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Independent Investigation Determines Ukiah Police Did Not Violate Policies During Use of Force Incident Involving Mentally-Ill Man

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The following is a press release issued by the City of Ukiah:

UkiahPoliceDepartment

An independent investigation has been completed, examining the Ukiah Police Department (UPD) response on April 1, 2021 to an individual who was exhibiting erratic behavior in public. During the incident, a number of methods to subdue and restrain the individual were used, and there was community concern whether the actions were consistent with applicable laws, policies, standards, training and best practices.

Independent Investigative Consultants, LLC was engaged by the City of Ukiah to conduct the investigation. They independently investigated how the Ukiah Police Department officers responded to the call for service on April 1, the specific tactics that were used to restrain the suspect, and whether those tactics complied with Department policies. The now-complete investigation has concluded that there is no sustained finding that Ukiah PD actions violated the Department’s use of force policy.

“Regardless of the findings, an incident such as this warrants reflection,” said Police Chief Noble Waidelich. “Even though the Police Department policies, including its use of force policy, are adopted to and do comply with state and federal standards, as a new Chief, I want to make sure that my staff are providing the highest level of service possible to our community. I am committed to ensuring that our officers receive the best training, not just the minimum standards. To that end, we are actively partnering with other local agencies with expertise in mental health, disabilities, and substance abuse, as well as obtaining new tools to assist with nonviolent de-escalation.”

Ukiah Police Department is actively engaged in a pilot program in cooperation with Mendocino County that provides for a Mobile Crisis Worker to respond alongside a police officer to calls for service that are likely to have a mental health component. This program is supported by Measure B, which is funding a variety of mental health programs and facilities throughout the County. The Mobile Crisis Response Team is now available 8 am to 6 pm seven days a week, and the County has secured grant funding to increase staffing for this program and to fund costs of infrastructure for its deployment, including vehicles. Additionally, UPD has partnered with the Redwood Coast Regional Center for an upcoming training specifically on officer interactions with people with disabilities.

To ensure that UPD’s policies are consistently in proper alignment with state and federal standards, UPD partners with Lexipol, the nation’s leading content, policy and training platform for public safety agencies. This helps the Ukiah Police Department remain progressive in delivering the highest levels of public service and adopt community response protocols that are based on national best practices. In 2021 the Ukiah Police Department was recognized by the Lexipol Connect program for achieving Gold level status for consistently and effectively disseminating policies to officers, issuing timely policy updates as laws change, and ensuring officer are trained on policies. Additionally, UPD participates in the state’s voluntary POST program, the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training. As a participating agency, UPD abides by the Commission’s standards and receives expert guidance on implementing state standards, rules, regulations and training.

Chief Waidelich continued, “After considerable reflection, we must focus on how we move forward. I am choosing to take this department in a direction where it is commonplace to see staff lending a helping hand and assisting all of our community. For example, earlier this month, when the Redwood Empire Food Bank was short staffed, UPD stepped in to help. We’re attending neighborhood meetings and working daily to provide services that support a higher quality of life for all residents. I am also committed to hiring staff who reflect the makeup of our community, because this is our home, too.”

Transparency continues to be a priority as well, and the current UPD policy manual, along with previous versions, is posted online and available anytime for public review. It can be found at http://www.ukiahpolice.com, under the “About” tab, titled “UPD Policy Manual”.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. They still Police themselves, what investigation, why investigate. How do punch someone that is not punching you?

  2. Po;ice are afraid on non compliance. “failure to communicate” Get Your thinking right!. Anyone who is not cowed by police is a threat to police subjugation.

  3. Use a net, they should put some padded gloves on. The Police officer punched the man in the tooth. The Officer should be charged for abuse. A dead leg would of been wiser. The whole world is a joke. What would of Jesus or a Crisis team done. Been more patient less abusive. The Police can get away with anything is not right. The man was never physical. They could of lassoed the man & walked him back to the Hospital.without bruises & officers cut knuckles. The officer could of lost his hand if the right infection entered his hand, the mouth is the dirtiest region of the body or can be. I bet some other officers would or could of handled it differently.

    • Police aren’t trained to be Jesus disciples . They are are trained to be hammers and suspects are the nails!

  4. After watching the entire video of the incident I was disgusted with the actions of the officers. If this is within their policies, a better look at their policies and procedures is extremely necessary especially when it comes to an unarmed mentally ill individual who is not fighting back but merely trying to protect himself. Knowledge is power! Had the officers known that yelling at a mentally ill person who is possibly on drugs was not going to get a response maybe the outcome would have been different. It’s time to get up to speed with appropriate training! Incidents like this should not take place in our community!

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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