MOORPARK – Growing up, Moorpark Police Chief Dick Diaz wanted to be a forest ranger. Maybe it was the gun or Smokey Bear hat that attracted him. Then again, he camped often as a kid. “It didn’t strike me it was a law enforcement job,” he said. When he realized his childhood dream required a biology degree, he took a detour that led him to the Marine Corps and then police work. “Dick is one of those guys who truly loves being a police officer,” sheriff’s Cmdr. Marty Rouse said. “He’s easy to speak to whether you’re a deputy, crook or citizen.” As a cop, Diaz has worked narcotics, motorcycle gangs, traffic and points in between. Or, as Rouse said, “He’s done it all and seen it all.” Rouse oversees the Moorpark station and said he’s familiar with Diaz’s work, saying he has a desire to help and mentor others and is a great role model and communicator. One of his passions is helping the disabled. “It’s not unusual for him to take folks under his wing and demonstrate the compassion of a police officer that some people never get to see,” Rouse said. And although he has a soft side, “He truly believes in putting crooks behind bars,” Rouse added. After retiring, Diaz plans to ride the original Route 66 on his motorcycle and then finish a semiautobiographical book about a retired cop who makes the same trip, a piece that will be filled with all sorts of adventures. But most important, he looks forward to spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren, he said. He postponed his retirement twice because he didn’t want to leave before moving into Moorpark’s new $11 million police headquarters, which opened earlier this month. The Police Services Center is his biggest accomplishment, he said. And after working on the project for the past three years, it was only fitting that he wait. However, he refuses to hang anything on the walls of his new office. He’ll leave that to the incoming chief. “I’d like to get a clone of Dick Diaz,” City Councilman Clint Harper said. “We all think the world of him. … We plan to keep him on board in some capacity, maybe as a consultant. We’re not going to let him go.” Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals He ends his career in March when he retires as a captain after 36 years with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, three of them acting as Moorpark’s chief. “I’m still not ready to retire,” the 58-year-old said, “but you have to do it sooner or later. I’ve been a Marine. I’ve been a cop. That’s all I’ve done my entire life.” The Fillmore resident was raised in a military family. He served in Vietnam with the Marines as a flight mechanic on an air refueler and cargo plane. Today, he has a 19-year-old son in the Navy. He went on to graduate from California State University, Fullerton, before landing jobs with the police departments in Orange, Signal Hill and Fillmore, when it had its own force. In 1987, he joined the Sheriff’s Department, which serves the cities of Moorpark, Camarillo, Fillmore, Ojai and Thousand Oaks, and the unincorporated areas of the county.