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Former WPD chief passes away, remembered for high standards for officers

Long-time Winchester Police Chief Billy Claypoole is being remembered as a leader who set high standards for his officers.

Those standards, ultimately, rubbed off on officers from that time in the department.

Claypoole, 75, passed away Oct. 15 at his home.

According to city officials, Claypoole served as chief from November 1975 through April 1989, when he retired from the department. 

Claypoole’s obituary said he worked for the police department for more than 20 years, plus a time for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

Current Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr. was hired for the department in 1982, and spent seven years working with Claypoole as chief.

“He was strict,” Perdue said. “He was a disciplinarian. When you’re young, you look at it as a tough environment. He held you responsible and accountable. There were no gray areas. You knew where you stood with him.”

Policy and procedure governed everything.

Perdue said Claypoole set the standard for his officers.

“He wore a uniform to work every day,” Perdue said. “He was always spit-and-polished and tall and lean.”

Some of that rubbed off on Perdue, though he said he didn’t realize until much later.

“I’m the same way when it comes to uniforms and appearance,” Perdue said. “You are what you are perceived to be.”

Claypoole is survived by his wife, Janice, two children and several grandchildren, among others. His funeral service was Monday afternoon. 

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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