Vallejo Police Chief Jason Ta leaves a Vallejo City Council meeting, bag of documents in hand. The images catches him mid-stride. He is an Asian American man in his 50s in a dark blue police chief's uniform. The first several rows of seats are nearly empty of audience members.
Interim Vallejo Police Chief Jason Ta leaves the Vallejo City Council chambers on Feb. 14, 2023. Credit: Geoffrey King / Open Vallejo

The department asserts in its presentation that it has completed or partially completed 91% of the 45 reform recommendations overseen by the California DOJ. But one notable stakeholder was left out of the department’s assessment — the DOJ.

“Review status and progress assigned by VPD only,” several of the report’s slides read. “Not endorsed by CalDOJ.”

Open Vallejo filed an immediate disclosure request for the report Monday morning after the city initially did not disclose it alongside the council meeting agenda, as is customary prior to public meetings. The records were disclosed later that afternoon.

A spokesperson for the city did not respond to a request for comment. 

The report also emphasizes the police department’s progress before and after the creation of the “Triple C” task force, announced last year days after the departure of then-Police Chief Shawny Williams and amid revelations by Open Vallejo and ProPublica that more than two years into the reform agreement, the department had completed just two of the 45 reforms supervised by the state DOJ. 

Six months later, the department now claims to be “substantially compliant” with eight reforms. The report did not include specific information as to what was left to accomplish for each of the other measures. 

A slide from a Vallejo Police Department presentation that reads, "Project Progress since Triple C Task Force formation, with the limited legends 'Triple C Progress' and 'Pre-Triple C Progress'." A graphic consisting of what appears to be a bar chart follows the text. However, the graphic lacks additional legends or labels that would help measure the department's progress.

Vallejo Police Department

A slide from the May 16, 2023 Vallejo Police Department presentation on its compliance with reforms backed by the state Department of Justice. Credit: Vallejo Police Department

The California DOJ’s three-year collaborative review of Vallejo police is set to expire on June 5. Last week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta told Open Vallejo that a civil rights investigation into Vallejo police remains “on the table” should the collaborative reform process fail.

A source familiar with the review process said they anticipate the state DOJ will be following the meeting and subsequent developments closely. They spoke with Open Vallejo under the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss sensitive conversations relating to the reforms. The state DOJ did not respond to a request for comment.

The report is set to be presented by Vallejo Police Capt. Bobby Knight, who leads the task force dedicated to DOJ reform compliance. In January 2021, Knight was one of two lieutenants copied on an email thread in which an assistant city attorney authorized the destruction of public records that were due to be disclosed to this newsroom.

Knight did not respond to a request for comment.

Read the department’s full presentation:

Geoffrey King is the executive editor of Open Vallejo. Prior to founding Open Vallejo, Geoffrey worked as an attorney and journalist focused on free expression, open government, press freedom and privacy. He is a proud native of Vallejo, California.

Laurence Du Sault is Open Vallejo’s senior writer and editor focused on technical publications and investigations.