Superintendents of Plumas Schools React to Public Safety Concerns a Week into Sheriff’s Deputy Patrol Challenges


Three women hold signs outside the Quincy courthouse reading Fund 9-1-1, We support PCSO and Support Local Law Enforcement while holding the thin blue line flag, and now not only is the community voicing their distraught for public safety, Plumas schools are now raising the alarm as the county loses deputy coverage during critical times.
Due to staffing shortages, Sheriff Todd Johns, as of last Wednesday, has been forced to pull deputies from the streets and into the jail. Patrols for the foreseeable future have been set from noon to midnight, a single swing shift.

Sheriff Johns says it’s been “challenging at  best.” Telling the Board that dispatchers are taking the brunt of the public’s frustration as they navigate the reality that they have no deputies to send to calls.

Now, in another aspect to the dire situation, Plumas Superintendent of Schools Bill Roderick, during yesterday’s supervisors’ meeting, called on the Board to do better on behalf of the county’s children, saying, “Children cannot learn when they do not feel safe.” Roderick says the emails are flooding in from teachers and parents worried about the safety of their children as during more than half of the school day, there are no deputies to respond to emergencies.

Superintendent and President of Feather River College Kevin Trutna share similar concerns, citing that college students are often very active in the late evening hours again during a time when no deputies are on shift.

Even 63-year-old Susan Hendersen, an onsite manager for over 50 homes within a mobile home park in Quincy, called on the Board to help resolve the lack of deputies, “saying it’s not my job and I’ve risked my life three times.” Over the weekend, Susan said she woke in the early morning hours, when no deputies are on shift, to handle domestic disputes, worried that as the criminal element learns of the county’s predicament, her lack of safety will increase.

Negotiations with the sheriff’s associations and the Board of supervisors are ongoing with little result as the county remains under a budget crisis, unable to navigate negotiations without fully understanding where their bottom line lies.

Johns, in his update to the Board, said he is now facing losing even more deputies in the coming weeks. One applying to a Southern California department where they will earn a higher wage for the same position, and another to neighboring Nevada county for better pay.

Supervisor Mcgowan, an active and often loud voice on the Board, asked John if the Board were to “open the purse” and give the department “all the money” that the sheriff wants, then would the problem go away? Johns, in response, said, “it’s not all about the money, that if that were the case, deputies would have already left,” but that those working love Plumas and don’t want to leave but are left with little choice, and Johns is having a hard time telling them to stay.

As the board has yet to respond directly to this matter as it has yet to be set as an agenda item, the supervisors are set to meet again next Tuesday. Whether the sheriff’s office staffing shortage and a solution are to be discussed remains unknown.