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San Clemente Journal

20 Minutes w/: Police Chief - Bill Hunt

Feb 05, 2005 01:30PM ● By Don Kindred
by Don Kindred

Lt. Bill Hunt, outside the San Clemente Police Station.

   In my experience, most 17-year-olds have a hard time deciding what they want to eat for lunch, let alone what they want to do for the rest of their life. Bill Hunt was different. He already knew his future. He was going to be a cop. He wasn’t even willing to wait until he was 21, the legal age in his home state of Massachusetts. So he joined the army, where he completed basic training at Ft McClelland, Alabama and became a member of the US Army Military Police at 18. 
    Hunt even looks like a cop. In fact, if Wayne Eggleston ever decides the city needs a statue of a policeman in San Clemente, I found the model. 
   This 6’2”, 230 lb. New England Patriot fan was born into a law enforcement family. His father, a Lt. Colonel retired as second in command of the Massachusetts State Police, and his older brother is with the FBI in Las Vegas.
    When Bill finished his tour of duty in 1985, he came to California to see an army buddy in the San Fernando Valley. After looking around he decided he’d lived his last Massachusetts winter, and he joined up with the Orange County Sheriffs Department the same year.
    Today, Bill Hunt serves as the Chief of Police Services for the City of San Clemente. A position he has earned by accepting and succeeding in some of the toughest and most demanding assignments the Sheriff’s Department has to offer, including; two years at the Men’s central jail in Santa Ana, and patrol stints in El Toro and San Juan Capistrano. He was tapped to train Sheriffs recruits at the Academy until he was promoted to investigator in 1993 and in the City of Mission Viejo he was a charter member of the Direct Enforcement team. Drug enforcement was the focus in the next phase of Hunt’s career as he was transferred to Special Investigations/Narcotics in January of ‘93. He worked as a narcotics investigator in North and South Orange County until his promotion to Sergeant in May of 1996. As Sergeant, he was transferred to Special Investigations as the Supervisor of the South County Gang Enforcement Team where he worked until he was promoted to Lieutenant and served in that assignment until 2003. He was Sergeant of the SWAT Team. When he achieved the rank of Lieutenant he took over as Watch Commander of the Theo Lacy Juvenile Detention Facility until he was selected for his current post in May of ’03.
    All that would seem to make him, in his current assignment, feel sort of like Andy of Mayberry.

Born: Boston, Mass.
Raised: North Brookfield, Mass.
Graduated From: 
Saddleback College AA
    Criminal Justice - 87
Saddleback College AA 
    Spanish - 91
University Of Redlands BS 
    Business and Management - 95
CSU–Dominguez Hills - MA 
    Negotiation & Conflict Management - 97 
Family: Debra, wife of 15 years
Children, Kyle 12, Sara 11, Amanda 10, Jason 5
US Army Military Police 
Auxiliary Police Officer, Massachusetts 
Orange County Sheriff’s Department 
Central Men’s Jail Intake Release Cntr. 
Patrolman-City of San Juan Capistrano Trainer - Sheriff’s Basic Academy 
Investigator South Orange County
Member -Direct Enforcement Team 
Special Investigations / Narcotics
SWAT Team 
Special Investigations - South County 
Gang Enforcement Team 
SWAT Team 
Theo Lacy Facility, Watch Commander,
Facility Administrative Lieutenant
Chief of Police Services, 
City of San Clemente 
Biggest frustration about duties: Traffic complaints, they are frequent and not easily addressed. 
Favorite Quote: 
“Anyone content with mediocrity is untrue to himself and to American tradition”.
General George S. Patton

Accomplishments as a public servant: 
I am proud to have worked my way to this rank and position by accepting some of the toughest and most demanding assignments the Sheriff’s Department has to offer and having succeeded at them all. I feel like the wide variety of assignments I have had the privilege of working over my career have given me the experience, skills and abilities to establish myself as a leader for San Clemente Police Services and within the Sheriff’s Department. 

    Not so, he says smiling, “I mean San Clemente is a great place to live and I don’t want to give the wrong impression, but we have some law enforcement problems here. We’re no Laguna Niguel, and I think my background had a lot to do with me being chosen for this position.”
    On the personal side, Bill met and married an Orange County girl named Debra, 15-years-ago and together they have four children. Bill has also managed to fit in an education into the last 20 years, collecting two AA degrees, a Bachelor’s Degree from Redlands University and a Master’s Degree from Cal State Dominguez Hills. 
    Hunt also has another passion he’s been working on since high school, that of an artist. His rather impressive pen and inks adorn his office and are often featured on the covers of the sheriff’s department retirement dinner brochures. 
    “When I have more time, which may be when I retire, I’ll spend a lot more time on that. Who knows,” he says with that big smile, “maybe I’ll be working as an editorial cartoonist.” b 


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