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Clauson to be Medford's next top cop

A 23-year veteran of Medford's police force has been named as the city's next police chief.

Scott Clauson, currently adeputy chief who's risen through Medford's ranks since 1995, was named Thursday evening at the Medford City Council meeting as the police department's next chief effective later this summer.

"I am really, really excited by the new job," Clauson said outside the council meeting.

In his current role, Clauson oversees Medford police's busy patrol and records divisions. Clauson will be sworn into his new role Aug. 1.

Mayor Gary Wheeler called City Manager Brian Sjothun's selection "a good passing of the torch."

The appointment comes weeks after Medford chief Randy Sparacino announced his retirement citing health concerns. Sparacino has been chief since March of 2016, and within two months promoted Clauson from lieutenant to deputy chief.

Clauson and Sparacino both began their law enforcement careers in Medford as police bike cadets — albeit five years apart. Sparacino started with MPD in 1990, and Clauson started in 1995.

Clauson joined Medford police a year after interning at the department while he was a Southern Oregon University criminology major, he said in a previous news report. In addition to several administrative roles with the department, Clauson has worked financial investigations, hostage negotiations and the department's Gang and Street Unit, a predecessor to the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team, according to earlier news reports.

In 2016, Clauson graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. At the time, he called his 10 weeks there a highlight of his career.

Records show that Clauson has been involved in two officer-involved shootings in the course of his law enforcement career, including one that left him injured in the line of duty.

In December 1999, Clauson suffered a gunshot to his leg while responding to a domestic dispute near South Columbus Avenue and Prune Street. At the time, Clauson was the first Medford officer shot in the line of duty in 67 years, archives show.

His shooter was convicted of attempted murder in 2001 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, archives show.

The shooting shattered Clauson's femur in eight pieces, requiring surgery and years of physical therapy. It took more than a year for him to return to the force, and more than five years before he returned to patrol full-time, according to earlier news reports.

In 2005, Clauson shot 21-year-old Jeffrey Wayne Webb in the arm during a child neglect call that turned violent at a Spring Street apartment. A grand jury ruled the shooting justified. Webb was ultimately convicted of first-degree assault and resisting arrest in the incident.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.

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

Scott Clauson, currently a deputy chief, will be sworn-in as Medford's new police chief Aug. 1. Mail Tribune file photo from 2016.