CHP leadership changes, Chellew becomes captain |

CHP leadership changes, Chellew becomes captain

South Lake Tahoe has a new king of the roads, or highways rather.

California Highway Patrol Lt. Chuck Chellew, 46, will become captain Oct. 1, overseeing a staff of 18 in Tahoe.

CHP has 10,000 officers statewide patrolling the highways.

Chellew, a 15-year veteran of the CHP, has worked in the narcotics and protective services divisions. He rolled into the South Shore in June from Sacramento.

He essentially switched places with Lt. Marty Whited, who transferred to the Sacramento region.

He has experience in the metropolitan areas of the state, working at stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and in Contra Costa County.

His first order of business involves getting used to Tahoe time.

“I just realized things operate at a slower pace here,” he said.

This pace can be a blessing when the snow starts to fall.

“Fortunately, most folks who live up here know how to drive in bad weather,” Chellew said, adding that visitors with 4-wheel drive vehicles “think they can do 60 mph” in the snow. “They can’t (safely).”

Chellew plans to conduct more community outreach to Tahoe residents.

“I want to get the officers more involved with the schools,” he said.

In Sacramento, the father of two children took part in an adopt-a-school program with his department.

“We wanted to reach out to the Russian community,” Chellew said, adding the ethnic group showed a distrust of officers.

“We learned to teach (traffic safety to) adults through their children,” he said, adding a possible parallel to outreach to the Latino community on the South Shore.

Chellew hopes to set up an educational booth at a public safety festival slated for next month. There the CHP will host seat belt and child safety seat demonstrations and inspections.

Chellew may find himself in another office by the summer of 2004. The CHP should start construction at a site next to the state agricultural checkpoint as early as May 2003.

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