than a million each year for the additional positions.

The Vallejo City Council will meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday via teleconference. Members of the public may provide public comments during the meeting via ZOOM (https://ZoomRegular.Cityofvallejo.net), or via phone, by dialing (669) 900­6833.

There are three different ways you can view this public meeting: Watch Vallejo local channel 28; stream from the city website: http://www.cityofvallejo.net/Streaming; join the Zoom webinar: https://ZoomRegular.Cityofvallejo.net.

Published by John Glidden

John Glidden is a freelance journalist reporting on the city of Vallejo. The native Vallejoan also covers the local school district, Vallejo elections, and public safety.

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