The city of Davis could consider a novel police overhaul in the coming months: changing the name of its police department.

Davis City Councilman Will Arnold submitted a proposal this week to change the Davis Police Department name to the Department of Community Safety.

“The fundamental reforms I propose begin with renaming and reimagining our community safety system here in Davis,” said Councilmember Will Arnold in his proposal emailed to The Sacramento Bee. “It is a start, but it cannot end there. We need to take this on together in every other part of our society and culture as well.”

The proposal differs from other efforts at law enforcement changes in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked weeks of protests nationwide and in the capital region.

Minneapolis’s city council, for example, voted last week to advance a plan to create a separate Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, according to the Star Tribune.

Sacramento’s city council approved a police overhaul package Wednesday that includes an inspector general for oversight and a step toward shifting the response for some noncriminal 911 calls away from officers. Those changes were met with criticism by community members who’d rather see the city strip funding from the agency’s $157 million budget.

Arnold said his proposal for Davis would create a sustainable approach to public safety.

He argues that Davis police officers are tasked with too many things in which they are “undertrained and ill-equipped to deal with,” such as homelessness, mental health, drug addiction and domestic violence.

“I appreciate their dedication to serving us in these roles, but this is not what any of them signed up for, nor have they been properly equipped to handle them.

To address this, Arnold said renaming the department is the first step in the right direction.

“I believe a reimagined and renamed Department of Community Safety will lead to such a transition, away from the traditional law enforcement approach, and toward a system that more appropriately deploys personnel for the task at hand,” he said.

The proposal has not yet been scheduled to go before the City Council.


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