VALLEJO, Calif. (KRON) — The Vallejo Police Officers’ Association (VPOA) is describing the city’s police chief, Shawny Williams, as an unethical and failed leader.
The association said they have no confidence in Williams’ leadership and the community is in crisis because of him. The majority of Vallejo police officers support his removal.
Williams took over the department in 2019 and has been running the agency and its staff into the ground, according to attorneys with the VPOA. “He is a failed leader. No one wants to work for Chief Williams. He’s the king,” said Mike Rains, VPOA attorney.
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A news conference was held Wednesday detailing the unanimous vote of no confidence in Chief Williams. Rains said, at the time, the results were shared with City Manager Mike Malone in the form of a signed letter with hopes it would lead to a change in leadership.
However, Malone supports the chief to this day. “These officers have suffered and continue to suffer every day. You know that sometimes there are two officers on the streets of Vallejo patrolling the streets, because the flight of officers under Shawny Williams,” said Rains.
The VPOA said the police department’s sworn staff has been reduced by more than 20 percent since Chief Williams arrived. This is mostly due to officers voluntarily leaving.
The union said the chief has also failed to implement the 45 recommendations made by an independent group hired to evaluate the department in 2020.
Officers claim the 911 dispatch center is experiencing critical staffing levels because of Williams. Multiple officers have filed formal complaints against the chief alleging misconduct including Lieutenant Herman Robinson, who was fired by Williams last year.
Robinson was later reinstated months ago after an arbitrator overruled. “Is that what Vallejo wants in leadership? A vengeful liar who will take down one of Vallejo’s own,” said VPOA attorney.
Rains and Fox advised officers not to speak during Wednesday’s news conference out of fear of retaliation.
While acknowledging the divide between department leadership and staff in a written statement, City Manager Mike Malone said:
“We have seen quantifiable progress and accomplishments in our police department even amidst the many challenges they face. The city council and I continue to express our strong support for Chief Williams and the transformational reform initiatives being employed to create a department that serves the needs and desires of the Vallejo community.
“The evidence is there to support his firing,” said Rains. In response to an email from KRON4, the Vallejo Police Department pointed to its official statement.