California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 6

Rocklin itself has a relatively young population, with 20 percent of its residents under 18. It’s a city where youth sports are huge and that has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade. The Lawrences’ three children all attend Rocklin schools. Whether or not it’s a philosophy that comes from being relatively young. Lawrence says the new generation of police officers, unlike cops from a few decades ago, seems to place more emphasis on personal time off and time with family --- both healthy things, and a more balanced approach then putting work ahead of everything else. He allows his officers to swing by their children’s games while on duty and encourages them to exercise for up to an hour during their shifts. Ron Lawrence, Rocklin Chief of Police “What I’ve found,” Lawrence says, “is that a more collaborative approach works. I am constantly asking myself, ‘How can we make this department better?’” Instead of being content with the way their departments are running, the young chiefs embrace the use of new and recent technological tools such as social media to solve problems, and they look at ways to be progressive in the face of such challenges as budget cuts and prison realignment. It’s an approach, they say, that often can meet resistance from chiefs and other members of command staffs who come from older generations. Lawrence has been police chief of Rocklin since April 2011 --- preceding Ruffcorn’s appointment by two months. Hahn was sworn in as chief in March 2011. “As police chief, I’ve learned that getting to know the community is so important,” says Lawrence, who lives in Rocklin, a city of about 58,000, and makes a point of staying in the city to shop and eat with his wife, Jennifer. 10 | Behind The Badge BTB-Magazine-Fall2012.indd 10-11 Younger police chiefs tend to look at issues such as budget cuts and realignment as opportunities rather than obstacles, Lawrence says. He, Ruffcorn and Hahn put their heads together to strategize about the effects of the early release of prisoners and the shift to local oversight of them. The three chiefs also worked to save a countywide drug task force when the governor eliminated state funding of the program. They and others on a panel made sure that money remained the keep the narcotics task force alive. Academy (his wife, Angel, is a special agent with the FBI). Ruffcorn also has taught classes on generational leadership at police academies and at a private college. In addition to policing skills, Ruffcorn, as chief, places an emphasis on training and leadership for his 20 sworn officers and overall staff of 30. “Can we do things better? Can we find ways to be more efficient? These are some of the questions I am constantly asking myself,” Ruffcorn says. “Younger officers tend to be more effective at managing change, and not just being content with the way things are. “They are hands-on learners, and I make a point of involving them in the decision-making process. I see myself as more of a facilitator rather than an instructional police chief. I strive to incorporate the officers who are out their on the street as much as possible into the decisions I make.” Ruffcorn, citing a Ken Blanchard (“The One Minute Manager”) quote, added: “Leadership is not - Daniel Hahn something you do to people. It’s something you do with people. I truly believe that is a guiding principle in all of our styles.” Hahn, like Ruffcorn and Lawrence, also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and, like Lawrence and Ruffcorn, he believes that police chiefs must work in a true partnership with the community in order to be most effective. “I don’t know whether our ages have anything to do with the way we approach the job of police chief, but we definitely have similar philosophies about the importance of community-oriented policing and making sure our officers are out in the streets engaging with people,” says Hahn. In a nod to an activity that has become embraced by younger cops raised in the digital age, Lawrence allows his 52 sworn officers to text each other about work-related issues while they are on duty and while engaged in low-risk activities, rather that communicating exclusively over the radio. As far as management philosophy, Hahn says he allows his 122 sworn officers to control their destinies. “I give them the responsibilities to solve problems and the leeway to be innovative,” Hahn says. “It’s easy to say no and put my foot down, but it they are doing it safely and are being productive, it’s not a big deal,” Lawrence says. “I’ve got to embrace that and be innovative and creative as long as the activity is safe and legal.” Ruffcorn started his career in 1986 at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department at the age of 19 in the evidence room and worked his way up to the rank of lieutenant. Among his career accomplishments are being named a management fellow for the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training and graduating from the FBI National “I don’t know whether our ages have anything to do with the way we approach the job of police chief, but we definitely have similar philosophies about the importance of community-oriented policing” Hahn, Ruffcorn and Lawrence get together for lunch regularly. “It helps that we’re all of a like mind when it comes to the role of a police agency,” Hahn says. “It’s often said that the community is our eyes and ears, but that’s not a true partnership. It goes much deeper than that. We need to know what the community values, and then do our best to serve our community.” • Daniel Hahn, Roseville Chief of Police Fall 2012 | 11 11/8/12 11:30:03 PM