Campus Names Two Candidates To Fill UCPD Police Chief Post

Photo: David Kozicki
David Kozicki

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Photo: Mitch Celaya   

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With UCPD Chief Victoria Harrison set to retire in July, the campus has named two candidates for the position.

A search committee, headed by Vice Chancellor of Administration Nathan Brostrom, will select between UCPD Assistant Chief Mitch Celaya and David Kozicki, deputy chief for the Oakland Police Department.

Because the selection process is still ongoing, campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said discussing specifics about the search would be premature, but added that both candidates are qualified for the position.

"This is possibly the most coveted job in university law enforcement in the country," he said. "It's complex (and) it's challenging. Nobody gets to this point in the process without a significant amount of applicable experience."

Mogulof said the campus will select a candidate before Harrison's retirement on July 27.

"The campus's intention is that we'll have a replacement ... checked, signed, sealed and delivered before Chief Harrison leaves the campus," he said.

Kozicki, a 28-year veteran of the Oakland Police Department, said applying for the position is a "one-of-a-kind" opportunity because of the campus's reputation for free speech and community involved policing.

"I consider it more or less of a dream job for me at this point in my career," he said. "I have a real appreciation for the UC and what it represents."

Over the course of his career with the Oakland Police Department, Kozicki has worked as a patrol officer, criminal investigator and homicide detective. He also commanded the OPD Traffic Division and oversees special events for the department.

Kozicki said he is currently responsible for 649 law enforcement officers and other employees.

Celaya could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, his accomplishments include playing an instrumental role in negotiating the non-violent conclusion to the 2006-2008 tree-sit.

UC Berkeley senior Hilary Kwan said she is happy with services provided under current UCPD leadership, such as BearWALK and night shuttles.

However, with robberies on the rise in Berkeley and a series of sexual assaults that occurred south of campus, safety has become a concern for many students.

Kozicki said he would prioritize educational programs for students concerning underage drinking and night safety to help prevent crime.

"An informed citizen is much more capable of preventing themselves from becoming victimized," Kozicki said.

Sarah Rodriguez'G, project coordinator for Students for a Safer Southside, said such programs are necessary to curb a trend of alcohol-related incidents south of campus, adding that increasing patrols in the area would help to cut down on crime.

"It's really important for people to have the perception that there's a high enforcement in that area," she said. "(Police) have to address the fact that the party scene at Cal is really starting to escalate."

Kwan said the assaults and the February stabbing of a UC Berkeley junior have made her feel uneasy about walking around campus late at night.

While she said the department's night safety services are adequate, she said she hopes the next chief will assign more officers to patrol Southside-particularly Telegraph Avenue­-on foot.

"I don't really feel safe walking by myself," Kwan said. "If (incidents) keep going on and recurring, of course students won't feel safe."

Tags: UCPD

Zach A. Williams is the news editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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