Vacaville (CA) Police Department
Award Year: 2020
Safety Category: General Safety
Additional Award Year:
115 sworn officers
The city of Vacaville is located on I-80 directly between Sacramento and San Francisco. The Chief of Police is John Carli who was appointed Chief in 2014 after working his way up through the department ranks. Chief Carli has always been dedicated to officer safety and is constantly seeking new and innovative programs and equipment to keep his officers safe.
Upon employment with VPD, each officer is issued $11,000 worth of uniforms and equipment. Included in the initial issued equipment is a pistol, shotgun, soft body armor, taser, tactical pistol light, ballistic helmet, body worn camera, traffic safety vest, tourniquet and Narcan.
California POST requires that officers receive 24 hours of training every other year. The narrative says 24 hours every year, but I checked the requirement and it is every other year. VPD provides each officer with in excess of 90 hours per year. The VPD employs a “holistic approach” to training whereby traditional methods of training are combined with other training. For instance, their Emergency Vehicle Operations training also includes defensive tactics training to simulate taking the suspect into custody at the termination of the pursuit. Another example is all firearms training now incorporates de-escalation and crisis intervention (CIT) training scenarios. For training situations involving shoot/don’t shoot scenarios, the department has purchased 30 airsoft pistols, resembling the real pistols used by VPD Officers.
All VPD officers receive advanced tactical medical training from a level 2 trauma surgeon and have access to medical kits which contain a tourniquet, Quick-Clot, chest seals and Curlex gauze. In 2017 patrol officers were credited with using this equipment to save the life of a suspect immediately after an officer-involved shooting.
Since 2016 the VPD implemented extensive officer training in mass casualty violent crime Incidents. A group of specially trained officers conduct scenario-based training annually for its officers. These trainers to date have also provided 20 separate presentations to other city departments, schools local and faith-based organizations. Training for the community is free of charge.
In 2019, VPD coordinated a multi-agency critical incident mass shooter exercise. This exercise was conducted at a local church campus and 90% of VPD officers attended, as well as 80 role players and three outside agencies. VPD also regularly trains with local fire departments to collectively train officers and firefighters to work together to safely extract victims. Grant funding was secured to now provide local firefighters with ballistic helmets. Between patrol officers and specialized units, VPD now has 60 patrol rifles.
The VPD also has a 20 member SWAT team which includes a specially trained trauma surgeon from a local Kaiser Hospital. SWAT is a collateral assignment for officers in addition to their regular duties. Due to some violent areas of the city, for calls that do not escalate to a full SWAT call-out, first line patrol supervisors are authorized to assemble those SWAT officers already on duty for calls that require distraction devices (flash-bangs grenades), shotgun breaching, chemical agents and the department’s armored rescue vehicle.
The VPD also deploys drones for aerial observation and real-time information gathering. Information gathered by the on board drone camera is sent to directly to the on scene incident commander to assist in decision making. Each drone is piloted by a specially trained FAA certified police officer.