Members of the Vallejo Police Department, including Chief Shawny Williams, Deputy Chief Michael Kihmm, and Captain Jason Potts pose for a photograph with the controversial "Blue Lives Matter" flag, which has been criticized for its associations with the white supremacist movement. The Vallejo Police Department posted the image to its official social media accounts on Dec. 25, 2020, but deleted it from Twitter following criticism. The photograph remains on the department’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Blue Life

Blue life is always under threat but can never perish. Blue life is what you get when you confuse a job for a social existence, an occupational hazard for an ontological crisis. Even more, it creates an equivalence between two disparate “sides” that are in fact not sides at all.

A handout photograph of Vallejo Police Spokesperson Brittany K. Jackson

Police union alleges hiring of civilian spokesperson ‘unlawful’

Vallejo Police Department spokesperson Brittany K. Jackson participates in a policing “virtual town hall” on July 23, 2020 in Vallejo. Vallejo’s police union filed an unfair labor complaint in June alleging the city unlawfully hired a civilian to act as the department spokesperson, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by Open Vallejo. 

The Vallejo Police Officers’ Association filed the unfair labor charges with the California Public Employment Relations Board, accusing city officials of acting in bad faith when they hired Brittany K. Jackson as the department’s new public information officer in May. The spokesperson role has historically been held by a sworn member of the department. But officers have exacerbated existing controversies over the years, most notably in 2015, when Lieutenant Kenny Park falsely suggested the victim of a kidnapping and sexual assault had staged the crime along with her fiancé. The FBI later arrested Matthew Muller, a disbarred attorney and former Marine, who was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.