Life in Our Mountain Town: Weekly entertainment in the sheriff’s reports
I felt a little relieved when the Sierra Sun’s editor moved my column off the editorial page and put me back here on the inside pages of the People section. When I first started writing this column, a few of my friends asked me where they would find my column. I half-jokingly told them that I would probably be relegated to the furthest back pages of the newspaper, alongside the fine print of the sheriff’s log.
Now it turns out that the birth announcements, obituaries and one of my favorite parts of the newspaper, the sheriff’s log, all share space with my column. It’s a placement that I feel is fitting since I really wasn’t comfortable being out there with all those opinions regarding matters of importance.
If you are one of the few who bothers to read the sheriff’s log each week, you might also know that this is a section of the newspaper where you can get an interesting perspective on what’s happening around town.
My husband thinks I am crazy to spend my personal time reading this weekly chronological list of arrests, complaints and activities from our local sheriff’s department. But while he may occasionally tease me about my peculiar habit, he will also listen as I read out loud some of the more amusing entries.
I want to stress that although I find some incidents slightly humorous, many really aren’t the least bit funny, especially the reports of domestic violence and other serious crimes. It’s the other stuff I look for as I read down the list.
One thing I like about the sheriff’s log is the way it is written in law enforcement lingo. You have to sift through the rhetoric to figure out what they mean by “incident was cleared by contact.”
By reading the sheriff’s log, you can make a guess as to which Donner Summit ski area has reported multiple stolen snowboards on one given day. Or you can confirm that there were many fender-benders on Northwoods one icy morning. Or you can just take in the information that someone hit a bear while coming around the bend on Glenshire Drive on Tuesday morning.
Some weeks, if you really look hard, you might find one or two items that catch your eye. For instance, one item in last week’s paper said that a caller from the firehouse by Wild Cherries reported seeing juveniles smoking marijuana in the parking lot. Officers were dispatched, but were unable to locate the subjects. You have to digest the information given, and then let your imagination fill in the details. Whoever these kids were, they definitely weren’t thinking about who might have been watching them from the firehouse windows.
Another incident that I remember from just a year or so ago involved a female caller who reported that an unidentified plumber had drilled a hole so that he could peep into this woman’s bathroom. This was most likely not a laughing matter for the person who called 911. As for me, I haven’t forgotten it, and it left me wondering, should we be concerned about some unknown sicko plumber who is still in business, or was the caller just paranoid? You are definitely left to draw your own conclusions.
I also remember an entry a while ago about a “male subject” (there’s that sheriff’s lingo again) who was reported lying in the middle of the roundabout’s landscaped area. The report went on to say that an officer located “said subject,” and arrested him for public intoxication. I read that one and thought, the poor guy, here he was trying to do the right thing and walk home instead of driving, but he got arrested anyway.
Maybe public intoxication is a better option than a DUI arrest, I don’t know.
I will be a little bit sorry next year when the Town of Truckee switches over from using the services of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Dept. to form our very own town police force. It’s not that I am unhappy about Truckee assuming local control of our law enforcement. I’m sure that will benefit us all. But “sheriff” has such a great western ring to it. It conjures up visions of star-shaped badges, which the officers of our local sheriff’s department really do wear. I’ve always liked the fact that my children refer to police officers as sheriffs.
So until next year when the sheriff’s log becomes the police blotter or some such thing, a few of us will continue to find a brief moment of humor in these weekly installments of local law enforcement doings. Even under a different name, I’m hopeful that the news won’t be much different.
Katie Shaffer has lived in
Truckee since 1981.
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