‘Nice guy’ turns from reformer to remodeler
Warren Berg is trading his gun belt for a tool belt.
The 50-year-old Berg, who was known as too nice to be a deputy, retired last week after 21 years with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department.
The former deputy immediately switched gears from law enforcement to construction as he will concentrate on his remodeling business, Nice Guys Finish.
“He’s not going to sit around, eat Bon Bons and watch Oprah,” Jill, his wife of 19 years, said.
Berg didn’t have dreams of being a law enforcer as a child. Raised in rural America, he received a degree in forestry from Colorado State University and worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado, Idaho and Alaska.
While in Sacramento teaching river rescue techniques, dive team members from the sheriff’s department dropped in to take lessons. Berg ended up helping patrol the South Fork of the American River in El Dorado County. He pulled up drowned sunbathers and fishermen.
In 1983, he joined the department full-time as a deputy in South Lake Tahoe. He served on the search and rescue team and led the DARE program.
“He was a real good low-key community problem solver,” Lt. Les Lovell, head of the South Lake Tahoe office, said. “He knows everybody in his beat and takes care of business.”
Sheriff Jeff Neves agreed.
“He is a person of honor and character and did a great job of providing a service to the community and representing the sheriff’s office,” Neves said.
Berg, who was given a nickname of Boom Boom Berg after firing a warning shotgun blast near a fleeing suspect, said he was drawn to the force because of it’s “community spirit.”
He believes some of that community spirit has been lost, but cited deputies like Matt Underhill, who was raised in South Lake Tahoe, as reflecting that tone in the department.
Jill, who owns Jill’s Classic Cabinetry, said her husband was an atypical law enforcer who wanted to see the good nature of people who are usually caught doing bad things.
“I am happy he’s ready for the change,” she said. “He’s got a vision for who he is and he’s got the courage to go after it. He’s always been an apple amongst a barrel of oranges.”
After the dot-com bust, the Bergs are into buying houses, restoring them and renting them. The main reason is to recoup college money for their two children, Eric and Cassidy.
Berg said construction is in his genes. Both his father and grandfather were handy with a hammer.
As for the business name of Nice Guys Finish?
“I sort of made myself pretty visible there,” he said after a chuckle. “I’m a nice guy. I can’t help it. People have always told me that.”