Danville Police Chief to Brief Town Council on Officer Training After Killings

Authorities investigate a police shooting in Danville.
NBC Bay Area

Danville Police Chief Allan Shields will brief the Town Council on Tuesday about how his department selects and trains its officers in the wake of Dep. Andrew Hall shooting and killing two men since 2018. 

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office charged Hall on April 21 with voluntary manslaughter and assault with a semi-automatic weapon for killing unarmed 33-year-old Laudemer Arboleda on Nov. 3, 2018.  

Hall shot the Newark man nine times after he attempted to maneuver his car between two police vehicles that pulled him over on Front Street. An investigation by the Contra Costa County's Sheriff's Office -- which contracts with Danville for police services -- initially cleared Hall of any wrongdoing.  

On March 11, 2021, Hall responded to reports of a man throwing rocks onto Interstate Highway 680 from the Sycamore Valley Road overpass. Law enforcement official have said 32-year-old transient Tyrell Wilson approached Hall near the overpass with a folding knife and Hall shot him in self-defense.  

John Burris, a Bay Area-based civil rights attorney representing families of both men Hall killed in civil suits, said witnesses have disputed the official account, saying Wilson was backing up. Burris has said it was a "kill shot" to Wilson's face. Wilson, the African American son of a retired of a retired Southern California police officer, died in the hospital the following week. 

The second shooting is still being investigated. Families of both deceased men said they suffered from mental health issues. 

The report to be presented Tuesday details how Danville officers usually come to the city after serving as Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies, as Hall did. A staff report attached to the meeting agenda says officers are "professional" and "well trained" and undergo specific training in "de-escalation techniques, bias awareness, and cultural diversity."    

The report says Danville applicants are required to be "patrol qualified," meaning they've passed through a basic police academy, have served as a jail deputy, and passed "the rigorous standards of the Office of the Sheriff patrol training program."

Most applicants have "several" years of training and experience before applying in Danville. 

The report also details officers' ongoing training, including at least eight hours of crisis intervention and de-escalation training and at least eight hours of "principled policing class."  

The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training requires racial diversity and cultural diversity training every five years. The report says the training was last conducted as part of the department's 2018 Advanced Officer Cycle. 

The report also says every graduate of the Sheriff's Law Enforcement Training Center received 19 hours of cultural diversity training. 

“Developing and maintaining positive relationships with all members of the community is integral to earning the community's trust and working in partnership with our residents and businesses to keep the town safe," the report concludes. "Out police chief and our officers are always open to community feedback and suggestions on ways to better serve the community and meet expectations for effective policing." 

The Danville Town Council meets virtually at 5 p.m. Tuesday and can be found here.

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