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Interim Chief Shaw Wrapping Up Service
What was initially an assignment for a few months turned in to more than a two-year stint at the helm of the Escalon Police Department for Jim Shaw. He will leave the post at the end of this month, 'terming out' under legislation governing the amount of time a retired interim department head can now serve.

"Originally three to four months was the plan, until they got a replacement," Shaw said. "As a little time went by, it seemed more feasible and advantageous to the city to stay with an interim."

It was advantageous for Shaw as well, since the retiree didn't really want to be fully retired and the part-time role gave him flexibility and kept him productive and active.

He said living in nearby Ripon, the commute was great and he enjoyed working with a small department.

"Most of my agencies have been small," he said.

The one large department he worked with was in Oakland, though he has also served in Livermore and was in top posts at both Cal State Stanislaus and Western Washington University colleges.

"Coming to Escalon, it was almost business as usual, with a close, small staff working in a tight knit community," he said. "There is high visibility, high community involvement."

With a small department, he said, many times the officers also live in the community and many have grown up here, knowing the families they are dealing with on a daily basis.

"I think the best thing about being here was the ability to move the department forward in the area of recruiting new reserves and obtaining equipment," he said. "We also got into the CrimeStoppers program, obtained some patrol rifles and our new radio system is about 95 percent complete."

The worst experience, he said, was the shooting of Officer Shane Johnson in mid-2011, when the officer attempted to stop a burglary in progress. Suffering a gunshot wound to the shoulder, Johnson did not return to the department.

The shooting did change the way the department handles some calls, as that one was in the early morning hours and Johnson was patrolling by himself. Police cars have since been equipped with cameras and Shaw said if they had been operational then, authorities might have been able to identify the shooter, who was never caught.

Longtime Escalon Police Department Sgt. Milt Medeiros will be taking over as the interim chief when Shaw departs. His last day on the job is Tuesday, July 31.

"I owe a lot to Milt and former Chief (Doug) Dunford for giving me the opportunity here," Shaw said of being informed by the two when there was an opening.

He has known both law enforcement officers for years and said the department and community will benefit from the leadership of Medeiros.

"He's a known quantity and I'm sure he's going to put his own ideas into play," Shaw said.

With 42 years invested in law enforcement, Shaw said his departure from Escalon is bittersweet.

"It has been very pleasurable," he said.

As far as 'retirement,' Shaw isn't sure that will ever really happen.

"I'm going to put my name in the hat if anybody else needs me," he said of looking for another department searching for an interim chief. "I just can't get this retirement stuff down."