Serving for safety
While setting up a radar check in Truckee’s Glenshire neighborhood under blue bird skies on Monday afternoon, Gary Thomas knows he is contributing to the safety of the community.
Thomas ” a full-time broker with Fraser Business Brokerage in Truckee ” has participated in the Truckee Police Department’s Volunteer in Policing program for nearly five years, and said the experience falls nothing short of rewarding.
“I’ve found it to be extremely interesting and educational,” Thomas said. “There’s a real variety in the things we do with the police department.”
Thomas’ duties range from providing traffic controls during winter storms or summer fires, conducting speed surveys in residential areas and assisting officers with crime scene patrols.
On Monday, Thomas climbed into the department’s volunteer vehicle and headed out to Glenshire to set up a radar detector after a resident reported problems with speeding motorists. The radar unit registers the speed of passing vehicles and the problem is then evaluated on a department computer, Thomas said.
“Our work frees up officers so they can go do other things,” Thomas said.
Interested volunteers must be over 18 years of age, and are required to attend an 11-week Citizen Academy, which meets once a week and provides an in-depth look at the Truckee Police Department, said Truckee Police Chief Scott Berry.
Berry said he hopes to offer the academy this spring depending upon the level of interest in the community. Any age group can benefit from volunteering from retirees looking to stay busy to young adults testing out different career paths, he said.
“The academy is a great opportunity for residents to learn about the police department and how it operates,” Thomas said. “If nothing else just attending the academy is a worthwhile endeavor.”
Thomas enrolled in the course five years ago to educate himself on police operations, but said the curriculum was so intriguing ” such as CPR training and background on the criminal justice system ” it made him become a volunteer.
Thomas has logged over 500 hours with the department this year alone and has received national recognition for his volunteer contributions, Berry said.
Rich Lundblade ” a retired Truckee resident and five-year Volunteer in Policing ” said he would rather work with the police department than hold a paid position elsewhere.
“I worked in corporate America for 30 years and it gave me a good life, so I wanted to give back to the community,” Lundblade said.
The program is approaching it’s five year anniversary, and has provided over 9,000 combined hours of service to Truckee, Berry said.
“The volunteers are invaluable,” Berry said. “It’s a commitment and service to not just to the police department, but also the community.”
For more information on the Citizen Academy and the Volunteer in Policing program contact Rosemary O’Gorman at 550-2340.