THINK BIG : HOW TRUCKEE PD IS GAINING NATIONAL ATTENTION
The Truckee Police Department , Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys & girls Club of North Lake Tahoe have been partners since 2014 . The reason for this ? Mentorship .
At the suggestion of Truckee ’ s Police Chief , Adam McGill , officers are encouraged to spend some of their onduty time once a week mentoring a child . Several officers have volunteered so far with the program expanding into officers participating even when they ’ re off duty . Officers and their “ littles ” have spent time at the Truckee Tahoe Airshow , fishing , riding bikes , hiking , and visiting Woodward at Boreal along with countless lunches .
“ The Truckee Police Department ’ s partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters fulfills a missing link between the police department and the community we serve by providing reliable role models for deserving youth in our community ,” said Chief McGill .
“ The staff at Boys & Girls Club has identified five Club members who could use a little extra help with academic or social skills ,” said Peggy Martin , community development director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe . “ Big Brothers Big Sisters then recruits , screens and trains the mentors to work with these children on site at the Club once a week . Having local police officers fulfill these roles is such a bonus to our program that touches all of our members , and not just those assigned to a police officer .”
“ I think it is critical that kids get to know our officers on a personal level through positive interactions and not develop a mindset where they feel hesitant or uneasy when encountering police . Participating in Big Brothers and Big Sisters gives us that opportunity . Kids get to see that police officers are just part of the community like everyone else and they get great exposure to what our jobs are like ,” said Captain Leftwich .
It ’ s not just the kids who benefit from this program . Parents benefit as well ! One of the parents of the mentored kids explains , “ My son now sees the police in a good light . He realizes they are real people with real lives and families that have feelings . I hope that it will inspire him to be a good person , to do good in the community and to possibly become police officers someday . I ’ m happy that he now sees police officers as role models instead of people that arrest you or are against you .”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe ( BBBSNC ) is an affiliate member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America , a national nonprofit agency dedicated to creating a volunteer base where atrisk child and youth can be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister . Recently the local chapter was notified by the national Big Brothers Big Sisters headquarters that the national organization was launching a new initiative in communities across the country known as “ Bigs in Blue ” based off the Truckee program .
“ We are honored to have contributed to initiating this worthwhile program across the country and hope it takes off in a meaningful way ,” said Chief McGill . “ Any opportunity we can find that creates a positive interaction with those we serve is something we should always be in search of so that we continue to build relationships that co-op the responsibility of public safety between the police and community .” ■