Truckee Police reshuffles its staff
There is something about the Truckee Police Department that inspires once-retired cops to don the uniform again.
Last week, one of those officers, Lt. Jeff Nichols, was promoted from the rank of sergeant to that of lieutenant, while another one, interim Cmdr. Dave Dohn, said good-bye to the force he helped guide through its recent staffing shortage.
Over the course of the past four months, Nichols and Dohn have worked together closely, and both men are confident that the transition will go smoothly.
Dohn joined the Truckee PD in January at the behest of Chief Scott Berry, who needed an experienced officer to take over his duties as commander until things settled down a bit.
Berry and Dohn have known each other for more than 30 years, having worked together earlier in their careers as officers in Petaluma, Calif. So in January, when Berry needed a temporary right-hand man in the department, he immediately thought of Dohn, who had recently retired from the Petaluma Police Department as a captain.
Dohn said he immediately felt welcomed in Truckee and by the department. He said he enjoyed being able to guide the department through its recent addition of six new officers.
“It’s been a great ride. It’s a great police department, and you know the best thing about this place is coming in here and finding a department that’s already very morally and ethically sound,” Dohn said. “It’s not like coming in here and having to teach people how to be cops; they know how to be cops. It was a matter of making sure all the ‘T’s were crossed and the ‘I’s were dotted. Minor stuff… putting a little structure into the department.”
While Nichols’ promotion has made Dohn’s position expendable, Dohn has no regrets about not staying longer.
“I’m feeling real comfortable about turning it over to Jeff,” Dohn said. “He has a very good relationship with the chief as well, and at this level of our business, trust is so important. And the beauty of them is that they trust each other and they’ll have no problem carrying on.”
So while Dohn re-retires to Petaluma, Nichols now steps into a more administrative role with the department.
Nichols came to live in Truckee full-time upon his retirement from the Sacramento Police Department in January 1997. A 20-year veteran of law enforcement with a two-year tour of duty in Vietnam with the Navy before that, Nichols at the time envisioned that he was done being a cop.
But, as he said at his swearing in ceremony on April 29, “Once you’re in it and you do it, it’s in your blood. And if you like it, that’s all you can do.”
Shortly after moving to Truckee, in August of 1999, he went to work for the Town of Truckee as a code enforcement officer, and at the same time he helped town administrators decide what kind of police department Truckee wanted to have.
Then, in the words of Chief Berry, “In the first part of 2001, Jeff saw that Dan Boon and I were having so much fun that he wanted to come and join us.”
After a quick refresher course at the Yuba College police academy, Nichols joined the force and was immediately made a Watch Commander with a rank of sergeant.
His recent promotion to lieutenant means that he will be assisting Berry with more of the administrative duties in the department as well as maintaining his lead role with the department’s field training program.
Soon to be 58 years old, Nichols says he doesn’t know how much longer he wants to be an officer, but promises that he plans on sticking around for “a while” at least.
“Since I’ve been with the Town of Truckee, I’ve just really experienced a whole different kind of working environment,” Nichols said. “All of the people here who I’ve worked with are just extremely generous, warm, kind and helpful . . . I’ll stay for a while.”
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The Truckee Town Council has unanimously approved of a pilot program to remove snow on privately maintained paved trails in the area.