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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.

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Introducing Open Vallejo

Open Vallejo is an award-winning, independent, non-partisan, nonprofit newsroom serving the public interest. We seek to illuminate a small city long burdened by police violence, neglect, and corruption. Our core team consists of journalists, First Amendment and open government lawyers, press freedom advocates, data scientists and other subject-matter experts. 

As the first project of the Informed California Foundation, Open Vallejo is also a permanent design laboratory for open source, high-impact, broadly-accessible frameworks for ensuring local transparency, accountability, and information justice.