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Boyd recalls challenge, ‘honor’ of leading Cal Police Chiefs Assoc.

Citrus Heights Police Chief Chris Boyd, police interceptor SUV. Photo credit: Luke Otterstad
Citrus Heights Police Chief Christopher Boyd stands in front of several of CHPD’s new Police Interceptor SUVs.

Citrus Heights Police Chief Christopher Boyd recently finished a one-year term as president of an association representing 334 police chiefs across California, calling it an honor and major highlight of his career — as well as a challenge.

“Just getting into my term, we were really thrown with some national issues that we had to quickly adjust to,” said Boyd, referencing Ferguson, criticism of police use-of-force, and what he called “police-community trust” issues. Additionally, Boyd said the California Police Chiefs Association had to respond to state legislation brought forward relating to these national issues.

While still maintaining his position as Citrus Heights police chief, Boyd said he quickly re-focused the state-level association by forming workgroups related to national issues like police militarization, body-worn cameras, privacy, and community trust. He said the workgroups are still in the process of developing “best practices and procedures,” with results expected this summer.

With a paid staff and an office downtown, the non-profit Cal Chiefs association was founded in 1966 to serve as “the voice of and resource of choice” for municipal police chiefs across the state.

Calling legislation “a big, if not the bulk” of what Cal Chiefs addresses, Boyd said one of his term’s accomplishments was to hire another full-time lobbyist — bringing the association’s total up to two lobbyists.

“We’re either battling bad legislation that we believe would hurt our ability to protect the public, or we’re carrying forward legislation that we think will help us do our jobs better,” Boyd said of Cal Chiefs’ main task.

The 48-year old police chief also said a key accomplishment was developing relationships in the Capitol with leaders like Governor Jerry Brown, who he said has been “good for law enforcement.” Boyd said he was honored to have a close connection with the governor, describing it as a “cell phone relationship” – although he said Brown “doesn’t text.”

He credited such relationship-building as a factor in why Governor Brown vetoed all three bills Cal Chiefs requested a veto on last year, including AB 1327, which would have imposed restrictions on future law enforcement use of drones in both private and public places without a warrant, according to Boyd.

Reflecting on his term, the chief said he’s “probably most proud” of helping “secure” $40 million in the state budget to aid police departments in handling probationers released under a 2011 “prisoner realignment” law – which he said increased the number of “supervised status” prisoners on the streets by about 10 percent in Citrus Heights, and around the state. Boyd said there’s now “well-over a thousand” felons on “supervised status” in Citrus Heights, with the funds secured being vital to help local police keep an eye on those they consider most likely to re-offend.

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Cal Chiefs also played a heavy role in opposing last year’s Proposition 47, an initiative which reduced penalties for certain nonviolent drug and property crimes.

Boyd called the proposition “bad for public safety,” and although unable to persuade the majority of California voters to oppose the proposition, Citrus Heights city council members unanimously passed a resolution against Prop 47, at the chief’s request.

[Related: Citrus Heights council votes 5-0 to oppose Prop 47]

Since passing the presidential torch on to Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano at the end of last month, Boyd said Cal Chiefs is currently sponsoring legislation including a marijuana regulation bill authored by local Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), and SB 262 regarding drone use.

Recalling the time commitment required to serve as president of the state-level chiefs association over the past year, Boyd said he couldn’t have done it without a trusting community, a supportive city council and manager, and a police department “who really stepped up” to run day-to-day operations while he was away.

“You really have to have all those things to do this well — and I did,” said the Citrus Heights chief. “And I feel blessed for that.”

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