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Our View: Lattes and law enforcement

Meet Rocklin PD at 'Coffee with a Cop'
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald and Press Tribune editor
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Law enforcement Q&A

Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence

What was your very first job?
I grew up on a rice farm, so my first job was working on the family farm.

Are you married? Do you have kids?
Yes, I am happily married to my wife, Jennifer, and I have one 20-year-old-son, Eddie, and three step-children, Taylor, Jake and Zach Nigh.

What is, in your opinion, the best band ever?
I am a huge blues and jazz fan, but the best band would have to be Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers.

What do you do when you’re not being the police chief?
I spend time with family, two dogs, Rocky and Jackson, and attempt to play golf. I am active in Freemasonry and I am a Shriner. I also work with Stand Up Placer, a local nonprofit committed to assisting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Why is Rocklin a good fit for you?
Rocklin is a special place to me because of the people. Rocklin is a great fit for me because people who live here care about their community and are extremely supportive of public safety.

 

“Coffee with a Cop”

What: Informal setting for a conversation with a member of the police department and neighbors to talk about any concerns

When: 7-8 a.m. Tuesday,April 30

Where: Famous Mo’s Coffee House & Theatre, 4147 Rocklin Road

 

If journalists and police departments could define their relationship on Facebook, it would be, “It’s complicated.”

I’ve spent a lot of time with police officers in my career – good times and bad, and thankfully never behind bars. I’ve watched a school resource officer perform magic tricks to engage kids on campus, I’ve shaken the paw of a highly trained K-9 and I’ve seen two police chiefs take their oaths. And when one of those chiefs passed away last year, long after I’d stopped writing about him, I cried and cried.

I’ve seen CHP officers pull injured people out of horrific car accidents. I spoke with a detective standing at the still-bloody scene of a triple-homicide. I’ve witnessed moments of silence as officers remembered their friends killed in the line of duty.

And, occasionally, I’ve had my frustrations. There are very specific things that an officer can and cannot say about an investigation. And when it’s my job to ask questions, sometimes I have to deal with not getting all the answers. And every time, I remind myself – and readers – the reason some information is kept private is the same reason why these officers go to work every day: to keep people safe.

I remember being absolutely terrified the first time I had to interview a police chief. The uniform, the badge, the gun – all intimidating. I stammered my way through the questions, and I’m pretty sure I confessed to speeding on the way over.

But time passed and I got more comfortable on my beat, and around the PD. Eventually I found myself cruising down the highway in a brand-new Charger, laughing and trying to take notes as the officer (not Rocklin PD!) gleefully pushed it past 100 mph while explaining how the vehicle was purchased without spending taxpayer money.

But you don’t need a press pass to get to know officers.

On Tuesday, Rocklin PD kicks off “Coffee with a Cop,” an informal chat with a different member of the force each month.

The first in the hot seat is Police Chief Ron Lawrence. He’s an expert not only on crime in Rocklin, but also state prison realignment and finding creative ways to save money and still keep our crime rate low.

He’s also a pretty cool guy. He promptly answers emails when I’m scrambling on deadline, and  he agreed to be the first respondent of the Law Enforcement Q&A, a new feature to help readers get to know the people behind those badges and guns.

Meet the chief in the infobox to the left, and in person on Tuesday.