Deputy Police Chief David Clark has been working with the full authority of The Office of the Chief of Police since last December with the placing on administrative leave of then Police Chief Mark Segalla. David Clark is no stranger to Reading, growing up here, graduating from Reading Memorial High School in 1989, and serving in our Police Department since 1995, starting as a patrol officer.
As you might suspect, David’s appointment presented somewhat unique challenges beginning with the strengthening of ties with his command staff, town officials and committees, our school community, and residents as well as businesses.
David is happy to report that the Police Department is running very smoothly thanks, as he says, to a great command staff and a strong support system present in our community. “The positive interaction with the public, especially our youth, is particularly gratifying. They’re comfortable in talking to us knowing that we’re here to help. This day to day interaction with the public is an essential part of our job.”
One of David’s most unforgettable experiences in his Reading Police career occurred the night of December 26, 2010 when Reading police responded to a robbery in progress at Kohl’s Department Store on Washington Street, Woburn, a very short distance from the Reading town line on West Street. Woburn Police Officer John Maguire was killed in an exchange of gunfire outside the store when one of the 2 robbers began firing after refusing to heed Officer Maguire’s order to halt. The robber was killed in the exchange while a second robber and an accomplice, awaiting in get-away car, were apprehended through the combined efforts of the Reading and Woburn police. Officer Maguire was rushed to the Lahey Clinic in Burlington where he succumbed to his wounds. The experience demonstrated the massive coordination among multiple police agencies in addressing the tragic situation.
David believes that the short-term needs of the department are to continue to work on our community outreach and interaction. This would include an officer on foot walking our thriving downtown area and making contact with both business owners and the public. This outreach and interaction with the community is a key to maintaining and improving our relationship with the community we serve.
He also wants to continue the partnership with Respond Inc. and the confidential domestic violence counselor Sammy who works out of the police station. Our partnership with Respond ensures that all victims of domestic violence have access to crucial services. These are immediate short term needs that are part of a long term plan for u
Long term, David feels that we need to continue to strengthen relationships with agencies dealing with mental health problems and drug addiction. They’re problems representing a mix of all ages and we have seen a large increase in these types of calls for service and professional help from groups like RCASA have helped us deal with these calls. David is also a member of the Human Relation Advisory Committee and continues to work with various town groups and residents to ensure that all people, no matter their race, religion, sex or sexual orientation feel safe in our community.
David has found the Reading community very supportive of his efforts to keep things together during this interim period before a new Police Chief is appointed. He feels that the department is very fortunate to have the town support that it has and is very helpful for the public to know that we’re here to serve and protect them. He has witnessed the positive comments made by residents on social media that reinforce their efforts, random letters expressing happiness in the way the police handled specific situations, and spontaneous comments made during community celebrations like the Reading Street Faire or the recent 375 Birthday Celebration activities. Spontaneous comments like “You’re doing a fantastic job” even when you’re off-duty or when complete strangers express similar sentiments when on duty are very exhilarating.
David, as a long term Reading resident, would like to see the town keep a fine balance between maintaining some of our traditions and not losing our identity with the need to keep current and embrace all of the changes happening in town. David points out that there’s much that has happened in our town since he was a patrolman where you can now spend and entire day and evening enjoying good restaurants and meeting your shopping needs for many items as well as meeting many interesting people who have chosen Reading as their place to call home. To be sure, traffic and its accompanying congestion have increased but so have the ways of handling them including saying good-bye to “Old Yellow”, the “Traffic Dummy” in the square.
The Deputy Chief is looking forward to the department returning to a full staff soon. The department will be hiring two more officers this year. Once full staffing needs are met, the department can go back to being pro-active instead of reactive. Increased traffic enforcement to address residents’ concerns and adding to the department’s mountain bike unit to help better patrol the parks and walking trails.
David has been with the Reading Police Department for the past 24 years starting in 1995 as a Patrolman for 10 years, Sergeant for 9 years, Lieutenant for 2 years and Deputy Chief for the past 3 years. During these years, he has been directly involved in training and teaching many specialized police programs. He lives in Reading with his wife Krista, a nurse practitioner at MGH and 2 boys, Hayden and Logan who are identical twins. He holds a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Western New England University and a Bachelor’s from Salem State, majoring in Criminal Justice.
Prior to joining our Police Department, he served as a Military Police Officer in the U.S. Army where he was deployed to places like Panama, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Cuba. He’s an avid collector of police memorabilia and has a large collection of police hats and badges from all over the world.
He has earned many honors and achievements including official citations from the Massachusetts State Senate and the House of Representatives. Among many others, he received the “Officer of the Year” award twice from the Reading/North Reading Chamber of Commerce.
David would like Reading residents to know that the Reading Police Department is here to serve them and that we are constantly working hard to provide the best level of service possible. David thanks the public for all their support over the years and looks forward to working with them in the future.