(L-R) Patrick Larkin, CRPD District Administrator; Brian Danzl, Board Secretary; Terri Leimbach, Board Member; Rick Sloan, Board Member. Photo courtesy CRPD

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Cordova Recreation and Park District (CRPD) created a beautiful community park suited to host recreation, education and play. Last month, only a half-year after its opening, Heron Landing Community Park received an award. The California Association of Recreation and Park Districts (CARPD) granted CRPD the 2018 Award of Distinction for Outstanding New Facility.

CRPD’s Heron Landing Community Park opened in mid-December. Its opening was much anticipated by CRPD and community members, especially those who attended community meetings to voice their wants and needs and helped to shape and design critical elements of the park.  

There are many reasons the park is being recognized as outstanding. A strong resource conservation aesthetic is built into its design and is reflected in the selection of the many drought-tolerant and low water-use plants on the grounds. The park’s celebration of nature is made palpable in the shapes and colors selected for its play areas and spray park as well as in its bike path – which travels on to join other trails and ultimately connects with the Folsom Canal and American River Trail. With multiple tennis courts, basketballs hoops, ballfields, walking trails, multi-use open turf fields and a splash park, the park promotes recreation to its fullest. The District also worked closely with the community to include site specific accessible elements so that a variety of experiences can be shared by people of all abilities.

The CARPD award is the second award the park has won since its opening. The Facility Design and Park Planning Award was presented to CRPD in February by the California Park & Recreation Society, District 2.

Rancho Cordova's History

AAA: Uncle Sam Wants YOU to Outsmart Traffic This Fourth of July

By AAA  |  2018-06-21

Nearly 47 million Americans will travel this Independence Day, an all-time record

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - AAA projects a record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles to celebrate Independence Day this summer, the highest total since AAA began tracking holiday travel 18 years ago. That’s 5 percent more than the 44 million Americans who traveled for the patriotic celebration in 2017, which was the previous national record.

More than 5.43 million Californians are projected to travel over the Fourth of July holiday, representing an increase of 5.3 percent from last year, according to the travel source. That’s also a new state record, breaking California’s previous high of 5.16 million travelers set in 2017.

“Fourth of July is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, but this year is an all-time whopper,” said Michael Blasky, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Despite the highest gas prices in four years, more Californians will be taking to the road and the skies next month to celebrate America’s birthday than ever.”

The Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3, to Sunday, July 8.

By the Numbers: Independence Day California Travel Forecast

  • 5,434,994 Californians are expected to travel over the upcoming holiday weekend, almost 300,000 more than in 2017, which was the previous all-time high for the Golden State.

  • Higher fuel prices aren’t slowing Californians down. The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is nearly 70 cents higher than in 2017, but 4.2 million Californians will drive to their destination -- nearly 80 percent of the state’s total travelers.

  • Travelers will pay less for airfare in 2018, but more for car rentals and hotels. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay an average $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. That is the lowest Independence Day airfare in five years, and 9 percent less than last year. 

“The current economic landscape including strong employment, rising incomes and consumer confidence is helping to boost the number of planned getaways over the second three-day weekend of the summer,” Blasky said. 

AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists across the country over Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. Before heading out of town, AAA recommends drivers take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility for a thorough inspection and perform needed maintenance.

AAA offers a variety of mobile travel resources including AAA Mobile, a free app for Smartphone users. The app uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, locate nearby discounts, summon roadside assistance, find current gas prices and more. Travelers can learn more about this resource at AAA.com/mobile.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

AAA Northern California is the best roadside assistance solution, offering the fastest response times and highest satisfaction rates in the industry. The club also provides discounts, financial services, driver training resources and is a leading advocate for the motoring and traveling public. Visit www.AAA.com.

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SacRT selling K-12 Student Summer Pass! Two Months for $30!

By Citrus Heights News  |  2018-06-21

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) happily announced their $20 Student Monthly Pass is now on sale as a K-12 Student Two-Month Summer Pass for just $30.00 – a 25% reduction over the already recently reduced student pass! Passes are valid for unlimited bus, light rail and SmaRT Ride service for both July and August. Passes on sale on SacRT mobile fare app ZipPass or the Connect Card. Visit SacRT.com for more information

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California State Parks Offers Tips to Recreate Safely This Fourth of July Holiday

By California Department of Parks and Recreation  |  2018-06-21

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Fourth of July is around the corner and for many outdoor enthusiasts, it is the perfect time for camping, hiking and swimming with family and friends. California State Parks wants our visitors to recreate safely and enjoy their time by keeping their loved ones safe.

Because the hot summer weather invites many people to head into the water, whether it be in lakes, rivers or the ocean, it is important to protect loved ones from accidental drownings. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. About 10 people die from unintentional drownings every day, but can easily be prevented by learning water safety and lifesaving techniques.

Below you will find 10 tips to stay safe during this Fourth of July holiday:

  1. Wear a Life Jacket: Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved and properly-fitted. Several public and private entities make life jackets available to the public on a loan basis.View Locations
  2. Protect Your Loved Ones: Know your limits. Swimming in a lake, ocean or river is different than swimming in a pool. If someone is in distress, seek help from a lifeguard or call 9-1-1 if one is not available. Supervise children at all times by appointing a designated "water watcher," taking turns with other adults. Do not assume that someone is watching them.
  3. Do not enter the water if it is too cold: Waterways continue to rise as snow melts and can be dangerously cold and swift. Even the strongest swimmers can be stunned by cold water and become incapacitated.
  4. Ocean Rip Currents: If you get caught in one, stay calm and do not fight the current. Swim or float parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and then swim toward the shore.
  5. Avoid Alcohol: Operating your boat or an off-highway vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more is against the law. Impaired boaters will be stopped and can be arrested even with lower BAC if the conditions are not safe. Your boat can be impounded.
  6. Know the Rules/Laws: Take the time to visit the webpage of the park you plan on visiting and learn about the rules, such as parking, if dogs are allowed and closed areas. It is also important to learn the laws for recreating in boats and/or off-highway vehicles.  
  7. Prepare an Itinerary: No matter what type of recreation activity you will be participating in, leave an itinerary of your trip with a family member/friend with information such as name/age of all participants, travel destination and expected return date. This will ensure law enforcement personnel have a better understanding of your location in the event of a rescue.
  8. Natural Resources: Whether you are hiking, horseback riding or operating an off-highway vehicle, stay on designated trails. You are not only protecting natural resources, but you are also ensuring that you do not get lost.
  9. Use the buddy system: Hike or swim with a friend or family member. This is key especially if you are bit by a snake, encounter other wildlife or need medical attention. Buddies can seek help for you.
  10. Wildlife: View wildlife from a distance. Never feed or touch them. Be cautious of where you are stepping. If you see a snake, maintain a distance of 6 feet. Most bites occur when people get too close or try to touch them.

Additional safety tips and information on laws can be found online at www.parks.ca.gov/safetytips.

With over 340 miles of coastline, 970 miles of lake and river frontage, 15,000 campsites, and 4,500 miles of trails, California State Parks contains the largest and most diverse recreational, natural, and cultural heritage holdings of any state agency in the nation with 280 state parks. More than 67 million people annually visit California's state park system. Invent your adventure online at www.parks.ca.gov.

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today issued the following statement regarding the Democrat majority-vote budget bill:

“I tip my hat to Governor Brown and his Democrat allies in the legislature; they can spend money faster and more irresponsibly than any group of people I’ve ever seen. This budget is – again – the biggest in Golden State history. We keep spending more and more but not getting better roads, better schools, or better anything besides wealthier public employee unions.”

“Brown had the nerve to point to a piggybank during his budget presentation, and to imply that he has saved the state some amazing amount of money since he’s been in office. That’s a farce! With just a bit of fiscal discipline we could have filled a dozen of those piggybanks. Brown taxed more and then Brown spent more. He was the most predictable big-spending Democrat to ever roam the Capitol halls.”

“The Governor himself has repeatedly warned that another recession is headed our way. Instead of heeding that warning, we are increasing spending by billions to pay for things like the absurd High Speed Rail project, a minimum wage increase and pushing a billion-dollar makeover for the state capitol.”

“We are so dependent on Silicon Valley’s economic miracle that it’s frightening. Their prosperity obscures huge problems in the rest of the state, and our highly-progressive tax system means that if Silicon Valley coughs, the state budget catches pneumonia. A slight downturn could send us into a fiscal crisis in Sacramento. Far from being recession proof, we would be recession toast.”

“This is a budget that guarantees higher taxes for families around the state. Is it any wonder that working-class people are fleeing California as fast as they can load their U-Hauls? How could they want to stay when their government treats them like ATMs? Democrats force them to pay the highest sales taxes, highest income taxes, some of the highest gas taxes and property taxes in the nation, and then celebrate when and brag about how much this year’s budget ‘invests.’ For once, I wish the Democrats would spend less and let the people invest in themselves.

“This is Governor Brown’s last budget and thankfully so. He’s spent 8 years talking about fiscal discipline and prudence while supporting new taxes, fees and spending at every turn. He’s leaving behind a legacy of poverty, massive homelessness, and fiscal recklessness.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Women’s Empowerment Receives $11,500 from American River Bank Foundation

By Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2018-06-21

Kymla Birchette of American River Bank Foundation poses with graduates of Women’s Empowerment’s paid property management training program. The foundation recently granted $11,500 to the organization.

Donation to Go Towards Paid Job Training for Homeless Women

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - American River Bank Foundation recently granted $11,500 to Sacramento nonprofit Women’s Empowerment to provide paid job training for homeless women through the group’s Get A Job Kit small business. Funding also will support Women’s Empowerment’s new property management training program REstart in partnership with the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Sacramento. 

“American River Bank Foundation’s funding has been absolutely vital as we’ve grown The Get A Job Kit small business over the past four years, ” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “We are so thankful to American River Bank Foundation and its continued investment in paid job training for women who are homeless. They stepped up to fund The Get A Job Kit, and now they’re making the same commitment by investing in our REstart program to train women in the field of property management.”

The Get A Job Kit was launched under Women’s Empowerment’s name in April 2014 after the business was donated by local entrepreneur Shirley Willey, who had created and run the business for nearly 25 years. The social enterprise trains graduates of Women’s Empowerment’s nine-week job-readiness program in the production, customer service, quality assurance, forklift operation, shipping and receiving industries. Over the course of five weeks, trainees are paid to assemble the Get A Job Kits, an all-in-one career organizer, to fill customer orders while receiving hands-on training, performance evaluations and relevant job experience. Since launching the small business, Women’s Empowerment has sold 15,000 Kits to high schools, veterans programs, nonprofits, vocational and technical colleges and anti-recidivism programs.

Women’s Empowerment’s recent partnership with IREM Sacramento provides Women’s Empowerment graduates with paid training in property management, a career that provides both stable employment and housing on the property being managed. 

“As homelessness increases in our community, and finding affordable housing becomes even more challenging, we developed a strategic partnership that provides both income and housing,” Culp said. “We are grateful to American River Bank Foundation for seeing the value of this new, innovative training program.”

The Get A Job Kit and REstart are two components of Women’s Empowerment’s programs that end homelessness for women and children in Sacramento. Women’s Empowerment was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show in 2015 for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women who are homeless and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,503 homeless women and their 3,600 children. Last year, 92 percent of graduates found homes and 77 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org. For more information or to purchase The Get a Job Kit, visit www.getajobkit.com.

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications

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Scott Jones Re-elected as Sacramento County Sheriff

By Tab Communications  |  2018-06-21

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Sheriff Scott Jones has been re-elected Sacramento County Sheriff, finishing with over 51.5% of the vote, easily outdistancing three other candidates by almost 30 points, and finishing over 75,000 votes ahead of his nearest competitor. 

“I’m honored by the support from Sacramento County,” stated Jones. “The campaign is over. Now it is time to get back to work.”

“It sounds cliché, but I really am deeply honored and humbled by the support and encouragement I have received,” said Jones.  “There have been so many people doing so many things - from our extraordinary Deputies making me look good every day; to campaign staff, donors, volunteers and community leaders working hard over the past four months to win this thing early.  It really is humbling.”

“The best campaign strategy ever is having a candidate who is already doing a great job for the office for which they are running,” said Jones’ consultant Tab Berg. 

“Winning in a crowded field is difficult, especially when special interests are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on negative attacks,” said Berg. “But voters overwhelmingly rejected their cynical tactics and partisan message - largely because Scott Jones has done an extraordinary job as Sheriff.” 

Former Sheriff John McGinness concurred, “Scott is one of the best to ever serve as Sacramento Sheriff.  I see it. Leaders throughout the county see it. Voters clearly see it.  Sacramento is better and safer with Scott Jones as Sheriff.”

The Registrar of Voters still has 4,620 ballots to count before the election can be certified, but the other candidates have been mathematically eliminated and Jones will be re-elected to a 3rd term.

Source: Tab Communications

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - California Secretary of State Alex Padilla applauds Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature for including historic investments in new voting systems and election cybersecurity in the 2018-2019 Budget.

“Cyber threats, both foreign and domestic, have become the new norm in our elections,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “The California Budget addresses cyber threats by providing $134 million for counties to modernize aging voting equipment and $3 million to create the Office of Elections Cybersecurity and the Office of Enterprise Risk Management. These investments will improve the voter experience, strengthen existing security measures, and improve collaboration and coordination with county elections officials and our partners in the intelligence community.”

The $134 million budget allocation will allow the Secretary of State to support counties’ efforts to upgrade or replace voting equipment including the purchase of ballot on demand technology, electronic poll books, and open source voting systems.

“While the White House remains in denial, our national security apparatus has verified that the Russian attacks on our democracy did not end with the 2016 election,” said Senator Henry Stern. “Cyberattacks and misinformation-based warfare continue today. California voters deserve secure elections and credible information leading into November. That’s why we’re establishing the Office of Elections Cybersecurity immediately. This office will bring California’s full expertise in technology and cybersecurity to bear to protect voters, and go after criminals who attempt to disrupt our democracy with hacking, voter confusion and vote suppression.”

The Enterprise Risk Management Office will coordinate efforts between the Secretary of State and local elections officials to reduce the likelihood and severity of cyber incidents, as well as establish cyber incident response best practices. The Office of Elections Cybersecurity will facilitate information sharing between federal, state, and local agencies on threats to election cybersecurity, risk assessment, and threat mitigation in a manner that is both timely and that protects sensitive information.

The Department of Finance allocated the initial $1 million to create the ERM and the California Legislature approved an additional $2 million to supplement the office's security and outreach efforts related to elections through the Office of Elections Cybersecurity.

“Given the ongoing and increasingly sophisticated threats posed to our elections systems, creating an Office of Elections Cybersecurity is an important step to ensuring that state and county elections officials have the information and the tools necessary to defend our democracy from cyber-attacks,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “I’m pleased that the budget passed by the Legislature today includes funding to create this critically important office.”

The legislature’s funding will also support the Secretary of State’s Communications Department to develop immediate information-correction campaigns, better outreach to communities in rural and urban areas, and assist county elections officials and voters with up-to-date information about potential threats.

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The former San Francisco Giants pitcher, motivational speaker, and author will visit Raley Field on June 22

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky will be at Raley Field on Friday, June 22, 2018 for a VIP meet and greet, a ceremonial first pitch, and to sign autographs for fans in attendance.

The River Cats will host a pregame VIP meet and greet with Dravecky which is only available to those who have purchased the 2018 Giant Pack. He will also be available for autographs on the concourse after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.

Dave Dravecky played in parts of eight seasons with the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants from 1982-1989. He made his Major League debut with the Padres on June 15, 1982, and was an all-star in 1983. The left-hander was acquired by the San Francisco Giants in 1987 and was 11-7 with a 3.22 ERA in 27 starts for the Giants during his time in the city by the bay. Cancer unfortunately ended his career in 1989 during the Giants run to the World Series. The fan-favorite has had an inspiring post-retirement career as a successful motivational speaker and author.

For more information, please call the River Cats ticket hotline at (916) 371-HITS (4487) or email tickets@rivercats.com.

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Get to Know Your Assistant Chiefs of Police

By Ashley Downton, City of Rancho Cordova  |  2018-06-14

Assistant Chiefs Lieutenant Chad Lewis and Lieutenant Jeff Schelldorf are responsible for managing and overseeing the units and officers at RCPD, as well as serving as liaisons between the units and Rancho Cordova’s Chief of Police. Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Rancho Cordova Police Department (RCPD) is proud to announce we now have two Assistant Chiefs of Police to serve our growing community – Lieutenant Chad Lewis and Lieutenant Jeff Schelldorf.

Our Assistant Chiefs are responsible for managing and overseeing the units and officers at RCPD, as well as serving as liaisons between the units and Rancho Cordova’s Chief of Police. A second position was added to further increase the level of support for our team at RCPD.

Meet our Assistant Chiefs of Police!

Lieutenant Chad Lewis

Lieutenant Chad Lewis wanted to be a doctor, and specifically an anesthesiologist, from day one. He studied at Fresno State as a pre-med major and made good grades. However, he was miserable between the school schedule and three part-time jobs, and realized he needed to make a change. He decided to come to Sacramento to take a few criminal justice classes; he got hooked, and never looked back.

Lieutenant Lewis took a reserve police officer academy certification course and enrolled at California State University, Sacramento where he changed his major to criminal justice. He moved to Rancho Cordova and started working at Foundation Health in the community. He even proposed to his wife on the Sunrise Pedestrian Bridge!

In 1993, he applied for and was accepted into the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Academy. He worked full-time at Foundation Health during the day and attended the Sheriff’s Academy at night and on Saturdays.  He graduated as the most outstanding recruit and was hired by the Department that same year with the goal to become a SWAT Officer.

Over his 25-year career, Lieutenant Lewis has worked in Patrol, Main Jail and Branch Jail, Problem Oriented Policing, the Communications Center, Special Operations, Air Operations and SWAT.

One of the most defining moments in Lieutenant Lewis’ career was in 2000 when he applied for both air operations and SWAT, as the tests were being conducted around the same time. He was added to the waitlist for SWAT, and was selected to Air Operations as a Tactical Flight Officer and later a Crew Chief and training officer for air operations. He loved everything about the role and felt it was a natural fit for him.

Two years later, Lieutenant Lewis, who at the time was a Deputy, was called to the Lieutenant’s office and asked if he wanted to go to pilot training. He immediately said yes to the five-year commitment. But the Lieutenant stopped him and said, “Hold on. You have a decision to make. The Tactical Commander wants you to come to SWAT.”

“Every decision I had made up to that point in my career was with that goal in mind,” said Lieutenant Lewis. “So I gave up my wings and joined SWAT.”

Lieutenant Lewis served in SWAT for a total of 14 years in his career, as a Deputy Operator and Sniper, Sergeant Team Leader and Lieutenant Tactical Commander. Through the years, he participated in over 1,400 high-risk entries and spontaneous tactical events, often as the first person on the team through the door.

“I don’t want bad things to happen in this world, but I know they will,” said Lieutenant Lewis. “When they do, I want to be the first one there to fix the problem and make it better. This is what drove me in SWAT and has continued to drive me today.”

Another memorable moment in his career was coming full circle back to Rancho Cordova as the Assistant Chief of Police for RCPD in July 2017.

“It felt like going away to college and coming home again,” Lieutenant Lewis said. “The Rancho Cordova Police Department is an inspiring place to work. We have an all-star team and the support of the community. In the last month, I can’t think of a time I have been in the community and haven’t been stopped by a resident to be told thank you.”

In his role, Lieutenant Lewis oversees the Patrol Division, Administration team and Youth Services Unit.

Lieutenant Jeff Schelldorf

Lieutenant Jeff Schelldorf grew up in Sacramento in a law enforcement family. His stepfather was a Deputy Sheriff and his mother was a Dispatcher with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

At 21 years old, Lieutenant Schelldorf wanted to see what a career in law enforcement might look like for him, so he went to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s Reserve Academy and became a volunteer reserve officer for a few years.

In the meantime, Lieutenant Schelldorf enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and deployed overseas on active duty. When he returned in 1998, he applied for and was hired as a Records Officer with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

In 1999, Lieutenant Schelldorf realized he wanted to become an officer, so he attended and graduated from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Academy. In 2000, he was hired with the Department.

“In the Academy, I realized that this was a family, not just a job, and a place I wanted to be the next 25 or more years,” he said.

Over the next 13 years, he worked at the Main Jail, California Department of Justice Anti-Terrorism Information Center Task Force, contract City of Citrus Heights, Patrol, Detectives, Airport Division, IMPACT Division and Communications Bureau.

In September 2013, Lieutenant Schelldorf joined RCPD as the Administrative Training Sergeant overseeing training programs for officers, special programs and planning for special events. In addition, he partnered with then-Chief and Assistant Chief of Police to start the Crime Suppression Unit, a highly proactive team funded by the City of Rancho Cordova’s Community Enhancement Fund that focuses on enforcement in high crime areas in Rancho Cordova, and he oversaw the unit.

“Before coming to the Rancho Cordova Police Department, I had never worked in this area and didn’t know what to expect,” said Lieutenant Schelldorf. “I quickly realized how engaged the community was in their city and how supportive they were of the Rancho Cordova Police Department.”

In 2015, Lieutenant Schelldorf was assigned to the IMPACT Division as the Gang Sergeant covering the area south of the American River, including Rancho Cordova. In 2016, he was promoted to Lieutenant and worked at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center as the Watch Commander.

In 2017, Lieutenant Schelldorf returned to RCPD as a Watch Commander for the Patrol Division Day Shift, managing and overseeing four sergeants and 18 officers for RCPD and the East Division.

Lieutenant Schelldorf feels fortunate for the opportunity to have been selected for the newly-created Assistant Chief of Police position.

“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be selected for this new position and be involved in building positive leadership and vision for the Rancho Cordova Police Department,” said Lieutenant Schelldorf. “The officers are extremely talented and have outstanding work ethic. In addition, it helps coming to work every day knowing you have the community’s support.”

In his new role, Lieutenant Schelldorf oversees Community Services and Investigations, which includes, Problem Oriented Policing Unit, Crime Suppression Unit, Detectives, Crime Analysts and the Traffic Unit.

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