Changes are in store for sheriff’s department on the North Shore part of new direction for county |

Changes are in store for sheriff’s department on the North Shore part of new direction for county

Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun A new crop of leaders in the Placer County Sheriff's Office substation in Tahoe City will bring changes to the department on the North Shore. One new face is Lt. John Savage (left), seen here with recently appointed Capt. Jeffrey Granum and Lt. John Addoms.

Jeffrey Granum was appointed as the new Placer County sheriff’s captain in Tahoe earlier this month, signaling changes in the department on the North Shore.

Granum replaces Karl Fulenwider, who served as captain of the Tahoe substation for one year. Fulenwider and his predecessor, Rick Armstrong, commuted from the foothills to Tahoe, while Granum has lived in Tahoe City since 1994. Granum is the first Tahoe resident to be captain since Kent Hawthorne, who left in 2002.

“I found this was a cool place to work because you could work at night and then be one of the dads who went on field trips during the day,” said Granum, who moved here after serving 20 years in the San Jose Police Department. “The history of my family goes way back here. There is a sense of home here.”

Because of Granum’s personal connections on the North Shore, he believes it is important for deputies to have more of a presence in the community. He said if deputies get more “face time” with locals and business owners, the deputies can catch problems before they become too big.

Granum said he would like the sheriff’s office to have the same type of presence it did in the community when Sheriff Ed Bonner was the Tahoe captain.

“He was very loved by the community and active in everything,” Granum said of Bonner, who left Tahoe in 1992, and now serves as sheriff of Placer County out of Auburn. “He was the sheriff’s department at the time. People ask why it can’t be that way again and I say it can be. He was highly visible through town.”

In addition to having the deputies conduct patrol on foot, Granum said he wants his deputies more involved in the schools, community events and other activities outside of work. He has also re-instated Dave Hunt as the Problem Oriented Policing deputy, who will work with the community on quality of life issues, including noise complaints, abandoned cars, garbage dumping, drug issues and neighborhood disputes.

“It’s very rewarding and challenging,” Hunt said, who worked in the same position from 2001 to 2003. “We want to make it fair for everyone to live in a safe, clean community.”

Granum said he will re-establish the narcotic and gang and crime enforcement cooperative with neighboring law enforcement agencies so drug dealers and other law-breaking individuals are arrested sooner. He has asked Bonner for two to four more deputies so he can accomplish all his goals, including adding a fourth patrol route in the area.

A new lieutenant, John Savage, also joined the Tahoe office earlier this month and said he hopes to help institute the changes. He said he wants the deputies to become “problem solvers” and to be more visible.

“Some of the things I’m looking at is enhancing community participation,” Savage said. “That’s what I think we miss out on a lot is the face-to-face communications. When you get that face-to-face contact, they will feel more comfortable talking with you. If we can address the little issues up front, it will help the community and it will save us time in the future.”

Chris Rosa, Albertsons manager at the Tahoe City store, said he thinks the sheriff department’s increased visibility is a positive change.

The changes in the sheriff’s office come a year after Jennifer Merchant was hired as tahoe manager for Placer County’s executive office to address issues in this part of the county. Merchant holds monthly meetings with Tahoe county department managers, including the sheriff’s office, to address problems and increase communication.

“There’s a different set of challenges. You can’t understand unless you live here,” Merchant said of Tahoe. “It is definitely a step in the right direction. There is definitely an improved Tahoe presence.”

– More of a community presence with deputies conducting patrols on foot and bike.

– Re-instated problem-oriented deputy who handles noise complaints, garbage, abandoned cars, neighborhood disputes and other quality-of-life issues.

– Deputies involved in community events outside of work.

– Re-establishment of the cooperative narcotic and gang and crime enforcement with neighboring agencies.

– Updated technology to aid deputies and to hasten reporting.

– Improving the sheriff’s offices in Kings Beach, Carnelian Bay and Burton Creek.

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