Auburn police names Victor Pecoraro new lieutenant
On Tuesday afternoon, a day after his promotion became official, Lt. Victor Pecoraro asked if an interview about his new position could be conducted outside – it had been a nice day, and he won’t be getting out as much in his new administrative role.
Standing on the porch of the Auburn Police Department, where he has served the community for the past 16 1/2 years, he reminisced about some of the victims he helped in his days as a patrolman and investigator and talked about the transition he currently faces.
After the interview, he hit the streets in a patrol car.
“It’ll be the last day I’ll be in a marked car as a normal course of business,” Pecoraro said. “That’s weird, but it’s good. … I’m a part of the operation from a different perspective now, instead of just my little world, my patrol shift, now it’s part of the overall operation with the chief.”
Pecoraro is now No. 2 in command behind Chief John Ruffcorn, and former detective Dave Neher filled Pecoraro’s vacated sergeant position in a restructuring approved by City Council in February that was to cost no more than $20,000 annually. Neher will be the new patrol supervisor.
The annual base pay for an Auburn Police lieutenant ranges from $71,652 to $87,096, while a sergeant’s is between $57,444 and $69,828.
This marks the first time since Ruffcorn became chief in 2011 that the department will have a secondary management position. It also marks Auburn’s first lieutenant since January 2009 when Scott Burns retired after 30 years of service.
Ruffcorn said he excluded himself from the hiring process because both prospective lieutenants had been internal candidates; whoever scored highest in the four-part evaluation received the promotion.
The candidates underwent two internal evaluations – one from peers and one from subordinates – a community panel interview and a subject-matter expert panel interview featuring representatives from the Rocklin Police Department, Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.
“It was a very close competition,” Ruffcorn said.
Ruffcorn praised Pecoraro’s attention to detail as “exemplary,” and said he had “good working knowledge” of both the community and the law enforcement profession.
“His acceptance of community-oriented policing and the practices that are associated with that is definitely a quality that you have to have in today’s law enforcement profession,” Ruffcorn said.
Pecoraro said he is truly passionate about the community he serves, and he said he especially takes pride in helping its youngest members.
“What kept me going all the time is every opportunity I had to make a difference in a kid’s life,” he said. “No matter how trivial it may have been, it is always big for them, so that’s what kind of always keeps me going is I always think about the kids.”
He points to two cases in particular that stay with him, including the time he was able to help remove an emaciated, starving infant from its parents and get it in a safe environment. The newborn had nearly died, but now, about six years later, the child is doing well, Pecoraro said.
Another happened earlier in his career when some teens had been carjacked at In-N-Out Burger during lunchtime, and a joint effort helped get the victim’s car back and arrest the suspect within the same day, he said.
“I still remember how shaken up those kids were that day,” Pecoraro said. “You can see how they went from being very, very scared, upset, angry and then they realized the amount of support that they had from us and … I can still remember that to this day.
“I don’t remember her name, but I can still see her face.”
More recently, Ruffcorn said Pecoraro’s efforts to ensure the Amgen Tour of California had a safe atmosphere in Auburn in 2011 are an example of his community-minded policing.
Pecoraro said he spent more than 10 years of his career on the SWAT team and served as sergeant for the past 8 1/2 years with time working in the investigations unit.
He began his career in patrol, spent a couple years as a business services liaison and did some bicycle patrol before switching back to regular patrol.
“I wanted to challenge myself some more,” Pecoraro said, “and here I am.”
Jon Schultz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews