Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing, who began his law enforcement career at the local department about 25 years ago, was recently appointed the next chief of police for the City of Pleasanton.
Swing’s last day as Morgan Hill’s top cop will be April 3. He will begin his new job in Pleasanton on April 13.
Swing, 49, joined the Morgan Hill Police Department as a reserve officer in 1995. Since then, he has worked his way up the ranks in various assignments. Swing was appointed chief of MHPD in 2010 by the city manager’s office.
“There are lots of great reasons to stay here in Morgan Hill,” Swing said. “Morgan Hill has been very good to me over the 25 years I have been here.” He added that his new position is “an opportunity in Pleasanton to lead and develop a very successful organization and to continue on with their practices and culture of excellence and community policing, and providing high-quality services to their residents.”
Pleasanton is a city of about 82,000 people in Alameda County. It is located about 50 miles north of Morgan Hill. Swing will be taking over the police department’s top leadership position from Interim Chief Craig Eicher, who took over the department from Chief Dave Spiller. Spiller retired from Pleasanton PD in November.
“The team there is a highly capable and professional group of people,” Swing said. “It seems like an amazing opportunity to be part of that success.”
The City of Morgan Hill released a statement thanking Swing for his service to the community, and listing his accomplishments and contributions over the years.
“What I am most proud of is the work that our department has done over the last 25 years,” Swing said in an interview with the Times. “That speaks to the caliber and quality of the dedicated men and women in our police department.”
On a personal level, Swing said he is most pleased with MHPD’s work supporting domestic violence victims. “From my early time as an officer, my area of focus has always been improving the services, and investigation, and advocacy for survivors of domestic violence,” Swing said.
That work culminated in South County’s first Family Justice Center in Morgan Hill several years ago. Swing and MHPD led the collaborative effort to open the center, which provides services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking in the region.
Swing’s accomplishments listed in the city’s announcement include his creation of the city’s first Outcome Based Strategic Plan for public safety to address crime and quality of life issues; adoption of technology to fight crime with intelligence led policing, hot spot analysis, predictive analytics, and community engagement software to keep communication open between victims and officers.
In the last nine years as chief, Swing has increased the police department’s sworn officer personnel from 36 to 42. The department has steadily maintained an arrest rate above the FBI national average for both violent and property crime, according to the city’s press release.
“Chief Swing is a teammate every organization aspires to have; he is a visionary, (and he is) innovative and always willing to lead by example,” City Manager Christina Turner said. “I have enjoyed working with Chief Swing. He will be missed by many in our organization. I thank him for his service to our community and wish him success in Pleasanton. They are very lucky to have him.”
The city’s press release also praised Swing as a “responsible steward” of the city’s budget, having created programs to manage the costs associated with vehicle tows and false alarm response. He has also worked to grow the nonprofit Community Law Enforcement Foundation, which supports MHPD’s equipment and training needs that are not covered by public funds. Swing helped establish the annual Cops and Robbers Ball, a fundraiser for CLEF.
Swing, who served as the 2019 president of the California Police Chiefs Association, added, “I am eternally grateful to the City of Morgan Hill for the opportunities afforded to me for the past 25 years. I am equally as thankful to the community for their continued support of their dispatchers, records specialists, and peace officers who valiantly serve each and every day to suppress crime and enhance the quality of life for our residents and guests.”
Swing’s salary in his new position in Pleasanton will be $238,682. His salary in Morgan Hill in 2018 was about $208,500, according to the city’s website.
In an interview, Swing also talked about the changes in crime trends and public safety concerns over the last 25 years in Morgan Hill. One of the biggest changes is that now, officers are seeing more offenders from outside Morgan Hill committing crimes here.
The City of Pleasanton seems to be grappling with a similar issue, Swing added.
Another increasing concern in Morgan Hill over the years has been issues related to homelessness and mental health.
“That’s something we’re seeing throughout the profession,” Swing said. “As local government, in general, we need to find a solution that doesn’t just involve law enforcement (because) it is not a problem we can arrest our way out of. We need to find longer term solutions, and provide the level of dignity that people deserve.”
Asked what he thinks Morgan Hill’s biggest challenges will be, Swing pointed to “fiscal sustainability” for both the near and long-term future. With lower per-capita tax revenue than other cities in the region, Morgan Hill’s leaders will continue to find it difficult to provide services at the level that residents demand.
“Addressing those needs is critical for ongoing success for the city and the police department,” Swing said.
The city manager’s office will announce more details about the MHPD leadership transition plan in the coming weeks, according to city staff.