PoliceOne Staff Report (CALIFORNIA) -- Three California police chiefs with more than 100 years of law enforcement experience among them have announced their retirements.
In Whittier, Police Chief C. Brad Hoover, a lawman for more than 37 years and the chief of the Whittier Police Department for the past decade, retired last week.
In Berkeley, Dash Butler, who has headed the department since 1990, announced that he plans to retire in August after more than three decades in law enforcement.
And Chief Wayne Clayton has retired following 22 years as the leader of the El Monte Police Department, ending a 43 year career in law enforcement.
Berkeley chief cites stress and health concerns
Butler, who joined the Berkeley Police Department during the height of the anti-war protests in 1971, has weathered riots, protests marches and hostage situations during his career as a street and command officer.
"This 11 years as police chief is life-changing," Butler told The Oakland Tribune in an interview. "I love this place, but I've put everything I had into it — 100 percent. There is so many things I'm proud of, but you know when your body starts telling you things."
The outgoing chief cited the stress of the job and health concerns as his reasons for leaving, the newspaper reported.
Butler told the newspaper that during his tenure as chief, he implemented community policing programs, starting a civilian police academy and, a fact that he is most proud of, never had an officer killed during his time as chief.
"We've made this a better place, a safer place, good for everyone, no matter who you are," he told the Tribune. "Berkeley is a place you can come to and feel comfortable."
A 'bumpy' road for El Monte chief
As chief of the El Monte department, Clayton, 68, started the Problem Orientated Policing program (POPS), Adopt-a-Cop, where police officers were placed in classrooms at elementary schools, so children could interact with law enforcement.
"I've never had a feeling that I ever wanted to do anything else," Clayton told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. "Sure, there are bumps on the road — but I just worked through them."
Clayton started as a reserve officer for the department and later became a full-time patrolman in 1956, working his way up the ladder to lead the 150 member department.
Whittier chief started career on 'dare
Hoover told The Whittier Daily News that he got into law enforcement on a "dare."
He recalled that in 1961, he was working at a manufacturing plant when a fellow worker gave him a copy of the written exam for the Downey Police Department.
"He bet me that I couldn't pass it, so I took the dare and won," Hoover told the newspaper. "On my first day at the academy, I knew this was something special. It's a very special calling."
During a drug raid in 1973, Hoover was wounded by "friendly fire," shot in the arm and chest.
Hoover told the newspaper he never had an officer killed while he was chief.
"My greatest fear as chief was of having to eulogize one of the men or women of this department," Hoover told the Whittier Daily News. "I had to eulogize one sergeant who died as a result of a heart attack. Every time you have to do that, it takes a piece of your heart."