My Turn: Placer sheriffs did the right thing after bank robbery
March 22, 2010
This My Turn is in response to some of the commentary at http://www.sierrasun.com on stories regarding the March 8 robbery at the Kings Beach Bank of the West.
Placer County Sheriffand#8217;s Department did everything by the book in relation to the bank robbery in Kings Beach. I find it a bit appalling that people who have no idea what is happening still have loud, rude dissenting opinions. I also find it appalling that these same people, without adequate information, are criticizing the behaviors of others.
Placer County Sheriffand#8217;s Department Tahoe Division consists of professional, highly trained law enforcement officers, who just happen to be human. Law enforcement is a dangerous, boring, exciting, terrifying job. Believe it or not it can be a deadly one as well, even in quiet Tahoe.
In 1996, Officer Bill Doyle of PCSO was shot multiple times while patrolling Kings Beach State Beach. Bill was looking for a woman he had spoken to earlier to make sure she was safe. He startled a man who turned out to be a serial bank robber (just like the guy who hit the Bank of the West on Monday) practicing for his next hit. He shot Bill multiple times leaving him for dead, then came back to try and finish him off. Bill survived only by the grace of God and a Kevlar vest.
Then we come to the recent bank robbery in Kings Beach. Not one of you critics were there when it happened, none of you saw the suspect, none of you can identify either the suspect, the accomplice or the vehicle they drove off in, however you find it acceptable to criticize, in a rather ugly way, a perfectly reasonable traffic stop on a matching car which, through the windows, was occupied by people who matched the descriptions given. This is not an exact science folks and#8212; the nice criminals donand#8217;t hold still so that we can color code them for future reference.
As for and#8220;sitting at Safeway,and#8221; let me tell you that after working 15 years of swing shifts at that same location, I for one found it very comforting that they would stop by and check up on us. When we had a Kings Beach substation and a Carnelian Bay substation they could stop in there while on shift to do paperwork, get warm and still be able to have less than 5-minute response time to any crime call in town. Now the only office location is Burton Creek, and that would mean a 20-minute response time to any incident.
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Do you realize how much damage can be done in 20 minutes by a shooter, or a knife fight or a domestic battle? Most fire departments will tell you that if they canand#8217;t respond in 10 minutes or less itand#8217;s a done deal and#8212; the fire wins. Itand#8217;s pretty much the same with crime scene calls.
Law enforcement is, by nature, a waiting game, but officers need to be prepared to function efficiently at a moments notice. They must remain alert and on call throughout the entire shift so that if something happens they can move quickly and efficiently. Which is one of the reasons the cars are kept running, especially in the winter. Patrol cars are now packed with electronic equipment designed to help an officer in the line of duty. This equipment uses quite a bit of electricity and#8212; if the cars are turned off the battery might die and the car wonand#8217;t start immediately when necessary. In addition, during the winter the windows ice over and fog up making visibility difficult and dangerous. For the K-9 units (with dogs on board) the vehicles need to stay on for climate control reasons.
I really wish the complainers would consider a civilian training class to learn the reasons and realities of the law enforcement business. Thanks PCSO for being there when we need you.
Meera Beser is a Tahoe Vista resident.