Winston Police Chief Scott Gugel is retiring after nearly 30 years with the department.

Community members plan to gather Thursday to honor Gugel at a celebration from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Winston Community Center.

Winston Police Lt. Brandon Sarti is tapped to replace Gugel, taking over as chief for a city of more than 5,000.

Sarti said Wednesday morning that the transition is a weird feeling for him.

Sarti said having the chief leave is pushing him out of his bubble, but he likes change.

“It’s a weird emotional mix-up,” Sarti said. “Overall I’m pretty excited about it.”

Sarti is part of a wave of new, younger leadership in the police departments around the county.

Earlier this year, Gary Klopfenstein took over as the Roseburg police chief. Last year, Troy Mills became Sutherlin’s chief.

Sarti said the guys taking over all started in law enforcement around the same time.

“It feels like it’s another generational change that we’re all kind of rolling into the leadership role,” Sarti said.

He started as a reserve officer in the Winston Police Department in 1996 and was hired full time the following year.

In a 2007 interview with The News-Review, Sarti said he practically grew up with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and would join the deputies on patrol. He became a part-time marine deputy with the office and performed some cadet duties. From 1993-1996, Sarti was stationed at Diamond Lake.

Gugel, a Douglas High School graduate, began his police career in Winston in 1989.

He became police chief in 2004, replacing Bruce Justis who retired as chief in 2003.

Before joining the Winston department, Gugel spent three years as a military police officer, nine years with the Roseburg Veterans Affairs campus security police and two years as a reserve with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

For a time, Gugel even served as an interim city manager while Winston searched for a replacement. Mark Bauer took over as city manager in 2016.

Bauer could not be reached for comment.

Saphara Harrell can be reached at 541-957-4216 or

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Crime and Natural Resources Reporter

Saphara Harrell is the crime and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She previously worked at The World in Coos Bay. Follow her on Twitter @daisysaphara.

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