Decisionmakers: Russ Potts |

Decisionmakers: Russ Potts

Andrew Cristancho
Sierra Sun
Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunRuss Potts

Russ Potts, a seasoned veteran of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, is serving his 16th year on the board of directors of the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. His deep roots in the community are his qualifications, he explained.

“I was born and raised here and have connections with the community,” said the avid mountain biker. “Since I am in law enforcement, I know what happens on the street.”

He said the biggest challenge facing the district’s directors is the allocation of the $9.75 million annual budget, which is never enough for the things the district wants done.

Arguably, meeting with fire personnel once a month is his less important duty, because Potts serves as North Tahoe High School’s school resource officer.

While not patrolling, the school post allows him to get to know hundreds of students a year, and keeps him busy ten hours a day, four days a week.

“Kids change my life on a daily basis,” he said. “You really feel appreciated ” you don’t always get that while on patrol.”

Whether serving the fire district, sheriff’s office or Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, he said he enjoys the work because he cares about his community.

Potts married his wife, Marianne, 30 years ago. He recently visited their daughter Olivia in Arizona, where he had his first desert bike-riding adventure. After 52 years living in the Tahoe area, desert riding was not enough to take him away from Tahoe.

“Well, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” he said of his chosen home.