Placer County law enforcement expands in-school programs | SierraSun.com

Placer County law enforcement expands in-school programs

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun

Students in North Shore schools will have more interaction with law enforcement after a new position was added in the Placer County Sheriff’s office in Tahoe to help curb drug use among youth.

Detective Stephanie Novick, who runs the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program for fifth graders, will expand her duties as part of her new position in the Community and Youth Services Unit.

In her new post, Novick will gather tips on drug activity, work to eradicate drug dealers, mentor students, and expand the D.A.R.E. program to middle schools.

“I’d like to get in and do more stuff with them,” Novick said of the students. “I’d like to create a friendship with them.”

Lt. John Savage said Novick’s role will “help close the gap” for sixth, seventh and eighth graders, who get minimal drug education. Elementary and high school students receive more drug education than the middle school students, Savage said.

“The more education, the better,” said Novick, who began her new position Monday.

Savage said he hopes the students will be able to trust Novick so they feel comfortable going to her with problems or issues. Community Services Officer Melinda Maehler and High School Resource Deputy Russ Potts will still serve in their positions at North Tahoe Middle School and High School, respectively.

“We’re just really excited in expanding the community and youth services unit,” Savage said. “The youth is important in our community.”

In addition to Novick’s new position, the sheriff’s office has also started a new regional drug task force that includes the Truckee Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, Placer County Probation and state parole.

In the last few weeks, Placer County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested suspected drug dealers in two separate drug busts, according to Savage. Hundreds of grams of various drugs were seized during the raids, he said.

“Our patrol deputies will be a large part of the activities since they often respond to crimes in progress and are usually the first to observe activity, as evidenced from the recent seizures,” Savage said. “Additionally, the patrol force will be building relationships within the community to act as a conduit of information.”

Savage said the sheriff’s office has also reinstated the 24-hour drug tip line, where community members can leave tips about drug or crime activities.

“I’m very happy this is happening. We’re changing business,” said Captain Jeff Granum. “This is in-line with what I want to do. These changes are part of larger sheriff’s changes.”