He calls himself a “people person,” and judging by the wall-to-wall crowd at his swearing in, David Payne is right on. Some say the turnout at his swearing-in ceremony at Clayton City Hall on Feb.18 was the largest in the city’s history. Many attending were Payne’s former colleagues from the Walnut Creek Police Department, where he worked as a police service officer for six years.
“I wrote a lot of parking tickets,” Payne says.
His role in public service evolved from working as a customer service representative for County Connection transportation.
Payne was considering several positions related to helping the public and using his strong communication skills when he saw the posting for the police service officer position and decided to get his feet wet in law enforcement. After rotating through various assignments, Payne was motivated and put himself through the police academy at Napa Valley College.
“It was a tough first half,” Payne says. But then it started to click. “The challenges, learning and interaction helped me grow as a person.”
Payne grew up in San Francisco and now lives with his girlfriend in Moraga. He studied auto repair at the College of Marin before earning his bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts at the University of California Santa Barbara. Payne says he grew out of doing things for fun and started looking for a career path. “I’m really a patient person by nature. Working with the public is a good fit.”
Chief Chris Thorsen agrees. “He’s very personable, a real sweetheart of a guy. He wants to do well and he will.”
Payne is on patrol with Officer Allen White for a few months of field training before being out on his own.
He describes Clayton as charming and welcoming, noticing that everyone waves at Officer White. Payne did not see the connection between the community and the police growing up and is excited to see that bond in Clayton.
“It’s supposed to be a partnership,” he says.