Story by Keith Hayes on 07/15/2019Marine Captain Mark W. Machado is the newly appointed chief of police for the Marine Corps Police Department aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California.
"This is an unusual move, career wise," Machado said. "Col. Craig Clemans (commanding officer, MCLBB) asked if I could do this, and with the chief of police departing rather quickly and the retirement of Deputy Chief (William) Atkinson, it left a pretty big gap in the police department chain of command."
"I was blessed and honored to be able to serve in this position," he said. "The colonel had other qualified officers he could have chosen, but decided to choose me, and I intend to give the PD one hundred percent."
Colonel Clemans said he made the appointment in reaction to the sudden vacancy in the top leadership of the Department, and has been gratified with Machado's efforts to familiarize himself so quickly with all of the duties of the vital position.
"Not surprisingly, he has driven hard at learning his new responsibilities and at earning the respect of the Police Department even though he does not have a law enforcement background," the CO said.
Machado, a native of Warren, Rhode Island, left the directorship of S-4 Supply to take the chief's spot and in so doing donned a completely different mantel of responsibility.
"I came here not knowing what to expect, and the learning curve is huge," Machado explained, "but I dug in to the books, learned the rules and regulations and Standard Operating Procedures that the Police Department has in place, and that has helped a lot."
Machado also credits the long time police officers already imbedded in the Department, such as the Operations Officer, Services Officer, and Lieutenants throughout the force, for helping him make the transition.
"We have a new training officer who's bringing in new ideas and new methods of training," Machado said. The new chief has not forgotten to include himself in that training rotation.
"I've signed up for the Police Commander's Course in August," he said. "It's a two week course in Dumfries, Virginia, right outside of Quantico. It's designed for GS-11s, 12s and 13s and for officers from captain through lieutenant colonel. It's not a police academy. It's an executive level course. I volunteered for the course because I think it will help me make a more effective impact here."
Part of his job as the director of S-4 was dealing with people, but mostly with chains of supply that had established SOPs and checklists to keep everybody on the right path. At the MCPD he deals mostly with people whom are facing a challenge that is unique to many other jobs aboard base.
Machado pointed out that police officers often operate in quick decision scenarios that force them to use their own judgement and officer discretion, while still adhering to Federal and State laws.
The 18-year veteran of the Marine Corps has nothing but praise for the men and women who form the thin blue line aboard the base.
"What these police officers do on a daily basis is remarkable," Machado said. "I live on this base and I see what they do day in and day out. I'm never worried about the safety of my family or the residents aboard the base because they are always on the job."
The captain's biggest challenge, as he sees it, is keeping the officers engaged in their work.
"Their duties can become very routine," he explained. "They stand at the Entry Control Points of Nebo and Yermo, performing vehicle and identification checks for hours at a time and then conduct boundary patrols to ensure there are no trespassers entering the base. Keeping them motivated on ten or twelve-hour shifts is important because that can get monotonous."
"Like Marines, these police officers have shown the willingness to put in a little bit more to ensure the safety of the base" he said. "These officers do an amazing job. There are things they do every day that tenants or residents do not see. What they do behind the scenes is phenomenal. I want to foster a sense of ownership towards the base, so they know their jobs are important."
Colonel Clemans echoed Machado's sentiments, expressing his appreciation of the Police Department and what its officers do to keep the base safe.
"The professional leadership within the Police Department is inestimable in ensuring mission success during this time of transition. It is a team effort within the department which assures the security of the Base and stands ready to respond in time of crises. I am both proud of and grateful for their service," Clemans said.