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From paper route to patrol chief

Medford police Lt. Scott Clauson, who has the distinction of being part of not one, but two officer-involved shootings, is the department's newdeputy chief.

Clauson oversees Medford's patrol and records divisions and reports directly to police Chief Randy Sparacino.

Clauson, who has worked for Medford police since 1995, moves up after four years as the department's administrative lieutenant, in charge of grant management, budgets and fleet maintenance. In previous roles, Clauson has worked in financial investigations, hostage negotiations and the department's Gang and Street Unit, a predecessor to the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team.

On March 18, Clauson completed the 10-week FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., a program that drew 230 leaders from police departments from across the country.

“It just really opens your eyes to what’s happening outside of Medford and outside Oregon,” Clauson said.

The academy paired physical training with college-level classes on topics ranging from leadership and law to behavioral science and terrorist mindsets.

The fitness challenges all had "Wizard of Oz" names, such as the "Tin Man Trot" mile run and "Winged Monkey Assault Circuit Training" stair climb. The physical challenges culminated in a 6.1-mile run and obstacle course known as the "Yellow Brick Road," which included hills, creeks, stairs and rope climbs among other obstacles originally designed to train Marines.

"That's definitely a highlight of my career," Clauson said about completing the run with his teammates after weeks of training. "It's kind of a neat way to bring it all together."

Clauson joined Medford police a year after interning at the department while he was a Southern Oregon University criminology major.

“My internship helped me realize Medford was a very professional agency,” Clauson said. “It was at that point I decided I didn’t want to work anywhere else but Medford.”

In2005, Clauson was responding to an incident of child neglect that turned violent when 21-year-old Jeffrey Wayne Webb resisted arrest in a Spring Street apartment. Clauson shot Webb in the arm when Webb reached for a gun during the struggle. A grand jury ruled the shooting justified, and Webb was convicted of first-degree assault and resisting arrest.

Clauson's first officer-involved shooting occurred in December 1999, when he was shot in the leg while responding to a domestic dispute near South Columbus Avenue and Prune Street. Clauson was the first Medford officer shot in the line of duty in 67 years, archives showed.

The shooter, Moises Llamas, was convicted in 2001 of attempted murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The gunshot shattered Clauson's femur in eight pieces, requiring surgery and years of physical therapy. It took more than a year for Clauson to return to work part time, and it was more than five years before he returned to full-time patrol duty.

Clauson said response from the police departmentand the community made a lasting impact on him. Colleagues visited him at the hospital often and offered him and his family meals, while people in the community sent him letters of encouragement.

"You take the good with the bad," Clauson said. "I take a lot of positive experiences away from that."

Clauson said he developed his work ethic early on, and remembers begging his parents to let him take on a paper route back when the Mail Tribune was an evening paper on weekdays. He remembers using the extra money to purchase new bikes and a keyboard to jam with friends.Summers during college he worked for the sheriff's department doing marine patrol to help pay for college, and he had a college job loading for UPS.

That work experience pays off in the field today, Clauson said.

It's not uncommon for him to work an eight- or 10-hour day and then have something happen that requires him to be in the field for another six hours.

"You just have to be available," he said.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Deputy Chief Scott Clauson