Formerly Fired Police Captain Nick Concolino on Short List for Police Chief

Last night the Davis Enterprise reported that the city has seven final candidates for the position of Police Chief and that one of those candidates is not interim Chief Steve Pierce.

City Manager Bill Emlen was quoted as saying:

“We’d like to find somebody who’s going to be around for a while, is able to set the department forward with clear vision and will be able to implement that vision.”

City Manager Bill Emlen not only has not disclosed the list of finalists to the press, but he has not disclosed it to the city council. While this is a personnel matter, it would not be inappropriate to divulge the names of candidates particularly to the members of the council. Several sources have informed us that this is a highly unusual move by the City Manager. While some personnel matters are confidential, the names of those on a short list are not–particularly to the City Council who is ostensibly his boss.

The People’s Vanguard of Davis has learned from multiple well-placed sources that one of these seven finalists is former Davis Police Captain Nick Concolino who was dismissed from the Davis Police Department in June of 2000 by then Police Chief Jerry Gonzales and then City Manager John Meyer.

Furthermore, our sources tell us, that there is a strong behind the scenes movement lobbying for his hire as the new police chief. Former Davis City Councilmember and current Yolo County Judge Dave Rosenberg, who is a very close and personal friend of Concolino, is according to well-placed sources actively lobbying for his hire. Moreover there is strong speculation that the Davis Police Officer’s Association is also strongly moving for his hire. Finally Lt. Darren Pytel is said to be strongly in favor of such a move as well. Pytel may himself have future ambitions toward this position and may believe that such a hire would pave the way for his eventual ascension to the chief position.

The nature of personnel matters is shrouded in confidentiality agreements that prevent the release of reasons for a dismissal. As such, the public and even the City Council at the time were never informed of the reasons. We spoke with the Mayor of Davis during the time of the dismissal, Ken Wagstaff. He expressed his frustration stating, “this was the most frustrating thing about being on the council.”

Any hire of Nick Concolino would re-open old wounds. This action resulted in a huge and ugly controversy as the Davis Police Officer’s Association (DPOA) and many citizens campaigned against the dismissal of Concolino and then began an orchestrated campaign against Chief Gonzales. In response many citizens and civil rights activists came to the defense of Chief Gonzales.

Prior to this controversy, both Gonzales and Concolino were well liked by Davis citizens and both were longtime Davis residents.

Both Gonzales and Concolino were longtime police officers with the city of Davis and both had been good friends for many years. This ugly controversy split the community and eventually resulted in Chief Gonzales resigning from his position in December 2000.

Gonzales was a 20-year veteran with the Davis PD. He had advanced through the ranks from patrol officer, to sergeant, to lieutenant and finally to captain before being selected as Chief of Police in 1996.

Gonzales had been selected to replace Chief Phil Coleman who resigned following being reprimanded for sexual harassment of female police employees. Indeed, the city had settled several civil complaints brought on by Chief Coleman’s inappropriate behavior.

Concolino began his career with the UC Davis Police Department and transferred to the Davis Police Department. Every time Gonzales was promoted, Concolino was selected to succeed to Gonzales’ old position, due in large part to recommendations by Jerry Gonzales to promote his friend Nick Concolino to succeed him. When Gonzalez was promoted to Police Chief, he selected Concolino to succeed him as captain. Concolino then became one of only two captains on the force joining the senior captain Leo Sacket.

Concolino’s transfer from the UC Davis to the Davis Police Department is also shrouded in mystery. Concolino had been a seven year veteran of the UC Davis police department when some incident occurred that resulted in his dismissal.

While the events leading to Concolino’s firing from the Davis Police Deparmtent are still largely a mystery. Concolino himself as recently as this past June claims not to know the reason why he was dismissed. Davis Enterprise Columnist Bob Dunning ran a long series of defenses of Concolino that stirred up a strong public backlash against Chief Jerry Gonzalez that many believe ultimately led to the no-confidence vote that ultimately cost him his job. Dunning defended Concolino as a family man and a little league coach who was wrongly fired.

However, sources tell us that Nick Concolino’s firing was due to strong insubordination, political backstabbing, and attempts to undermine the Police Chief by rallying the support of the rank and file against him. He would often refuse to take orders from the Police Chief Gonzales and Senior Captain Leo Sacket who was the number two person in the department by seniority.

In the year leading up to Concolino’s dismissal it was becoming common knowledge that Nick Concolino was creating a division within the department by openly challenging and competing with the senior Captain Leo Sacket. Concolino was also currying favor with the DPOA who was increasingly becoming upset with Chief Gonzales who would engage the community in dialogue and when appropriate correct or discipline his officers.

Concolino was both openly and behind the scenes insubordinate to his superiors, which was causing dissention in the ranks and negatively impacting morale.

John Meyer would eventually advise Police Chief Gonzales to dismiss Concolino. Meyer would then accept a new position at UC Davis. He was thus not the City Manager during the many months of controversy that would follow the firing and was not in a position to defend or guide the police chief.

Concolino used his power and influence to undermine the police chief and try to gain reinstatement. They would eventually come to terms on a rather generous severance package that included one year of pay and benefits.

The City Council upon the resignation of Police Chief Jim Hyde and their subsequent dismissal of the Human Relations Commission, conveyed the concern about the tone of dialogue in the city and the divisiveness between various groups. If that is a true concern, bringing Nick Concolino back in the position of police chief would open many raw wounds.

There are strong concerns among civil rights and social justice groups in Davis about the signal that would be sent by the hiring of Concolino. Moreover, given the nature of the political dynamics in the department, the hiring of Concolino at the behest of powerful cliqués within the DPOA would signal to them that they would have free reign and would limit the power of Concolino to control his department in the face of many issues that confront it in the wake of last year’s controversies. This would be a strong step backwards.

Moreover, if the City Council is to approve this hiring (if it indeed occurs), it would seem entirely appropriate, indeed a requirement, that Concolino should be compelled to waive his confidentiality clause and reveal to the present city council the reasons for his dismissal. Current council members should seek to force this action if necessary.

The current city manager would be well-advised despite the strong political pressure on him to look to someone with a fresh perspective from outside the department that can heal rather than inflame the wounds in this community.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Law Enforcement

59 comments

  1. Longtime Davis Enterprise readers will no doubt remember the article about Nick Concolino’s life after firing, in which he now (as an explosives instructor for the FBI, ATF, etc.) makes double what he used to make. If he returns to Davis PD, it’ll most likely be in the spirit of community service, since he obviously has nothing to gain (financially) by doing so. I’m not worried…

  2. Longtime Davis Enterprise readers will no doubt remember the article about Nick Concolino’s life after firing, in which he now (as an explosives instructor for the FBI, ATF, etc.) makes double what he used to make. If he returns to Davis PD, it’ll most likely be in the spirit of community service, since he obviously has nothing to gain (financially) by doing so. I’m not worried…

  3. Longtime Davis Enterprise readers will no doubt remember the article about Nick Concolino’s life after firing, in which he now (as an explosives instructor for the FBI, ATF, etc.) makes double what he used to make. If he returns to Davis PD, it’ll most likely be in the spirit of community service, since he obviously has nothing to gain (financially) by doing so. I’m not worried…

  4. Longtime Davis Enterprise readers will no doubt remember the article about Nick Concolino’s life after firing, in which he now (as an explosives instructor for the FBI, ATF, etc.) makes double what he used to make. If he returns to Davis PD, it’ll most likely be in the spirit of community service, since he obviously has nothing to gain (financially) by doing so. I’m not worried…

  5. There must be strong pressure on Emlen to have Concilino on the short list. To bow to this pressure and place him on the list is one thing but to select Concilino for Police Chief would signal an absence of “backbone” that would effectively mark the end of Emlen’s brief career as Davis city manager. Emlen is well aware, as we all were at the time, that Concilino was insubordinate and was provoking the same among the Davis police officer ranks. This is a time to show political courage and move forward with new leadership.

  6. There must be strong pressure on Emlen to have Concilino on the short list. To bow to this pressure and place him on the list is one thing but to select Concilino for Police Chief would signal an absence of “backbone” that would effectively mark the end of Emlen’s brief career as Davis city manager. Emlen is well aware, as we all were at the time, that Concilino was insubordinate and was provoking the same among the Davis police officer ranks. This is a time to show political courage and move forward with new leadership.

  7. There must be strong pressure on Emlen to have Concilino on the short list. To bow to this pressure and place him on the list is one thing but to select Concilino for Police Chief would signal an absence of “backbone” that would effectively mark the end of Emlen’s brief career as Davis city manager. Emlen is well aware, as we all were at the time, that Concilino was insubordinate and was provoking the same among the Davis police officer ranks. This is a time to show political courage and move forward with new leadership.

  8. There must be strong pressure on Emlen to have Concilino on the short list. To bow to this pressure and place him on the list is one thing but to select Concilino for Police Chief would signal an absence of “backbone” that would effectively mark the end of Emlen’s brief career as Davis city manager. Emlen is well aware, as we all were at the time, that Concilino was insubordinate and was provoking the same among the Davis police officer ranks. This is a time to show political courage and move forward with new leadership.

  9. The potential hiring of Concolino is just more evidence of what is wrong about the city of Davis government—the lack of accountability and the lack of transparency. Our city government is filled with nepotism, favoritism and the hiring of incompetents or inappropriate people into positions of power. The hiring of Concolino would be most inappropriate.

    The Concolino firing in 2000, inflamed by his supporters and partisans such as Bob Dunning and the DPOA with the help of the Davis Enterprise bias, severely divided this town. Last year we saw another episode of this show with many of the same players at work during the police controversy regarding the Buzayan Family, Chief Hyde, the civilian police oversight proposal and the City Council/Human Relations Commission fiasco.

    Hiring Concolino would only further divide this community.

  10. The potential hiring of Concolino is just more evidence of what is wrong about the city of Davis government—the lack of accountability and the lack of transparency. Our city government is filled with nepotism, favoritism and the hiring of incompetents or inappropriate people into positions of power. The hiring of Concolino would be most inappropriate.

    The Concolino firing in 2000, inflamed by his supporters and partisans such as Bob Dunning and the DPOA with the help of the Davis Enterprise bias, severely divided this town. Last year we saw another episode of this show with many of the same players at work during the police controversy regarding the Buzayan Family, Chief Hyde, the civilian police oversight proposal and the City Council/Human Relations Commission fiasco.

    Hiring Concolino would only further divide this community.

  11. The potential hiring of Concolino is just more evidence of what is wrong about the city of Davis government—the lack of accountability and the lack of transparency. Our city government is filled with nepotism, favoritism and the hiring of incompetents or inappropriate people into positions of power. The hiring of Concolino would be most inappropriate.

    The Concolino firing in 2000, inflamed by his supporters and partisans such as Bob Dunning and the DPOA with the help of the Davis Enterprise bias, severely divided this town. Last year we saw another episode of this show with many of the same players at work during the police controversy regarding the Buzayan Family, Chief Hyde, the civilian police oversight proposal and the City Council/Human Relations Commission fiasco.

    Hiring Concolino would only further divide this community.

  12. The potential hiring of Concolino is just more evidence of what is wrong about the city of Davis government—the lack of accountability and the lack of transparency. Our city government is filled with nepotism, favoritism and the hiring of incompetents or inappropriate people into positions of power. The hiring of Concolino would be most inappropriate.

    The Concolino firing in 2000, inflamed by his supporters and partisans such as Bob Dunning and the DPOA with the help of the Davis Enterprise bias, severely divided this town. Last year we saw another episode of this show with many of the same players at work during the police controversy regarding the Buzayan Family, Chief Hyde, the civilian police oversight proposal and the City Council/Human Relations Commission fiasco.

    Hiring Concolino would only further divide this community.

  13. I take exception with the first anonymous comment posted today. Money? Concolino makes more money after being fired from the Davis PD, therefore his only intention in applying to be police chief is out of a sense of community service?

    Give me a break. The man’s ego, insubordination and eventual firing caused him public embarrassment. Concolino was not reinstated which he and his supporters wanted. His firing was upheld. He has never held another employment position, since being fired, with any other law enforcement agency.

    Concolino wants the chief’s job, in fact, has applied for the job to achieve his goal of reinstatement and redemption. To prove his critics wrong by becoming police chief and leading the very organization he was fired from would be worth a lot more than money. You are right, this isn’t about money. But you are wrong, this is not about returning “in the spirit of community service”, it is about ego.

  14. I take exception with the first anonymous comment posted today. Money? Concolino makes more money after being fired from the Davis PD, therefore his only intention in applying to be police chief is out of a sense of community service?

    Give me a break. The man’s ego, insubordination and eventual firing caused him public embarrassment. Concolino was not reinstated which he and his supporters wanted. His firing was upheld. He has never held another employment position, since being fired, with any other law enforcement agency.

    Concolino wants the chief’s job, in fact, has applied for the job to achieve his goal of reinstatement and redemption. To prove his critics wrong by becoming police chief and leading the very organization he was fired from would be worth a lot more than money. You are right, this isn’t about money. But you are wrong, this is not about returning “in the spirit of community service”, it is about ego.

  15. I take exception with the first anonymous comment posted today. Money? Concolino makes more money after being fired from the Davis PD, therefore his only intention in applying to be police chief is out of a sense of community service?

    Give me a break. The man’s ego, insubordination and eventual firing caused him public embarrassment. Concolino was not reinstated which he and his supporters wanted. His firing was upheld. He has never held another employment position, since being fired, with any other law enforcement agency.

    Concolino wants the chief’s job, in fact, has applied for the job to achieve his goal of reinstatement and redemption. To prove his critics wrong by becoming police chief and leading the very organization he was fired from would be worth a lot more than money. You are right, this isn’t about money. But you are wrong, this is not about returning “in the spirit of community service”, it is about ego.

  16. I take exception with the first anonymous comment posted today. Money? Concolino makes more money after being fired from the Davis PD, therefore his only intention in applying to be police chief is out of a sense of community service?

    Give me a break. The man’s ego, insubordination and eventual firing caused him public embarrassment. Concolino was not reinstated which he and his supporters wanted. His firing was upheld. He has never held another employment position, since being fired, with any other law enforcement agency.

    Concolino wants the chief’s job, in fact, has applied for the job to achieve his goal of reinstatement and redemption. To prove his critics wrong by becoming police chief and leading the very organization he was fired from would be worth a lot more than money. You are right, this isn’t about money. But you are wrong, this is not about returning “in the spirit of community service”, it is about ego.

  17. Folks, I don’t think this is good news for those of us concerned about civil rights. I have heard from people in the know that there were various factions within the Davis Police Department and the faction supporting Concolino back in the day, were known to some as white supremacists, not in the sense of hoods and robes, but in the anti-civil rights sort of sense. If he wins, they win. That’s bad news for the rest of us.

  18. Folks, I don’t think this is good news for those of us concerned about civil rights. I have heard from people in the know that there were various factions within the Davis Police Department and the faction supporting Concolino back in the day, were known to some as white supremacists, not in the sense of hoods and robes, but in the anti-civil rights sort of sense. If he wins, they win. That’s bad news for the rest of us.

  19. Folks, I don’t think this is good news for those of us concerned about civil rights. I have heard from people in the know that there were various factions within the Davis Police Department and the faction supporting Concolino back in the day, were known to some as white supremacists, not in the sense of hoods and robes, but in the anti-civil rights sort of sense. If he wins, they win. That’s bad news for the rest of us.

  20. Folks, I don’t think this is good news for those of us concerned about civil rights. I have heard from people in the know that there were various factions within the Davis Police Department and the faction supporting Concolino back in the day, were known to some as white supremacists, not in the sense of hoods and robes, but in the anti-civil rights sort of sense. If he wins, they win. That’s bad news for the rest of us.

  21. I do not really care who is selected as long as that person insists that Davis police officers are honest all of the time. That is a quality missing in at least several of the officers.

    As far as the discussion about money. The new Chief pads his retirement pension at 3% per year at Chief’ salary. All of the past accrued percentage (3% times years worked) is factored up to the higher salary. There are obvious pension advantages to working for a few years as Chief.SAH

  22. I do not really care who is selected as long as that person insists that Davis police officers are honest all of the time. That is a quality missing in at least several of the officers.

    As far as the discussion about money. The new Chief pads his retirement pension at 3% per year at Chief’ salary. All of the past accrued percentage (3% times years worked) is factored up to the higher salary. There are obvious pension advantages to working for a few years as Chief.SAH

  23. I do not really care who is selected as long as that person insists that Davis police officers are honest all of the time. That is a quality missing in at least several of the officers.

    As far as the discussion about money. The new Chief pads his retirement pension at 3% per year at Chief’ salary. All of the past accrued percentage (3% times years worked) is factored up to the higher salary. There are obvious pension advantages to working for a few years as Chief.SAH

  24. I do not really care who is selected as long as that person insists that Davis police officers are honest all of the time. That is a quality missing in at least several of the officers.

    As far as the discussion about money. The new Chief pads his retirement pension at 3% per year at Chief’ salary. All of the past accrued percentage (3% times years worked) is factored up to the higher salary. There are obvious pension advantages to working for a few years as Chief.SAH

  25. One of the reasons Concolino was fired was due to incompetence with explosives. Concolino is a bomb “expert” and at the time of his dismissal was commander of the “bomb squad” tasked with diffusing bombs in Davis and countywide. He violated departmental policy by carelessly leaving explosives stored out at the firing range shed north of Davis. The Davis Fire Department responded to a fire call at the range not knowing that there were live explosives stored there. Had they known, they would have approached the fire much differently than they did to protect both themselves and others. Fortunately, no one was killed, but the Fire Department lodged an internal complaint against Concolino and the Police Department. The Fire Department demanded that all government owned explosives be stored in safe areas and that the Fire Department must know at all times where those storage areas are. It only makes sense to protect both employees and the public.

  26. One of the reasons Concolino was fired was due to incompetence with explosives. Concolino is a bomb “expert” and at the time of his dismissal was commander of the “bomb squad” tasked with diffusing bombs in Davis and countywide. He violated departmental policy by carelessly leaving explosives stored out at the firing range shed north of Davis. The Davis Fire Department responded to a fire call at the range not knowing that there were live explosives stored there. Had they known, they would have approached the fire much differently than they did to protect both themselves and others. Fortunately, no one was killed, but the Fire Department lodged an internal complaint against Concolino and the Police Department. The Fire Department demanded that all government owned explosives be stored in safe areas and that the Fire Department must know at all times where those storage areas are. It only makes sense to protect both employees and the public.

  27. One of the reasons Concolino was fired was due to incompetence with explosives. Concolino is a bomb “expert” and at the time of his dismissal was commander of the “bomb squad” tasked with diffusing bombs in Davis and countywide. He violated departmental policy by carelessly leaving explosives stored out at the firing range shed north of Davis. The Davis Fire Department responded to a fire call at the range not knowing that there were live explosives stored there. Had they known, they would have approached the fire much differently than they did to protect both themselves and others. Fortunately, no one was killed, but the Fire Department lodged an internal complaint against Concolino and the Police Department. The Fire Department demanded that all government owned explosives be stored in safe areas and that the Fire Department must know at all times where those storage areas are. It only makes sense to protect both employees and the public.

  28. One of the reasons Concolino was fired was due to incompetence with explosives. Concolino is a bomb “expert” and at the time of his dismissal was commander of the “bomb squad” tasked with diffusing bombs in Davis and countywide. He violated departmental policy by carelessly leaving explosives stored out at the firing range shed north of Davis. The Davis Fire Department responded to a fire call at the range not knowing that there were live explosives stored there. Had they known, they would have approached the fire much differently than they did to protect both themselves and others. Fortunately, no one was killed, but the Fire Department lodged an internal complaint against Concolino and the Police Department. The Fire Department demanded that all government owned explosives be stored in safe areas and that the Fire Department must know at all times where those storage areas are. It only makes sense to protect both employees and the public.

  29. The post above confirms a story I was told yesterday by one of the councilmembers at the time, but I never got a second person to confirm it, so I did not include it in the story originally.

  30. The post above confirms a story I was told yesterday by one of the councilmembers at the time, but I never got a second person to confirm it, so I did not include it in the story originally.

  31. The post above confirms a story I was told yesterday by one of the councilmembers at the time, but I never got a second person to confirm it, so I did not include it in the story originally.

  32. The post above confirms a story I was told yesterday by one of the councilmembers at the time, but I never got a second person to confirm it, so I did not include it in the story originally.

  33. Commander of the “bomb squad”

    I suppose that is an important position, but I can not help being amused. What do they do? – diffuse firecrackers? Woodland has a bomb squad also. It seems there are an awful lot of bomb squads for a place without any bombs.SAH

  34. Commander of the “bomb squad”

    I suppose that is an important position, but I can not help being amused. What do they do? – diffuse firecrackers? Woodland has a bomb squad also. It seems there are an awful lot of bomb squads for a place without any bombs.SAH

  35. Commander of the “bomb squad”

    I suppose that is an important position, but I can not help being amused. What do they do? – diffuse firecrackers? Woodland has a bomb squad also. It seems there are an awful lot of bomb squads for a place without any bombs.SAH

  36. Commander of the “bomb squad”

    I suppose that is an important position, but I can not help being amused. What do they do? – diffuse firecrackers? Woodland has a bomb squad also. It seems there are an awful lot of bomb squads for a place without any bombs.SAH

  37. you’d be surprised, actually, how many bombs the police have to deal with. a stick of dynamite left in a barn for a decade or so can be extremely dangerous if not handled correctly.

  38. you’d be surprised, actually, how many bombs the police have to deal with. a stick of dynamite left in a barn for a decade or so can be extremely dangerous if not handled correctly.

  39. you’d be surprised, actually, how many bombs the police have to deal with. a stick of dynamite left in a barn for a decade or so can be extremely dangerous if not handled correctly.

  40. you’d be surprised, actually, how many bombs the police have to deal with. a stick of dynamite left in a barn for a decade or so can be extremely dangerous if not handled correctly.

  41. Concolino is supported by Pytel? Who would even want to admit that!!?? Hiring Concolino would be an embarrassment to the DPD. Gonzales was an excellent Chief and the DPOA was annoyed that he expected them to look and act in a professional manner. They objected to his several attempts at getting them to go to diversity training (go figure). This issue is so incredibly divisive, they should hire from the outside.

  42. Concolino is supported by Pytel? Who would even want to admit that!!?? Hiring Concolino would be an embarrassment to the DPD. Gonzales was an excellent Chief and the DPOA was annoyed that he expected them to look and act in a professional manner. They objected to his several attempts at getting them to go to diversity training (go figure). This issue is so incredibly divisive, they should hire from the outside.

  43. Concolino is supported by Pytel? Who would even want to admit that!!?? Hiring Concolino would be an embarrassment to the DPD. Gonzales was an excellent Chief and the DPOA was annoyed that he expected them to look and act in a professional manner. They objected to his several attempts at getting them to go to diversity training (go figure). This issue is so incredibly divisive, they should hire from the outside.