VACAVILLE — After more than 30 years in the business, 29 as an officer of the law, Vacaville Police Chief Richard Word is set to retire at the end of November.
“I told my city manager I’m planing to retire effective Nov. 30,” Word said.
He began his law enforcement career working for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department in 1982 before becoming a police officer in Oakland.
While he’ll be stepping away from law enforcement, Word, 51, a San Francisco native, said he plans to remain in the area.
“I’m Bay Area born and raised. I grew up in San Francisco, my mom still lives in San Francisco,” he said. “I’m a Bay Area guy and I plan to stay here. We love the Bay Area. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Word said he’s enjoyed working for the city of Vacaville the past nine years and he’ll miss it.
“I’m going to miss Vacaville, it’s a nice city, a very supportive community,” he said.
After seeing the Police Department and the city through some tough financial times, Word said now seems like the right time to go.
“I think we’ve recovered from the Great Recession, for the most part,” he said. “We’re starting to hire police officers. I feel good about the future of the department and the city.”
The decision to retire was in the works for some time.
“My wife is excited,” Word said. “She’s been encouraging me to do this for some time.”
Word said he’s got plenty of ideas for the future, including teaching or even going back to school.
“I plan to still teach. I love school. I’ll probably return to school,” he said, adding that law school or a PhD program may be in his future.
The city has not seen the last of him, though.
“We plan to stay in Vacaville,” he said. “I serve on a few nonprofit boards, the Boys and Girls Club and Opportunity House and I plan to stay if they’ll have me.”
He said his last working day will likely be the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 27. After that it’s a short getaway with his wife and diving into house projects.
“There’s so much stuff, I just need to retreat and make myself a man cave in my garage,” he said. “I need to buy my wife a new car. . . . Decompress, see how that feels.”
City Manager Laura Kuhn could not be reached. No process for hiring a new chief has been announced.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.