Deputy Sheriff position in danger on the West Shore
WEST SHORE ” As a result of El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office budget cuts, residents of the Lake Tahoe area north of Emerald Bay may be without a Deputy Sheriff after this winter.
Seventeen vacant positions in the County Sheriffs Office have been eliminated in the last two weeks, said Undersheriff Fred Kollar.
One such position was held by the recently retired Dennis Miller, one of the Resident Deputy Sheriffs in the Tahoma area. Instead of finding a replacement for the vacancy, however, the Sheriffs Office decided to eliminate the position completely. Placer County has no plans to fill the position.
While Deputy Dan Bartley will be on duty in Tahoma throughout the winter, Kollar said the Sheriffs Office is exploring alternatives to having full-time Deputy Sheriffs in the area.
As the Sheriff’s Office decides if having a deputy from South Lake Tahoe respond to police matters in Tahoma is feasible, residents of the area are concerned about not having a police presence close to home.
“We need a police response that is immediate and quick,” said resident Constance Spencer. “We need police coverage that is assured; weather often precludes anyone from driving up from South Lake Tahoe.”
As both a resident of Tahoma and an Information Officer with the Meeks Bay Fire Protection District, Ed Miller agrees the lack of law enforcement could potentially cause problems.
As a member of the Fire District, Miller said that there are restrictions on fire personnel going into homes without a police presence on site.
“The scenario we are concerned about is that, if there is violent situation going on in a home, we can’t enter a residence until law enforcement gets there,” he said.
As a resident, Miller said it is important to have at least one deputy on duty who knows the area.
“The resident deputies know the area and they know who the “bad guys” are,” said Miller. “They are the ones parked outside the Tahoma Center at 7 a.m. while all the kids are there waiting for the school bus.”
Miller also added that there was at one time an “undesirable element” in Tahoma and a lot more crime.
“With all the good work the resident deputies have done, it would be a shame to see the community digress,” Miller said. “With all the law enforcement gone it is a possibility.”
But despite the need to feel safer in their community, residents also believe they deserve a resident deputy because of their high property taxes.
According to Miller, the assessed valuation of the community is over $740 Million. And with that much tax base, Miller said he believes they deserve a “proportionate share of law enforcement protection and service.”
“As home owners who pay high property taxes, we local residents deserve police services,” agreed Spencer.