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Staggering 92 Percent ‘No Confidence’ Vote

Contact: Dave Humphreys, HBPOA President
Office: 1-714-842-8851 | Email: hbpoapresident@gmail.com

Staggering 92 Percent ‘No Confidence’ Vote in Huntington Beach Police Chief

Crime rates up; staffing levels unchanged in nearly 30 years; ‘totalitarian’ style

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Aug. 16, 2017—Results from a recent poll of Huntington Beach Police Officers released today by the Huntington Beach Police Officers’ Association revealed 92% of its members having no confidence in Chief Rob Handy—that is based on an amazing 98% turnout of all voting members.

“A year ago, our membership completed a management survey of our Chief Rob Handy and three captain positions,” said Dave Humphreys, President of the Huntington Beach Police Officers’ Association. “Chief Handy failed in eight of nine anchor categories. We purposely withheld the results of that survey in hopes of making the chief successful while we have worked tirelessly to meet with him, sadly that has proved unachievable and we can no longer remain silent on his lack of progress, solving problems and poor management. To repeat, we have been dialoguing with him in formal meetings for the past nine months. These meetings dealt with the genuine needs of our agency on the heels of years of neglect and with experienced officers leaving, and morale spiraling and getting worse. Our agency, along with at least two others in Orange County, is dealing with serious and troubling management issues at the highest levels.

Humphreys cited why the vote of No Confidence was near unanimous. “Some of the many examples of issues that rank-and-file officers have tried to solve and fix with the current management of Chief Rob Handy, which included:

  • Implementation of a controversial policy coercing a DNA swab from citizens in order to help build a local data bank with the District Attorney’s office. Police Officers feared this was potentially illegal, violating the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. On June 23, 2016, the chief said, “we will continue with this policy.” The DA amended and clarified it to help the Officers and those implementing it since Handy only wanted his way – the wrong way.
  • No effort by Chief Handy to move on department needs spelled out in the Matrix report, which ranked the Huntington Beach Police Department the worst in their last 200 agencies assessed. “I didn’t like that report,” said the chief.
  • His denying the use of officer safety equipment by ordering the removal and non-use of rifle suppressors without reasonable justification after they were in use and in the field for more than 10 years. Officers and the public can avoid being affected by hearing and vision loss through the use of this equipment. Handy’s overriding concern was its unappealing appearance. He continues to mismanage and take a lone-wolf management style that is neither collaborative, helpful or kind.
  • His demonstration of manipulating the selection process for various assignments or promotions and the lowering of hiring standards.
  • His forcing or removing experienced and well-respected managers to either retire early or leave the agency after learning they disagreed with his leadership of the department.  This is a serious and clear-cut item of a hostile work environment.
  • His failure to support and bond with his management team and officers. Chief Handy never has embraced any labor-relations since his appointment. He comes from a right-to-work state, has contempt for the tried and true process of labor and disregards nearly everything asked of him. Officers have to follow policies and procedures and he tries every day to just do what he wants to keep a community image that is a façade. In the corporate world, he would be terminated immediately for morale, recruitment and retention problems and more.  He left his previous California agency under a similar cloud of poor management practices in San Bernardino. Chief Handy tries to fool the public with clever public relations to cover up his true deficiencies. Why our city would hire someone who did poorly in San Bernardino and doesn’t understand California policing is remarkable to us.
  • Chief Handy has not given the quality and collaborative time and needed attention for this department, nor has he made attempts to repair the damage he has caused,” said Humphreys. “His totalitarian style of management and continuing lack of leadership, bullying tactics and lack of communication continue to impair this police agency. If Chief Handy had essentially done nothing since his arrival, sadly, we would likely be in a better position than we are today. We have a serious morale, recruitment, and now, retention problem. His poor practices cost the city and taxpayers’ money, time, and loss of people we can never replace.”According to Humphreys, the current staffing of sworn personnel is parallel to the number of officers in 1988, while aggravated assaults, robbery, burglary, auto thefts, and identity theft has risen.

“For the first time in the history of the Huntington Beach Police Department, we have never felt so compelled to go down this path and call for a chief to resign, step down, or be removed from office,” said Humphreys. “The men and women of this department need to be supported, valued, and treated fairly. We as employees have to follow procedures and starting today will resist being torn apart by a chief who is more interested in his image and perception of political correctness.”

“We will also be speaking directly with the entire public in Huntington Beach to make Police the No. 1 priority again. We will return to helping our small businesses and families and police officers instead of political correctness and trying to support wasted and ineffective managers. Our community is dangerous. We have had acts of violence and shootings with Officers hurt and/or almost killed. We pledge to return to protecting Huntington Beach since our top manager and a few others have not and will not. This is a new day for our city, our families, our children, our small businesses who are fed up with the lawlessness and appeasement.

The poll drew a 98-percent response rate from the membership, with 92 percent (207) voting no confidence in the chief; 5 percent (11) voting not to support the no-confidence call; 2 percent (four) were undecided; 1 percent (two) did not cast a ballot.

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