Rocklin police reorganize again

Chief looks for savings after recent departure of deputy chief Dan Ruden
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald correspondent
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The Rocklin Police Department is reorganizing its command staff. Just two years after the force eliminated two police captain positions in favor of a newly created deputy chief job, the department is now going back to that same organizational structure.

The plan was approved by the City Council at the March 26 meeting.

“Our police organizational structure has changed often through the years,” Police Chief Lawrence said. “Good organizations change and adapt with the needs of those they serve. The best organizations anticipate needs early and can change quickly to address fiscal realities and effectively achieve their mission. At Rocklin PD, our mission is to serve, protect and promote a safe community.”

The plan comes just a month after Deputy Chief Dan Ruden left Rocklin to accept the position of chief of police at the neighboring Lincoln Police Department.

In his farewell statement, Ruden thanked Lawrence for his leadership and said, “We’ve become close friends after nearly 20 years of working together.”

Lawrence declined to address whether the deputy chief position was tailored as a reward for Ruden, Lawrence’s one-time rival for the Rocklin police chief job in 2011.

“For a forward-thinking organization such as the police department, two years ago is ancient history,” Lawrence said in an email to the Placer Herald. “I am less concerned about the past two years and more focused on the future.”

The city reports Ruden made about $147,000. That’s about $4,500 more than the maximum a police captain could make in Rocklin, according to the posted salary schedule. The new plan saves the department money. It re-titles the deputy chief position to captain and reduces the salary by 2.5 percent, or about $6,000. It would also eliminate one of the four current lieutenant positions and convert one for the needed second captain position. The salary difference between captain and lieutenant is 5 percent, or about $4,000. According to city documents, the net effect will be a $2,000 savings overall. The captains will not be represented by the Rocklin Police Officers Association.

“To adequately lead the department, I needed my second-in-commands to be unrepresented and free from union representation,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said this may not be the last time a change is made.

“The police department organizational structure will no doubt change many times in our future as the city moves toward its population at build-out,” he said. “Any good leader is constantly re-evaluating their organization to ensure it’s operating as efficiently as possible.”

This is the second time Lawrence has reorganized the department since he was promoted from captain two years ago. Rocklin City Council members have had nothing but praise for the chief’s leadership, al-though the city has been criticized for giving Lawrence a 15 percent salary boost after his first year as the city’s top cop. Last week, Lawrence announced the city saw the lowest crime rate in a decade while at the same time reducing the department’s overall budget by $2.4 million over five years.

“With the limited resources allocated to the police department, we are currently achieving our mission extremely well, thanks to the dedication of our professional employees and help from caring community members,” Lawrence said.

Lt. Lon Milka was promoted to one of the captain positions last month. Lawrence said more internal promotions will likely be announced next week.


Rocklin Fire Department

A plan on the fire side approved last Tuesday adds a deputy chief position to the Rocklin Fire Department and moves the department into the management bargaining group.

The net effect will give the city a $25,000 base salary savings and a savings of $40,000 in potential overtime pay usually used for backfilling absences, according to the city.