Dan Ruden to take over as interim police chief Feb. 23

Paul Shelgren to retire after 27 years of service
By: Carol Percy, Reporter Lincoln News Messenger
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Lincoln’s public-safety committee met in City Hall Monday to hear annual reports for police and fire, and to review a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance.

What wasn’t listed on the meeting agenda was the mystery guest — Lincoln’s new Police Chief, Dan Ruden — at the meeting.

Ruden will replace outgoing Interim Police Chief Paul Shelgren, as of Feb. 23.

Shelgren is retiring after 27 years of police service.

“We are very lucky to have a new interim police chief who was in our own backyard,” said Lincoln City Manager Jim Estep on Tuesday. “Dan has outstanding credentials and experience as the deputy chief of police in Rocklin. His professionalism and ability to lead our department during these difficult economic times is truly welcome.”

Eight participants, including Councilman Peter Gilbert, Lincoln’s interim police and fire chiefs, firefighters union representatives, the city attorney and Ruden, attended Monday’s public-safety meeting chaired by Councilman Paul Joiner.

Along with reports about ongoing police department staffing issues, the city “is looking soon to hire a high priority sixth dispatcher.”

Shelgren said that both traffic citations and “crimes against persons and assaults” are down, while burglaries have nearly doubled. Since 2009, burglaries have increased from 133 to 203.

Lincoln Interim Fire Chief Mike Davis said that the department is looking at several ways to enhance and augment Lincoln’s firefighter program.

With the average emergency call response time “running just under seven minutes,” Davis said the department “is looking to hire non-sworn reserve and auxiliary firefighters to augment the regular sworn staff in order to reduce call response times from seven to four minutes.” Sworn staff comprises full-time, fully-trained employees. Non-sworn staff may include volunteers.

Adding reserves and auxiliary firefighters to the ranks, Davis said, could help keep two fire stations open that are presently slated for closure.

“We can get a lot more boots in the fire station by using reserves and auxiliary firefighters,” Davis said.

Evan Faddis, president of Lincoln’s Professional Firefighters union, said the union is constantly working with management to keep up staff levels and keep stations open.

“We came up with the auxiliary program to help with extra helping hands on calls,” Faddis said.

On another subject, city attorney Jonathon P. Hobbs presented a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance for consideration by the committee. The ordinance was in response to residents who complained about noxious odors coming from neighboring yards where marijuana was being cultivated.

If the ordinance passes, Police Chief Shelgren said, that won’t change the way the police department does business but it will make it easier to “check to see who’s in compliance” with the laws.

Councilman Peter Gilbert made a motion that the ordinance be sent on for consideration by the Planning Commission.

The Lincoln News Messenger will report on the medical marijuana issue in a few weeks.