No officer in schools, for now
Truckee schools have been without a familiar face on their campuses lately.
Due to staffing shortages in the Truckee Police Department, students and faculty have not had a school resource officer on Truckee’s campuses since the second week of December. The department, which is currently six positions down, needs to resolve staffing issues before it can reinstate the position, said Truckee Chief of Police Scott Berry.
“We always plan on having somebody in that position,” he said.
Currently, former School Officer Roy Richner is working different shifts, but Richner still maintains a presence at the schools, despite his 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift.
“For dances, I’ll try and be there,” Richner said Tuesday. Even though it was Richner’s day off, he said he would be at Tuesday night’s Tahoe Truckee High School basketball game, in uniform.
The role of the school resource officer is not only limited to enforcement. Sierra Mountain Middle School Principal Don Beno said Richner has given students rides to school and helped families find housing.
“He has been an incredible resource for us here … he strives to know the kids both officially and unofficially,” Beno said.
Prior to the Truckee Police Department’s inception in September 2001, an officer from the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office filled the school resource position. Truckee High Principal Mike Finney said the school resource officer gives students a positive relationship with law enforcement early in their lives, as well as providing an advisory role for school administration.
The absence of the school resource officer position was felt during Thursday’s bank robbery at Plumas Bank, said Finney, who didn’t know about the robbery until he saw CHP helicopters circling overhead.
“If the resource officer had been in place, it would have facilitated the communication with the school district,” he said.
The robbery occurred after school hours, but Truckee High and Sierra Mountain Middle were both placed on lockdown for a short period of time.
The Truckee Police Department’s force is six officers short, Chief Berry said. He expects to have most of the positions filled sometime in the spring.
“We’re waiting for that position to be back as soon as possible,” Finney said. “It’s a position of value … to us at Truckee High.”