DAVIS – City officers and University of California, Davis police geared up for Picnic Day in Davis on Saturday in hopes to avoid alterations, like the violent incident that occurred last year, by making some changes to their policy.
The incident between Davis police and party goers at last year’s Picnic Day, a video of which went viral, resulted in five arrests and an independent investigation.
The investigation revealed that the officers’ unmarked car and plain clothes played a role in the fight.
This year, the department has made changes in their dress code while in attendance at UC Davis’ annual open house or Picnic Day.
The Davis Police Department says every year there are things they do well and things they do not do well at the event when they are monitoring the campus and surrounding areas but say the biggest change this year is their plain clothes policy. They have made it more strict; now people can clearly see there are officers patrolling.
“We made amendments to our plain clothes policy that made them a lot more restrictive and rightfully so,” said Lt. Paul Doroshov of Davis Police. “I think that was a very good idea,” he said.
With anywhere from 50-75 thousand people taking in the parade and Picnic Day fun, officers for UC Davis and the city were fully visible around campus and downtown.
Though last year’s incident did not take place on campus, UC Davis’ police force said they discussed it with officers from other universities that came out to help.
“[University of California officers] are used to the college environment, they understand college life,” said Capt. Jennifer Garcia of the UC Davis Police Department. “They understand these types of events, so it just works out best for us,” she said.
Every UC Davis officer is working the event, according to the department. With the help of nearby agencies, they also have 50 officers patrolling areas where parties tend to pop up.
“Russell Boulevard is one,” said Doroshov. “Downtown gets busy a little later at night and sometimes we just have parties popping up depending on where the rentals are,” he said.
As for a potential repeat of last year, the department says the review of what transpired will only help the Davis Police Department manage the large crowds that await them this year.
“There’s always concerns, I think every year,” said Doroshov. “Every year we do some things really well and we do somethings where, [when] we debrief, we figure out how we need to do them better. I think that type of open critique is essential to an organization that is growing and improving,” he said.