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The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

Pleasanton Police Department Chief David Swing moves on

Pleasanton+Police+Chief+David+Swing+steps+down+from+his+position+after+four+years.+
Edwin He
Pleasanton Police Chief David Swing steps down from his position after four years.

In April, Pleasanton Police Chief David Swing stepped down from his position to pursue an executive director position at the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority. He’s been serving as Pleasanton’s chief for the past 4 years. 

Joining the Department

Chief Swing has been in law enforcement for about 30 years. Before he joined the Pleasanton police department, he was the police chief of Morgan Hills for nine years. He came to Pleasanton in April 2020.

“I was drawn to the opportunity to make a difference and drawn to a city with a strong support for the police department,” said Swing

Swing joined the department right after the George Floyd incident. On one of the first days of his job, he had to speak in the Amador Valley park in front of hundreds of protesters.

“He came here in 2020 right as COVID hit. It was a very tumultuous time in law enforcement because George Floyd was murdered by police. But at that time after George Floyd’s murder, he went to the Amador park because there were huge protests about the changes in law enforcement,” said Police Officer Ryan Tujague.

The chief was able to reassure the community that the police brutality incidents happening in other parts of the country will not take place in Pleasanton. 

“He knew, like any good leader, the community that they’re going to serve. He had to give this speech for the first time to the community to say, ‘Hey, these are my vows to you.’ That takes such tremendous courage and was a huge icebreaker for the community. He actually got a very warm reception,” said Tujague

Improving the Well-being of Officers

Not only did he demonstrate expert leadership on the public stage, but Chief Swing was able to meet the needs of his police officers. He took steps to ensure the well-being of officers by improving their experience on the job. 

“Before I got hired in 2006, police officers had been begging police chiefs to allow us to wear carrier vests. Every police chief said ‘Absolutely not.’ [Swing] was the first police chief to say yes. That was just such a massive morale booster,” said Tujague.

Despite not seeming like a major request, the ability to wear carrier vests has a huge impact. Carrier vests take the weight off the lower back and redistribute it to the shoulders. 

“He didn’t have to do that, so that was a nice thing that he did to show his gratitude to police officers. It was very well received,” said Tujague

Chief Swing improved the lives of police officers in many other small ways, which added up to have a huge impact on the comfort of police officers. 

“Another thing was that police officers always had to be clean-shaven. We could never have beards. He allowed us to have beards. These things sound so small, but it has a huge effect. It’s simple little things like that that brought down a lot of stress and brought morale up,” said Tujague

Police officers have one of the highest suicide rates of any career. Chief Swing brought many lasting changes that improved the officers’ mental health.

“He expanded our peer support program. He allowed little things like workout time, so we’re allowed to stay healthy. When you’re allowing your officers to go work out while on duty, it allows us to work out and get any frustrations that we had out in the gym,” said Tujague.

Alternate Response Unit

The chief created the Alternate Response Unit to tackle mental health problems in the community. Before this program, police officers were assigned to mental health cases. Now, mental health clinicians talk to those who need help. 

“I’m a part of the Alternate Response Unit. It’s a mental health crisis team with two officers, a sergeant, and two medical clinicians. [Chief Swing] helped build this program out of nothing. That gives back 100% to the community because now you have professionals evaluating people for mental health. It’s not a police officer,” said Tujague.

Mental health was assigned to police officers to deal with due to hospitals being too busy. However, this poses huge problems. 

“People don’t like to see a police officer show up when they’re in a mental health crisis because it makes them feel like they’re in trouble. It tends to escalate things when a uniformed police officer shows up. Being in this unit specifically and with clinicians, we’re dressed in plain clothes. We have a polo and khaki pants. It has no police markings on it. We’re there to assist the clinicians,” said Tujague.

Not only does this help people with mental health, but police officers can now focus on what they are trained to do. 

“Since the implementation of this program, mental health calls have gone down. It’s taken that away from [officers] so they can handle more in-progress crimes like robberies, burglaries, and thefts. It’s eliminated that for patrol. So that was a huge success. That will carry on with him throughout his career,” said Tujague 

A Legacy

Over his tenure as police chief, Swing has brought long-lasting changes that improved the lives of police officers and Pleasanton community members. 

“He’s done huge things that no other chief police has done since I’ve been [in the Pleasanton Police Department]. I have been here for almost 18 years,” said Tujague

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