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Truckee police show care for community

Guest Column by Susan Bruno

It was close to thirty years since I had visited my place of birth. I had with me the Spanish/English dictionary and a few warnings about traveling in Mexico. My friend and I had been told that if we were lost in the streets and had a choice between a stranger or a policeman to ask the stranger for directions! One thing we knew for sure was that we were not going to drive in Mexico.

We were staying with a family in a small agricultural community. Guanajuato, a beautiful old Spanish city was about a two-hour drive away. We planned a day trip and to my surprise, I was handed the keys to drive. We took plenty of water to refill a leaky radiator. The front right wheel was wobbly, but still working.

We drove by the cornfields and began to climb into the hills. We passed the “Curva Prigroso” sign. There wasn’t enough time to look up the words in the dictionary as the definition soon became a reality. Without reducing my speed, I began to realize that the sign was warning us about dangerous curves! Our breathing resumed to normal as the road began to straighten. I noticed Carmela’s tight grip on the car door. She instantly activated the emergency plan.

I can’t remember if she said if or when we are in the accident jump from the car and run! I am telling you this story so you can appreciate with me the fright that Leti felt when she heard a loud knock at her door, looked out the window and saw Detective Martin from the Truckee Police Department.

She asked her son to open the door. Detective Martin asker her if it had been her son, Suriel, who had been hit by a car while riding his bike in July. She said yes. He asked if she could take Suriel on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. to the police station. The officers wanted to give him a bike helmet!

Leti asked me to go with her family.

At three o’clock we met Officer Jason Litchie. He began to take us on a tour and I asked him what had motivated him to gather this family for a tour? My throat began to tighten as he told me that he had been the officer at the scene of the accident.

He had gone to the hospital to visit him as well. Suriel did not have a helmet at the time of the accident and he was going to do something about that. He was sorry it had not happened earlier, but had been working night shifts. I thought to myself, “I can’t believe this is happening.” For about an hour and fifteen minutes, Officer Litchie introduced us to the people working in the Truckee Police Department.

He used his special keypad to let us into the interrogation rooms, the locker rooms, the briefing rooms, the arsenal, where confiscated materials are placed. I would watch Suriel’s eyes and wondered what was going through his mind.

Colin from the Sierra Sun came to take a picture. I heard the Commander say, “Good work, Jason!” One officer was pulling his pants leg up to his knee, showing Suriel that he too had his scars from childhood bicycle accidents! We finished the tour, Suriel holding his brand new very cool helmet in one hand and shaking Officer Jason’s hand with the other.

In the parking lot, Surie’s dad, Esteban said, “Susan, can you help us write a letter of thank you to put in the Sierra Sun.

“Officer Jason has been wonderful to us and we simply want him to know how much we appreciate what he has done for us today!”

I am a preschool teacher. One of the parts I love about this job is not knowing where I will be next with my families. I called my friends and said where do you think I have been for the last hour and fifteen minutes, at the Truckee Police Department. She paused and asked if I needed her to come and get me out!

After hearing the story, we both agreed Truckee is a beautiful community made up of people who really care.

Susan Bruno is writing for the Suriel Garcia-Lopez Family


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