Clerk, civil deputy will work South Shore |

Clerk, civil deputy will work South Shore

Christina Proctor

When El Dorado County Sheriff Hal Barker decided to consolidate the department’s civil division in Placerville, South Lake Tahoe residents spoke out.

The legal process clerk is responsible for the paperwork needed with all mandated civil processes, such as evictions and money judgments. Opponents of the change said unpredictable weather makes it hard for South Shore residents to travel to the West Slope. With the change residents were required to either drive to Placerville or trust the mail.

Last Monday, the clerk position left open by a retirement was staffed by Ina Gibson.

“I will probably not move anything again until I take the pulse of the community,” Barker said.

The idea behind the consolidation, Barker said, was saving money. Opponents responded with Barker’s campaign promise to keep the South Lake Tahoe station full-service. The sheriff listened.

In addition to the clerk’s position, the South Lake Tahoe substation will also have a full-time civil deputy starting at the end of September. Deputy Tom Hill will be dropping his patrol duties to focus on coroner’s issues, public administrator duties and serving civil processes. He will also be working on vehicle abatement.

“We are trying to streamline the coroner’s process and eliminate unnecessary autopsies,” Hill said. “When people would die here, who were visiting from out of state and the cause was not clearly evident, we would automatically autopsy them because it was too difficult to get a hold of their doctors. Now, I will be able to spend the time to talk with the doctors, and interview the next-of-kin and witnesses.”

In March, the office also added a community services officer with Karen Becker. Becker does not patrol and is in charge of the property room, helping out the office staff, and taking crime reports from people who come in to the substation. By taking on much of the paperwork, Becker frees up deputies to spend more time in the field.

“Before this position was created they were forced to have deputies come off of patrol to take window reports,” Becker said. “At times I’m even an operator. People call the sheriff’s office for many reasons. I direct people to where they need to go.”

While campaigning Barker also pledged to hold office hours weekly in the Lake Tahoe substation and asked for people to call him directly for appointment times.

“I haven’t got up there as much as I would have liked,” Barker admitted. “It’s not been as easy as I thought it would be.”

Barker said he hasn’t had many requests for appointments, but a few residents did come in and talk with him.

“I might start trying to come up on Thursdays. Tahoe is just as much a part of my concern as the West Slope,” he added.

People wishing to meet with Barker can contact him at (530) 621-5660.

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