Sacto 9-1-1
April 19, 2012
UPDATE: UC Davis swears in Carmichael as police chief for one year

By Darrell Smith
dvsmith@sacbee.com

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi announced this afternoon that Matt Carmichael is the new chief of the embattled campus police force.

Carmichael, the acting police chief, was named to the top post to replace Chief Annette M. Spicuzza who announced her retirement Wednesday. She had been suspended while various investigations of the campus Nov. 18 pepper-spray incident remain under way.

The chancellor swore Carmichael into the new job in front of his family, the campus police department, and chiefs of police of other agencies.

In her statement, Katehi said Carmichael will serve as police chief for a term of one year.

She said the university will launch a national search for police chief in the latter part of his term and she has encouraged Carmichael to apply for the job.

"Matt fully supports this approach and I am hopeful he will apply for the permanent position," she said in her statement. "Matt's service as acting chief during the past five months has been extraordinary, during some very demanding circumstances."

In addition, Katehi announced structural changes in who provides oversight of the department. It will now be under the purview of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. "The provost is our campus's chief academic and operating officer, and this transfer will ensure that, going forward, the department will be closely aligned with our core academic mission and values," she said.

Katehi said the university has asked the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training "to conduct a comprehensive audit of all Police Department operations" to ensure the department is up to standards.

According to the university's public relations department, Carmichael has been in law enforcement for 27 years, serving the last 10 years as a lieutenant at UC Davis. He had served as acting chief since Nov. 21.

At the ceremony, Carmichael said rebuilding trust between his department and the campus community will be his "top priority."

"You're going to see officers on foot. You're going to see officers on bicycles. You're going to know us by name," Carmichael said.

In announcing her retirement Wednesday, Spicuzza said she was leaving so that the pepper-spray incident and aftermath would not be the "defining moment" for the university or her 27 year career in law enforcement, and that she wanted to close that "chapter" of her life.

Spicuzza was suspended several days after the incident. Lt. John Pike, who sprayed students and protesters at a demonstration on the quad that day, also was suspended. Both have declined to speak publicly about the incident and were placed on paid leave while a confidential internal affairs investigation was conducted.

That probe is largely complete but there has been no word yet on what actions may stem from its findings.

While Pike became the focus of worldwide attention after video footage showed him using pepper spray on a group of protesters that day, Spicuzza came in for criticism last week with the release of a task force report on the incident.

The report -- which was highly critical of both the campus police and top administrators, including Katehi -- labeled police operations as "dysfunctional.

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