Police to beef up boat patrols at popular Sierra lake

TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) -- In response to residents' complaints about some boaters, police plan to step up boat patrols at a popular Sierra Nevada lake this summer.

The Truckee Police Department will devote more time to patrolling Donner Lake north of Lake Tahoe with the help of a new 21-foot patrol boat.

Although boaters can expect a greater law enforcement presence, they shouldn't expect more citations, police said.

"Our goal is not to go out there and write tickets," police Sgt. Tim Hargrove told Truckee's Sierra Sun newspaper. "The mere presence of the officer on the lake is usually enough to deter illegal behavior."

The increased police presence comes after Donner Lake residents asked the department to crack down on boaters and watercraft users who fail to comply with regulations.

Resident Charlie White said he requested the assistance because some watercraft users were "over-exuberant and not following the standard rules of the lake."

Although White is pleased with the police plans, he doesn't want the scenic lake along Interstate 80 to become over-regulated.

"We don't want to see the Gestapo out there either. We want to see some common sense by patrol people," he said.

Hargrove said he expects the department's new patrol boat to be delivered by the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The boat was obtained through a grant from the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

Truckee patrol officers are currently learning how to properly patrol the waterways, Hargrove said. The training includes about three hours on the lake and three hours in the classroom.

A Truckee firefighter will be assigned to the boat on weekends and other peak periods.

The department currently patrols the lake with the help of two personal watercraft obtained through a law enforcement loan program.


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