Richard L. Word began his law enforcement career in 1984 when he joined the Oakland Police Department. After rising through the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain, Word was sworn in as Oakland’s Chief of Police in 1999. At 37, Chief Word was the youngest Chief in the Oakland Police Department’s history.
During Word’s tenure in Oakland, the Department graduated its first Youth Citizens Police Academy, which was comprised of youth from all of Oakland’s high schools. Additionally, Word reorganized department operations, giving lieutenants greater responsibility for geographic areas or police districts. These lieutenants essentially became “mini-chiefs.” This reorganization, coupled with a progressive Violence Reduction Plan, contributed to the City of Oakland lowering its overall violent crime rate in 2004 to its lowest level since 1970.
Beginning in November 2004, Word served as Chief of Police for the City of Vacaville. During Word’s tenure as Vacaville’s chief, the Department added to an existing array of impressive programs designed to reduce juvenile recidivism and calls for service. Despite significant funding and staff reductions, the Department adopted an entirely new policy manual, launched a Crime Free Multi-Housing program, a peer support program, and strengthened its outreach to the local community. Chief Word retired from the City of Vacaville in 2013.
In 2011, Word served as a Police Procedures Consultant for the City of Antioch. A team of Antioch police officers was sued for targeting Section 8 voucher holders; Word’s role was to evaluate the actions of the Antioch Police Department’s Community Action Team.
Also in 2011, Word began a new role as a member of the adjunct faculty for the University of Phoenix. In this capacity, Word teaches a number of courses in the University’s College of Criminal Justice and Security.
From May to August 2014, Word served as interim Police Chief for the City of Pinole, California.
Word was valedictorian of his class at the Oakland Police Academy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from John F. Kennedy University, graduating cum laude, and he holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University. Word has also successfully completed the FBI National Academy and the FBI National Executive Institute.
Word served as President of the California Police Chiefs Association in 2007 and remains a member. Word continues to serve on theboards of directors of the Vacaville Social Services Corporation and Pace Solano. He has been married to his wife, Stacey, for the past 27 years. They have two children, Noah, age 24, who serves in the U.S. Army, and Taylor, age 21, a nursing student.