PINOLE -- Richard Word, who left the job of Oakland police chief amid turmoil a decade ago and went on to a less stressful stint as Vacaville police chief, appears on his way back to the East Bay, this time as Pinole's interim police chief.
The West County city has been without a police chief since John Hardester retired early last month.
On Tuesday, the Pinole City Council will discuss a proposed contract with Word that would pay him $12,381 a month. Word is expected to serve through September, according to a staff report. He will not receive medical, retirement and other benefits from Pinole, although he gets benefits as a public agency retiree.
The city has been recruiting for a permanent police chief through consultant Avery and Associates. The last day to apply is Thursday.
Word, who is in his early 50s, began his police career in 1984 in Oakland at age 22.¿ He was a police captain and area commander of East Oakland when then-Mayor Jerry Brown picked him in 1999 to replace Joseph Samuels, who was later hired as police chief in Richmond.
Word assumed command of the Oakland Police Department at a time of rising homicide rates and concerns over drug dealing and "sideshows," in which drivers perform car stunts on streets and highways, blocking traffic. The department was racked with other problems, including accusations of racial profiling and excessive violence.
In 2000, four Oakland officers were charged with falsifying reports and brutalizing suspected drug dealers in the police misconduct episode popularly known as the Riders scandal.
None of the four "Riders" were convicted, but the city paid $10.9 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of 119 people who alleged abuse at their hands. Additionally, the city settled a wrongful termination lawsuit with one of the accused Riders, Matthew Hornung, for $1.5 million.
Today, the Oakland Police Department still is overseen by a federal monitor.
Word resigned as Oakland's chief in 2004 and started as Vacaville's chief the following week. He retired from Vacaville in November.
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.