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Clauson takes reins as Medford's new police chief

Medford has a new police chief, but the wisdom of the former chief won’t be lost.

Scott Clauson, a 24-year veteran of Medford’s police force, was sworn-in as chief Thursday evening at the Medford City Council meeting, and former chief Randy Sparacino will transition to a temporary city leadership role at the end of the year.

Clauson, who was born and raised in Medford, began his career in 1995 as a bike cadet before rising through the ranks, working financial investigations, hostage negotiations and the department’s former Gang and Street Unit — a predecessor to the multi-agency Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force.

In the moments after Sparacino’s final call, Clauson’s eldest son, Zac Clauson, 22, did the honors of pinning Clauson’s new badge to an audience of the mayor, numerous local police and firefighters, and many members of Chief Clauson’s family — including his younger son, Christian Clauson, 21, his parents, Larry and Barbara Clauson, and an aunt and uncle who came from Boise, Idaho, for the ceremony.

He expressed gratitude to his parents at the ceremony taking Medford police’s highest rank, particularly his father, who in his 70s is one of two volunteers who wash Medford’s patrol vehicles “inside and out” twice a week.

“My mom and dad instilled in me a strong work ethic, and over the years they’ve been a huge support to me throughout my career,” Clauson said.

After the ceremony, Clauson said Sparacino is leaving him the department in a “really good place,” and Clauson said he admired the way Sparacino built-up others within the department, and hopes to do the same.

“Randy was a collaborative leader who allowed others to have a voice in big decisions,” Clauson said.

The ceremony also honored Sparacino’s 29 years of service at the department.

Calling him a “great friend” and a “level-headed, strategic thinker,” City Manager Brian Sjothun praised Sparacino for the mark he left on the department.

“He truly did change the culture,” Sjothun said. “Not that it was broken, but it just needed to be reset.”

Sparacino won’t be leaving the city of Medford entirely, according to Sjothun. Current Deputy City Manager Eric Zimmerman will be deployed for about nine to 12 months later this year, and Sjothun described Sparacino as an ideal fit to take his place on a temporary basis.

“I couldn’t think of anybody better than to have Randy still be with our organization, just not in the role he is today,” Sjothun said.

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

Scott Clauson was sworn-in as Medford Police Chief Thursday evening. Submitted photo.