INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The newest captain at the Incline Village Substation is not new to law enforcement at all.
In fact, Capt. Duane Meyer has been involved with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office for 17.5 years, originally starting out as a volunteer with the force in 1986. Since, he’s worked in detention, patrol, with the K9 unit and internal affairs. He was promoted to captain of the southern patrol division in February 2011; he took over command of the Incline Village Substation earlier this year.
“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” Capt. Meyer said of his long career with the sheriff’s office. “It’s one of those things where you just think about it, and know that’s what you want to do.”
Originally from Minnesota, Meyer moved to the Reno/Sparks area in 1973, where he still lives today. He worked for five and a half years as an aircraft mechanic in the military, while beginning his law enforcement career as a volunteer in 1986. Since, he’s worked his way up, from the reserve department, deputy, patrol, K9 unit (including handling his own dog, which Meyer referred to as the best job law enforcement offers), sergeant, lieutenant, dispatch and finally captain of patrol.
Meyer is content where he is now, in terms of working in Incline Village and in the patrol division.
“In June 2009, I came up to Incline and was lieutenant over dispatch for a year and a half. Then I got promoted to captain and I got to stay right where I’m at (in Incline Village). I love it up here,” Meyer said of working in Incline Village.
As captain, Meyer oversees about 40-45 people in the southern patrol division. The southern division includes all areas south of I-80 to Carson City, including Verdi. He spends much of his time studying and analyzing crime trends in the area to try and prevent further crimes. He also makes sure his lieutenants and sergeants are in the right places, performing traffic enforcement or responding to calls as necessary.
“That’s what my responsibility is — to make sure that our personnel are deployed appropriately in order to fight those trends that we have,” Meyer explained.
Meyer and his team use crime evaluation statistics to identify trends in crimes or traffic violations, and deploy personnel as necessary to try and combat the trends, Meyer said.
Meyer added that currently burglaries are a trend throughout the southern division.
“People have to lock their stuff up. We don’t live in a small community any more,” he said. “Burglaries are what we call crimes of opportunity. If they find an open door in a car, they’re going to go in it, search it and find whatever they want.”
Capt. Meyer urges community members to lock their vehicles and homes, and keep valuables out of sight from criminals.
Another part of Meyer’s job as captain is to keep a pulse on the community and resident complaints.
“We try to let (the community) know we’re out there and identify what their needs are, and try to address those as we can,” he said.
Capt. Meyer has been living and working in the Truckee-Tahoe area for a long time, and has become part of the community, both as a law enforcement official and a regular guy. In his free time, Meyer enjoys flying planes (he received his pilot’s license three years ago), along with being a volunteer ski patrol and spending time with his wife and two children.
“I enjoy working with the public a lot. It can be really interesting,” Meyer said. “Contact with citizens is one of my favorite things to do. It’s fun, it really is.”
While others are off at the beach, boating, hiking or enjoying one of the many other activities that Tahoe offers during the summer, Meyer and his team will be busy at work. Meyer added that during both winter and summer, Incline Village and the surrounding areas receive a lot visitors, increasing the number of citizens his team must watch out for.
“Our goal is to make sure people are safe,” Meyer said. “We want a safe and secure environment for our citizens.”
Meyer explained that while his job is rewarding, it is often difficult as well.
“It’s not easy to always be the bad guy ... understanding what our goal is and why we’re out there may be a big step toward creating a better relationship between the citizens and police officers,” he said. “We’re not out to get them, we’re just out to maintain safety and security.”
Capt. Meyer and the Incline Village Substation encourage locals and visitors alike to create a dialogue for the betterment and safety of the community. He stressed that the door is always open for communication.
“In our mind, it’s critically important that we work together with the community. That’s one of our biggest goals: to work in partnership with the community,” Meyer said. “We can’t do this job alone. We cannot be everywhere — we have to rely on the community to be a part of what we do. Without them, we can’t do it.”