Police meet Town Council
Last Thursday’s Town Council meeting was full of introductions, praise and heated debate, and all the while, was no doubt the safest place in Truckee.
Most of Truckee’s new police department was present, including Chief Dan Boon, Cmdr. Scott Berry, and over a dozen officers, who were individually introduced to the Council.
Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Gary Jacobson was also in attendance, but for the final time as the head of law enforcement in Truckee.
The Truckee Police Department begins operations Sept. 1, at which time NCSO will scale back their presence in eastern Nevada County.
Earlier in the week, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors gave Town and law enforcement officials a reason to smile when they approved an agreement providing round-the-clock jail and dispatch services for Truckee Police Department, Placer County Sheriff’s Office and NCSO at the existing NCSO substation in Truckee.
Council seconded the agreement, and praised those involved in securing it.
“With only Truckee and Placer County’s cards on the table, (Town Manager) Steve (Wright) and (Chief) Dan (Boon) did a great job of holding Nevada County to the agreement,” said Councilman Josh Susman.
Jacobson said the Town staff did an excellent job throughout the negotiating process, and Mayor Don McCormack thanked Jacobson and NCSO for providing “a high level of service” to Truckee.
Negotiations with the county have been ongoing since the Council voted in August 2000 to discontinue its contract with Nevada County for law enforcement services and form its own police department.
Sandwiched in-between the cops and the jail was a spirited debate about Councilwoman Maia Schneider’s proposal to establish Council liaison assignments with various departments in town government.
After close to half an hour of debate, Council passed a motion to approve the assignments “conceptually,” then subsequently set a date – Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. at Town Hall – to hash out rotating assignments and the expected level of activity among Councilmembers.
Schneider’s proposal would assign each member of the Council to departments, including the police department, public works, administration and community development department.
Schneider introduced her proposal by first addressing what she perceived as resistance to it from Wright.
Schneider said a short cover letter Wright attached to her proposal and distributed to the rest of Council was a “shot across the bow of this elected (Council).”
Wright’s one paragraph cover letter told the Council that Town staff “has not had the opportunity to review and comment on the Councilmember’s recommendation” and that a September workshop “may be a more appropriate” time and place to discuss the related issues.
Wright said later in the evening that he did not attend for the letter to serve as a warning, and was “anxious” to improve communication in any way possible.
McCormack expressed tentative support for liaisons, but also concern that the assignments might “undermine the authority of current department heads.”
Susman said that while he agreed with the proposal in principle, “I don’t agree with Maia’s level of concern I’m concerned this has become so controversial.”
Several area builders and developers spoke out in favor of the perceived benefits of the proposal.
“More communication (between staff and council) and a better understanding is a good thing,” said Pat Flora, president of the Contractors Association of Truckee-Tahoe.
Tom Grossman said his experiences with staff have included instances where “staff is creating policy instead of implementing it” and suggested that Council’s increased involvement would help correct that.
Bob Tamietti said the mere presence of Councilmembers at a meeting between Town staff and the public can help.
“I have seen it happen the presence of an elected official has a moderating effect,” Tamietti said.
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Motorists can expect to see roadwork projects throughout the area this week.