The Pleasanton Police Department will bid farewell to longtime Capt. Craig Eicher when he retires at the end of the week, drawing a career that lasted more than three decades to a close.
"Well, 32 years is a long time," Eicher told the Weekly on Tuesday. "I've had a great career here. It's been fabulous working for the city I live in and helping make it a better place."
"One of my mottos throughout my career is to leave things better than I found them," Eicher added.
A member of PPD since starting as a reserve officer in 1989, Eicher's final day with the department will be this Friday (Jan. 29), according to city officials.
Eicher was hired a full-fledged police officer with PPD in 1991 and said he's "worked pretty much most of the positions in the department" since then, including bike patrol, field training and detective before shifting into supervisory roles as sergeant and lieutenant. He was promoted to captain about nine years ago, and he served as interim police chief for more than six months in 2019 and 2020.
"My favorite time was when I was in investigations," Eicher said. "I was a burglary detective that had the opportunity to work a wide variety of cases" that extended to crimes like extortion, and even homicide.
Eicher said he was also one of the first members in PPD to use DNA in solving property crimes in the late 1990s.
Since becoming captain, Eicher has overseen the department's investigations and operations division. Throughout his time with PPD, Eicher participated in the FBI National Academy, earned a master's degree in organizational leadership from St. Mary's College, and helped develop programs like peer support, the body-worn camera system and the city's "Homeless Outreach Program."
He's also received a variety of awards and commendations from the city, and was a guest speaker at the International Leadership Association in Chicago. Additionally, Eicher founded the Pleasanton Police Officers Charitable Foundation and served as president of the Pleasanton Police Officers Association for several years.
The department and community has "greatly benefited" from Eicher's service over the years, Police Chief David Swing said in a statement.
"His leadership and community involvement set a standard for others and ensured PPD was seated at the table of solutions for many pressing needs," Swing said.
Eicher -- who sits on the Pleasanton Chamber Foundation Board as well as the Pleasanton Community Character Collaborative Board of Directors -- said he and his wife are planning to stay in Pleasanton, where he lived throughout his entire career. Though he hasn't entirely decided what he'll do after retirement, Eicher said he'll "probably stay involved in local nonprofits."
He also plans to spend time with family, and has made plans with his wife "to start doing more traveling than we have."
With the world still on lockdown during the pandemic, there is one activity that Eicher looks forward to after it was canceled last holiday season due to public health concerns over COVID-19.
"My father-in-law does the Widmer World Christmas display, and we've been doing that for the last 20 years," Eicher said. "We'll continue doing that. In fact, our plans now are to make it bigger and better. This year, our plan is to make it better than the prior year."