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Richard Bull: A cops cop retires
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Interim Ripon Police Chief Ed Ormonde, left, and Sergeant Steve Merchant present their retiring chief Richard Bull with a professionally mounted set of his badges from different departments where he has served for the past 34 years. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON - Ripon Police Chief Richard Bull was lauded as “a cops’ cop” who most enjoyed being out on the street with his officers during his 34 years in law enforcement.

Bull was feted on his last day of work Friday during a retirement luncheon at the Ripon Community Center. Some 150 chiefs, friends and family members gathered to wish him well after his 10 years of service leading the Ripon Police Department into the 21st century.

Bull was lauded for spearheading some dramatic innovations within the department that included a take-home police car program that was focused on discouraging burglars from scouting the city’s neighborhoods.

The city-wide MESH camera network put digital video cameras throughout the city and its school campuses with the feeds going into the police dispatch center.  License plate readers have been installed above traffic lanes to spot stolen cars coming into the community with an alert going to the dispatch center.

It was through Bull’s efforts that the Department of Justice gave Ripon one of three powered parachute aviation units nationwide that has been used in finding lost rafters floating down the Stanislaus River.  The aviation unit has also played its part in discouraging home burglaries causing their incidence to drop some 64 percent in 10 months.

On the city’s police patrol units, Chief Bull installed a variety of devices to make policing by his officers more effective.  Included were mobile vision video cameras, dash-mounted radar units, mobile computer systems, mobile Blue Check wireless IDs, driver license magnetic stripe readers and Noptic Thermal Imaging Devices.

The latest in a long string of state and national awards he received for his department, two statewide California Law Enforcement Challenges first place honors were granted for operations and technology.

Chief Bull began his career as a reserve officer with the Patterson Police Department. He remained in that capacity for just 10 months before he became a regular member of the Patterson Police Department where he worked through July of 1980.

It was in Patterson where Bull was ambushed when he was leaving the department and walking to his car.  He was hit nine times and was able to empty his service weapon in the direction of the flashes from the weapon.  Bull had extensive recovery time and was lauded for attempting to ignore the long-term effects of the shooting.

He then transferred to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department where he served as a deputy for nearly two years.  Returning to Patterson he was elevated to a sergeant’s position for some three years before his selection as acting police chief.

Bull filled the chief position for nearly three months before being given the job permanently leading the Patterson Department for some three years until he was offered the chief’s position in the City of Red Bluff where he worked for five years before being hired as Ripon’s chief in September of 2000.

The city has hired the chief to stay on with the city as a consultant for the next year to be available to support interim chief Ed Ormonde should the need arise. Bull declined payment for his consulting duties.