Good Cop, Good Cop

Rancho Cordova, CA  |  By Ashley Downton
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“I definitely loved it and had a knack for it. Talking to people was easy for me,” said McCartney. Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova

From Internship to Retirement: A 27-Year Law Enforcement Career

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - Rancho Cordova Police Officer Scott McCartney was the first officer hired at RCPD after the City incorporated. Now after a 27-year career in law enforcement with many roles and responsibilities and awards and accolades, McCartney has retired to pursue a different form of public safety.

It all began when McCartney was attending college at Oregon State University. An internship at Benton County Sheriff’s Office showed him the life of a police officer. That experience, and having an uncle who served as a CHP Motor Officer, made McCartney want to pursue a career in law enforcement upon graduation.

When he graduated, McCartney moved to Sacramento. While he was staying at a motel deciding on next steps, an informal meet and greet with two Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department deputies at a fast food restaurant guided him towards the Training Academy. Then, he became acquainted with a fellow gym-goer, who happened to be a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant. McCartney credits Sergeant Larry Saunders with helping him go through and successfully graduate from the Academy. And the rest is history.

McCartney’s first job was with the Auburn Police Department. He won Officer of the Year, had the most DUI arrests, and ultimately discovered his passion for traffic enforcement.

“I definitely loved it and had a knack for it. Talking to people was easy for me,” said McCartney.

McCartney was then hired by the Roseville Police Department where he served on patrol, as a School Resource Officer, and on the SWAT team. He also served as a motor officer for five years and discovered it was his favorite part of traffic enforcement.

McCartney’s passion and skill as a motor officer led to him being hired by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department in 2001. In this role, he helped develop a motor program for the Elk Grove Police Department, which involved training officers in DUI and accident investigation about how to ride motorcycles.

This experience led to him being asked to help start RCPD as the City of Rancho Cordova was incorporating. He helped write policies and procedures, secure grants, and even get commercial trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles. Once RCPD formed, McCartney was the first officer hired, and he was able to select the first motor officers to serve our community.

At RCPD, McCartney served in the traffic unit, patrol and Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Unit. He also helped develop the first traffic plan for the California Capital Airshow, and served as the Airshow’s Traffic Chief and Public Safety Director. McCartney was recognized as the first Officer of the Month, received a Key to the City for his work for the Airshow, and received a Silver Star for his heroic act of rescuing three citizens caught in a house fire.

“One of my greatest accomplishments was working for RCPD because of all the things I got to help build and the people I got to work with,” McCartney said. “It was the highlight of my career in the sense that the people I worked with, the citizens and the staff were so into the City and appreciated what we brought to the table as far as law enforcement.”

In the last 10 years, one of McCartney’s special assignments was to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Homeland Security Division where he served as Program Director for the California Large Stadium Initiative. His role was to assist all college and pro sports in protecting mass gathering events and coordinate active shooter trainings. His role earned him teaching gigs across the country in sports incident management.

“One of my other greatest accomplishments was in the Governor’s Office when I was asked to testify in front of the U.S. Homeland Security Committee on what California was doing with its Large Stadium Initiative,” said McCartney. “California was the only state doing it, and I was the only guy doing it. They wanted to see how they could do it in other states.

When he heard about a new position open for Director of Team Security for the San Antonio Spurs in July 2017, he jumped at the opportunity to apply. Now McCartney is settling into his new role, using his sports incident management skills, and celebrating a 27-year career in law enforcement.

The Rancho Cordova Police Department congratulates Scott McCartney on his retirement and thanks him for his service to the Rancho Cordova community!

This week, the Rancho Cordova Police Department launched The Dispatch, a monthly e-newsletter to keep you updated on the latest news, upcoming events, crime prevention tips, stories about officers like this one, and more. Sign up by visiting

Ashley Downton is Communications Specialist with the City of Rancho Cordova