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Rocklin’s deputy chief now top cop in Lincoln

Dan Ruden takes over for outgoing Paul Shelgren
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald correspondent
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After nine years on the command staff at the Rocklin Police Department, Deputy Chief Dan Ruden will take the chief position in Lincoln this weekend, according to the Lincoln city manager and Ruden.

“I’ve already met many of the men and women at Lincoln PD,” Ruden said. “These folks have worked hard to keep their community safe through several financially challenging years. I look forward to leading such committed professionals.”

Lincoln’s outgoing chief, Paul Shelgren, posted about his retirement on Facebook, at which time he confirmed Ruden was his replacement. Shelgren has been at the Lincoln Police Department for 26 years and took over as chief in January 2011.

“It’s time to walk away,” Shelgren wrote. “It’s not about me or whoever wears the stars or any other individual, it’s all about what we do as a whole to keep the community safe is what counts and really means something.”

Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence said Ruden will be an excellent chief for Lincoln.

“Chief Dan Ruden is an exceptional leader,” he said. “The Lincoln community is fortunate to gain such a talented and skilled professional. With his knowledge, wisdom and experience, I have every confidence Chief Ruden will do great things for their department and city.”

Ruden is no stranger to the top job. He rose to the rank of deputy chief while working at West Sacramento Police and eventually was appointed interim chief in 2004, where he implemented team strategies and enhanced communication and morale during a significant transition of leadership, according to city documents. He came to Rocklin as a captain in July 2004.

He was in the running for Rocklin’s chief opening in 2011 with then Captain Lawrence. The two are quite close, as Ruden recruited Lawrence to Rocklin PD in 2006 after getting to know him when they worked together in West Sacramento.

“Ron is one of the most dynamic leaders in our profession and we’ve become close friends after nearly 20 years of working together,” Ruden said. “Here in Rocklin I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the finest police officers and professional staff anywhere. I will miss Rocklin PD, but I know the department is in good hands with Chief Ron Lawrence.”

At last Tuesday’s meeting, the Rocklin City Council approved a resolution commending Ruden’s service to Rocklin and his 30 years of police service. Ruden “built a regional law enforcement collaboration and was instrumental in developing the Tri-City SWAT team, Regional Auto Theft Task Force and accreditation of the department,” it read in part.

When Ruden started at Rocklin, the police department met in the back of Fire Station No.1, but he helped oversee the transition into the current police headquarters on Rocklin Road.

“Since then I’ve been lucky enough to be part of an amazing transformation in facilities, equipment and regional significance for Rocklin PD,” Ruden said. “Together we achieved many great things.”

Ruden was “devastated” by the death of, and wants to pay special attention to, slain Rocklin Officer Matt Redding, who was killed by a drunk driver while on duty in 2005.

“Through it all, the men and women of Rocklin PD have shown great professionalism and set an example for our profession,” Ruden said. “Rocklin PD will always be a special place.”

Ruden has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and graduated from the FBI National Academy . He started as a patrol officer with the South San Francisco Police Department in 1983 moved to West Sacramento in 1987.

With Ruden’s departure, Lt. Lon Milka has been promoted to captain. He said he will be responsible for overseeing patrol activities. In April 2011, Lawrence reorganized the department to include a second-in-command deputy chief position to oversee the police lieutenants on various shifts. At that time, the captain positions were eliminated to give the lieutenants more responsibility. Milka signaled there may be changes in the works.

“It’s in the planning stages,” Milka said.

Ruden takes over as Lincoln Chief of Police effective Feb 23.