CLAYTON, CA (Dec. 8, 2022) — Police Chief Richard McEachin is a decades-long veteran in small town policing, having launched his career as an officer here in the 2000s.
McEachin, who was named chief last month, was born with blue blood. His father, Rich, was a detective in Antioch and police chief in other small municipalities. McEachin’s son and daughter were in Clayton’s now-paused Explorer program for junior police officers. It is one of the programs he would like to bring back, along with the Police Department’s reserves.
To say policing was cultivated in the McEachin family is an understatement. McEachin recalls an early but defining moment: “Growing up, when I was 3 or 4 years old, my grandmother had a little police uniform made for me, and it was really all I ever wanted to do.”
He returns to Clayton after four years running the police department in Dos Palos, following a stint in fast-developing Oakley. McEachin believes small town policing is about service and keeping the community running smoothly. He expects to keep revelers safe at Clayton’s yearly main events, Oktoberfest and the Art & Wine Festival.
“It takes a special kind of officer to work in a small community,” he says. “You’ve got to really want to get out there and be involved in the community and not just respond from call to call.”
With the finance post, city manager and assistant city manager seats vacant, McEachin’s role may expand, though he does not expect to be connected to those jobs in a significant way. He is laser-focused on his own role. “My primary focus is making sure that the officers continue to provide the quality service that they do. All that other stuff doesn’t necessarily pertain to me.”
McEachin is more civic-minded than City Hall-minded. He speaks about working in Clayton with sincere fondness, punctuated with respect for those in his employ.
He shares that he is proud to lead a “really enthusiastic group that loves serving this community” and plans to “keep everybody happy and enthused as far as their patrols and interaction with the public.”
In regard to community service, something stuck out to McEachin right away. “I know one of the complaints in town is the traffic at the middle school in the morning and afternoon. I have noticed the officers spend time out there in the morning and the afternoon making sure that the traffic moves smoothly.”
These are the little things that matter to Clayton residents, says McEachin, who is glad to be back in familiar territory. “All three sergeants, I worked with when I was here before.” He is getting to know the other officers and says everyone on staff meshes well.
Vince Martellacci is a writer who has lived all over the east bay and California. Now he is loving small town life in Clayton. He has always dabbled in writing professionally, but 2022 saw him prioritize it again. Email comments to email@example.com