East Palo Alto, Ca., Police Chief Ronald L. Davis was officially named director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) by Attorney General Eric Holder. The announcement was made yesterday, Davis’ first day of work, but it was reported earlier by the San Jose Mercury News in this digest. Davis, chief in East Palo Alto since 2005, had worked in the Oakland Police Department for 19 years, where he rose to Captain and served in assignments including Police Academy Director, Criminal Investigations Commander, Patrol Commander and Inspector General of the Police Department.
Holder called Davis “an experienced leader, a proven innovator, and an accomplished and highly-respected law enforcement officer.” In East Palo Alto, said the Justice Department, Davis “led an organizational reform and community-policing effort that increased public trust and confidence and achieved dramatic crime and violence reductions in a city once dubbed the murder capital of the United States.” He partnered with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to implement a pilot parole-reentry program that provided programming and enforcement services and a job program with the California Department of Transportation. The East Palo Alto department was the first police agency in the state to operate a state-funded reentry program. Return-to-custody rates dropped from more than 60 percent to less than 20 percent during the program.