Walnut Creek Police Chief Tom Chaplin has announced that he will be retiring in October. Chaplin, with 30 years in law enforcement, began serving as the City’s Chief of Police seven years ago. During his tenure, the Department expanded community policing, implemented body-worn cameras, launched a community advisory board, initiated a school resource officer program, and enhanced the use of data for crime analysis.
“It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve the Walnut Creek community,” Chaplin said. “Over the past seven years, I have been privileged to work alongside the best team of women and men I have encountered in my three decades of law enforcement.” Chaplin leads a staff of 82 sworn and 42 civilian members providing public safety to the City of 70,000 residents.
“Chief Chaplin started in Walnut Creek during my first term on Council,” added Mayor Loella Haskew. “His instincts, his intelligence, his ability to make the new recruits feel part of the family, and his wit that put everyone at ease won the respect of the Department and the City. He knows policing, and made impactful changes that will serve the City well for years to come. He is respected by his peers, with the California Police Chiefs Association honoring him in 2018 with the prestigious Joe Molloy Award, for his dedication and service to law enforcement. He set the bar high. Finding a replacement will be difficult.”
City Manager Dan Buckshi noted that “Chief Chaplin is one of the most capable individuals I have worked with in my lifetime. Tom is the true definition of a leader, and his caring and compassion for people are unparalleled. Walnut Creek is fortunate to have had him serve as our Chief for the past seven years, and he will be deeply missed.”
Chaplin began his career as a Community Service Officer in the Sacramento Police Department in 1989, later serving in the Department’s community policing effort and as a detective before joining the California Department of Justice as a Special Agent. He was later promoted to Special Agent in Charge. He returned to local law enforcement with the City of Citrus Heights before being selected as Walnut Creek’s Chief of Police. He was appointed by the Governor in 2016 to serve on the State’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, and is an Executive Fellow with the National Police Foundation.
Captain Jay Hill will serve as Interim Chief of Police until a new Chief is selected, which will follow an extensive recruitment process.