Kensington’s Community History and How the KPD has been Foundational

  • Sep 26, 2019
    1917   Kensington left unincorporated

    El Cerrito votes to incorporate. In order to ensure the vote passes, the region that would become Kensington is excluded from the city limits.

  • Sep 27, 2019
    1946   Kensington's official Police District

    Citizens petition for the formation of a Police Special District, leading to the establishment of the Kensington Police Protection District.

    Prior to this, Kensington was under the jurisdiction of the County Sheriff, supplemented by homegrown policing effort. At this time citizens were not satisfied with the amount of coverage they were (or were not) getting from the County Sheriff.

    ref: "Kensington Past & Present, Centennial edition", El Cerrito Journal (Jun. 13, 1946), County Minutes (Jun. 17, 1946)
  • Sep 27, 2019
    1953   Police District expands its community role

    The Kensington Police Protection District is reorganized into the Kensington Community Services District (KCSD).

    The reorganization allowed the Special District the possibility of taking on additional responsibilities in the future, like recreation.

  • Sep 27, 2019
    1955   Community Center built as a community effort

    Residents came together and built the original Community Center (the "Youth Hut") with their own hands.

    ref: "Kensington Past & Present, Centennial edition"
  • Oct 6, 2019
    1956   El Cerrito annexation fails

    There was a vote about whether to annex and become part of El Cerrito or keep our independence. Kensington voted to keep our independence by a margin of about 2-to-1.

    ref: "Where the Sewage Meets the Sea" (pg. 71), Stege Sanitary District
  • Oct 6, 2019
    1966   El Cerrito annexation fails (again)

    A second annexation vote fails.

    ref: "Where the Sewage Meets the Sea" (pg. 71), Stege Sanitary District
  • Oct 6, 2019
    1978   Proposition 13

    Proposition 13 passes in the state assembly, locking the Police District (KCSD) into less tax revenue than the Fire District (KFPD) because the Police District at this time is well managed and has been getting by with less. This creates a financial crisis for both Districts.

    (Read more about how the Districts obtain revenue HERE)

    ref: Outlook (Jan. 1979), Outlook (Feb. 1979): pg1,pg2, KPPCSD Auditor Report FY08-09: pg6
  • Oct 6, 2019
    1980-1995   Residents unite to financially support a local police

    Measures D(1980), A(1984), U(1993), & D(1995) are passed by healthy margins, as citizens choose to maintain an independent police force by providing the additional revenue needed in the face of inflation.

  • Oct 6, 2019
    1993   District renamed to place emphasis on its police services

    Kensington Community Services District (KCSD) renames itself to the Kensington Police Protection & Community Services District (KPPCSD) to ensure state funding for police services.

  • Oct 11, 2019
    1994/1995   Community works together to purchase park

    A community effort of many citizens, spearheaded by then KCC President and later KPPCSD Director Lynn Wolter, lead to the purchasing of the second half of what is now Kensington Park.

    They funded this responsibly with a bond, not cash.

    ref: Kensington Past & Present, Centennial edition" Outlook (Mar. 1994), Outlook (Dec./Jan. 1994/1995), Outlook (Apr. 1995)
  • Oct 6, 2019
    1995   Kensington loses autonomy of its fire services

    Kensington Fire Protection District (KFPD) contracts out its fire department to El Cerrito after a turbulent 2-year process, because residents refuse to tax themselves with an additional fire special tax.

    Upon outsourcing of the Fire Department, the KFPD:

    • Loses its leverage in negotiating future contracts
    • Loses ability to control spending
    • Loses control of personnel costs
    • Loses ability to choose its own chief (leadership) as well as firefighters
    ref: Outlook (Feb. 1995)
  • Oct 6, 2019
    2001   Special Recognition by the State Legislature

    KPPCSD is one of five special districts explicitly named by the state legislature as having police powers equal to an incorporated city.

  • Oct 6, 2019
    2009/2010   Voting rights and supplemental funding
    • The Police Board has consultant study viability of contracting police services - the Brown Taylor report, which recommends against contracting out.
    • The Voting Rights Ordinance (the "Dorroh" Ordinance) is passed by the KPPCSD Board to ensure the residents of Kensington have a right to vote on whether police services should be contracted out or not. (read more HERE)
    • Measure G is approved, adding a second supplemental tax to prevent a reduction in police services. (Read more about the financial reason HERE)
  • Oct 6, 2019
    2015   District faces challenging times
    • General Manager / Chief of Police (GM/COP) Greg Harman’s contract is not renewed. Why? There was a scandal that blew out of proportion a situation where he had  disciplined an officer.
    • The KPPCSD Board undertakes a public recruitment and interview process (involving a town hall for residents to pose questions to the candidates) to find a new interim GM/COP, while empowering a citizen driven "Ad hoc Committee on Governance" to provide information on key questions facing the District.
    • Kevin Hart is appointed as interim GM/COP, and begins his 100-day plan to modernize & improve the department. This included rewriting the police policy manual to further emphasize community policing. (His mission statement is found on pg. 3 of the KPD Policy Manual).
    • A board member with close associations to two of our current board majority members accuses police of an inappropriate traffic stop and harassment; iGM/COP Hart commissions an independent police investigation by Richmond PD to ensure the impartiality that will keep public faith in the department. There was also an FBI investigation. All investigations disprove the major substance of the accusations.
  • Oct 6, 2019
    2016   A new board majority makes some questionable decisions
    • Kevin Hart needs to leave for a short period due to pension circumstances. Instead of approving a continuing contract for Hart, this Board majority appoints MSgt. Ricky Hull to position of iGM/COP, against the wishes of concerned citizens.
    • The General Manager / Chief of Police Position is split into two separate positions. Ricky Hull is appointed to interim Chief of Police by the Board of Directors, even in full knowledge of his questionable conduct and limited management experience, and to date (2.5 years later) has not provided him with even a day of training for this position.
  • Oct 6, 2019
    2017–2019   Instead of building up the department, the Board Majority pushes to contract out
    • This Board maintains their majority by appointing Chris Deppe to fill a position vacated by Vanessa Cordova (who purportedly moved to Italy). This appointment is made over massive public outcry and showing of support for a more qualified candidate.
    • This Board majority spends $72,000 hiring Matrix to spend over a year reaching conclusions the Brown Taylor report and free, highly qualified Ad Hoc Committee already came to. Matrix and Brown Taylor came to the conclusion that it would be more expensive to contract out, and all three admitted that they wouldn’t know how much more the costs would be until we look at proposals. On top of it, Matrix's statistics about our police department have been proven to be inaccurate.
    • This Board majority hires Tony Constantouros as GM based on recruiting done by Bob Deis. Tony gets a salary of $100,000 a year to come in two days a week, wastes District money by having expensive consultants do his job for him, and allows the District to be delinquent in approximately $170,000 of unpaid bills, some going back over a year.
    • The Board Majority spends over $30,000 hiring Bob Deis (the man credited with the demise of Stockton) to study reorganizing the District's administration, a job Tony should be doing. The Board accepts Deis’s recommendation for three part-time positions to replace the one historical position needed by the District. A District employee who had been doing an exceptional job performing all the functional tasks of the district. This increases bureaucratic bloat and costing us an additional ~$34,000 a year.
    • This Board also assigns Bob Deis to rewriting parts of the Policy & Procedure manual. (Deis’s final rewrite contains omissions, typos, and grammatical errors.)
    • Chris Deppe is provided access to the original initiative ordinance petition documents (a violation of law) by iCOP Hull. After discovering this, the Board votes to immediately destroy the petitions, now evidence in a potential crime. The Contra Costa District Attorney steps in to investigate, and ultimately decides not to press criminal charges, but gives the KPPCSD and iCOP Hull a severe warning.
    • The Board violates its own Policy & Procedure manual, unilaterally changing how the minutes are taken, before removing all useful details entirely. Since relieving the district employee of her duties, (which had included keeping professional, detailed minutes for at least five years), the Directors themselves ghost edit the minutes for several months.
  • Oct 6, 2019
    2019   Right Now
    • At the June 27th, 2019 KPPCSD Board meeting, the Directors approve to send out a request for police service contract proposals that does NOT mention the voting ordinance. The Board refuses to support a vote of the people.
    • The Police Board refuses to work with the Fire Board, which is offering to house the Police by fronting the money for a new Public Safety Building.
    • The El Cerrito Chief of Police Paul Keith misses the deadline to respond to our Board's request for a proposal. At the October 15th, 2019 KPPCSD Board meeting, the Directors vote to allow El Cerrito more time (past the set deadline) to produce a contract proposal in response to a letter from Chief Keith. In the letter, he reasons that he needs more time to produce a comprehensive proposal for all cases (full contract, hybrid, and individual services).
    • Steve Simpkins (email here), a Captain with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, is temporarily hired as the new interim Chief of Police at the October 15th, 2019 KPPCSD Board meeting.