Incline Village sheriff’s picnic sees good turnout in great weather |

Incline Village sheriff’s picnic sees good turnout in great weather

Kids and adults climb into the helicopter on Village Green Sunday.
Courtesy Kayla Anderson |

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Plenty of residents were on hand Sunday at Aspen Grove for the annual Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Picnic, which featured a fleet of police cars, a couple horses, some boats, a helicopter, free food and more.

The picnic, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a beautiful sunny day, brought in local and visiting families. In all, roughly 200 members of the public attended.

Several divisions of the Sheriff’s Office were in attendance, as well as local community agencies, such as the BEAR League, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District and Incline Village General Improvement District.

Longtime Child ID Coordinator Rod Stahl gave away free child ID kits to families so they can have their pertinent information handy in case of a bad situation.

Since 2000, Stahl has helped obtain information on over 35,000 Washoe County kids. Processing about 35 kids per year at the Incline Village sheriff’s picnic, the Child ID department prints out a sheet for parents on their child’s demographics and thumbprints, along with a photo and a little bag for hair and fingernails to keep for DNA samples.

Stahl says his favorite part of the sheriff’s picnic is the food.

“I like the cheeseburgers and the chocolate chip cookies,” he said.

Another booth that was buzzing with activity included the Forensic Science Division. Kids could dust for fingerprints, touch a model of a human footprint and even get a squirt of Listerine and blow into a breathalyzer.

“A lot of kids want to know what the grossest thing we’ve ever seen is, but a lot of us are in different specialties and don’t go out to crime scenes,” says Criminalist Rachelle Woodard, specializing in toxicology. “They compare us to CSI, but it can take a lot longer to get results in.

Although breath tests are spontaneous, she says it can take up to two months to get certain results in, sometimes longer for DNA tests. She added that her favorite part of working in the Crime Lab is teaching people about what she does and helping to improve the justice system.

At the NLTFPD booth, Defensible Space Inspector Derek Chavez gave kids red plastic firefighter hats and talked to people about their defensible space strategy.

“It’s best to remove the pine needles once in the spring and then maintain it throughout fire season,” Chavez advises.

A lot of Chavez’s job is to provide blanket inspections in neighborhoods and let residents know if grant money is available, along with performing solicited inspections and providing recommendations for securing their homes.

Chavez says that along with the free food, his favorite part of the picnic is being able to get the word out about what the NLTFPD is doing and educating homeowners on defensible space and fire danger.

Incline Village resident Lindsay Thompson was attending a church barbecue at one of the nearby beaches when she heard about the picnic and wandered over.

“This is great. I’ve never seen so many police cars in one place,” she says.

“It’s fun to see the horses and all of the kids. I wish I was little so that I could go in the SWAT car,” she addds with a chuckle.

Thompson said that her only complaint about the picnic is that they didn’t give helicopter rides.

IVGID Communications Coordinator Misty Moga, who doled out “Drink Tahoe Tap” water pouches and information about local activities, saw a steady stream of people visiting her booth.

“I’m grateful that they included us and that we have the opportunity to engage with the community and share what IVGID does,” Moga says. “It’s so good to see everyone supporting emergency services.”

Kayla Anderson is an Incline Village-based freelance writer with a background in marketing and journalism. Have a story idea? Email her at

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