TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Truckee Police Department serves a diverse community of residents and visitors who call Truckee home or visit Truckee because of the outdoor adventure and recreation opportunities. The Truckee Police Department recognizes its responsibility to interact with numerous segments of the community in an efficient, well-served manner.
As part of Truckee PD’s commitment to improve communications with those they serve, in particular potentially underserved areas of town, the Truckee Police Department will undertake new strategies to better connect with the community and visitors.
“We are committed to improving our communications with those we serve and will strive to find new innovative ways to better interact with our community. We are confident our new approaches will accomplish those objectives,” said Chief of Police Adam McGill.
The Truckee Police Department has returned officers to bicycles to improve presence in Regional Park and the Legacy Trail area, downtown, and Donner Lake. Chief McGill added, “Anything we can do that gets officers out of their vehicles and invites interaction with our community is a step in the right direction.”
In addition, officers have returned to patrol duties on Donner Lake. These officers are responsible for ensuring a safe environment in and around the lake.
The essence of Community Oriented Policing calls on the police to partner with their community. “I want our officers to fully embrace the Truckee lifestyle and embody who we are as a community. To know what our community expects of us and interact with as many segments of our community as possible. Policing in Truckee is unique and it is our responsibility to adjust; not the community’s responsibility to adjust to us. In Truckee we don’t just say we are a Community Oriented Policing department, we actually live it,” said Chief McGill.
In the interest of efficiency in training, staffing, and a consistent community oriented philosophy, the bicycle and boating officers combined to form a team dedicated to engaging the outdoor community. The new Truckee Police Adventure Recreation and Community (ARC) Team includes four officers cross certified in bicycle and water patrol operations.
Recently, the department was fortunate enough to receive a gracious donation toward two stand-up paddle boards and associated equipment from Tahoe SUP. The standup paddle board community has a tremendous presence. TPD is now better suited to interact with this growing segment. Tahoe SUP is providing free training to officers including rescue-related skills so officers are prepared for water emergencies. The officers will not routinely patrol on paddle boards. They will operate situational patrols and be present at events where a paddle board is most appropriate. More often the mere presence of the paddle boards on the patrol vehicle will invite positive interaction between officers and inquisitive community members.
Captain Rob Leftwich said, “The purpose of ARC was to not increase enforcement or address crime-related issues, but to interact and patrol in a manner which best emulates what our community embodies. I assure you, the Chief and I are very aware if we make Truckee an enjoyable experience for visitors and residents, then people will return.
“Bicycles and paddle boards are great examples of environmentally friendly, human-powered activities which are really important to our community. It is crucial the public understands our officers are people who also live and recreate in our region and want to promote our environmentally friendly, adventurous lifestyle,” he concluded.
Through the generous donations of Tahoe SUP and internal reorganizing of personnel in the department, no general fund dollars were spent on these initiatives. Tahoe SUP is a regional paddle board manufacturer who has roots in Truckee and did paddle board testing in Donner Lake when the company first started. The Specialized mountain bikes for the ARC Team were purchased at Paco’s Bike Shop with state grant funds. The Department purchased the patrol boat in 2003 with grant funds provided by California Boating and Waterways. The 2003 pickup truck used by the team is a former animal control pickup that was scarcely used by the department. The Police Department recycled the vehicle giving it a new and useful purpose. The officers assigned to ARC are not on overtime but working their regularly scheduled shifts.