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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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August 26, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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August 26, 2015
 

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4B Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter LAW ORDER comman nue pos Dan McDonald Managing Editor dmcdonald@plumasnews.com Sarah Richards leaned back and smiled when she recalled the phone call last month informing her that she was selected as the California Highway Patrol commander in Quincy. "When the chief called me he Said, 'I just want to let you know that these phone calls are always so hard to make,'" Richards said. She remembered preparing herself for the bad news. "And then he said, 'But we just wanted to let you know we got approval for who we selected.., and we selected yOU'." Richards was so shocked, she asked the chief to repeat himself. After all, there were 10 candidates for the Quincy commander job -- many with more experience. "You, Sarah. We selected you." Richards said the chief was obviously toying with her. When he fmally convinced her the job was hers, she was almost speechless. "I was ecstatic," Richards said. "This is a job I really wanted." Sgt. Richards, who joined the CHP in 2001, will officially take over the Quincy post Tuesday, Sept. 1, when she is promoted to lieutenant. She has been the acting commander since Aug. 3. Sgt. Sarah Richards will be promoted to lieutenant and formally take over as commander of the California Highway Patrol's Quincy office on Sept. 1. Photo by Dan McDonald Richards replaces Lt. Joe Edwards, who retired in July. And she stressed that Plumas County residents won't notice any changes. "I want people to rest assured that I will be the same way out in the community that Joe was," Richards said. "I just want to improve on the amazing foundation that Joe's already laid." Edwards was credited with helping to improve the CHP's image in the county. When he arrived in the spring of 2013, residents were still complaining about the CHP's perceived heavy-handed tactics. The complaints began in 2009 when the Quincy post added more officers to accommodate a change to 24-hour coverage. Most of the new officers were rookies, fresh out of the academy. Locals felt the officers were overly aggressive. Edwards immediately reached out to the community and his squad in an effort to mend fences. He emphasized an open-door policy and a small-town style of law enforcement. Richards, who is from a small town (Big Bear) and has worked mostly in small communities with the CHP, said she and Edwards have the same philosophy. She was a sergeant in Bridgeport when the CHP switched to 24-hour coverage the same time as Plumas County. "We experienced similar things to what the community here was complaining about," Richards said. "You get six brand new excited guys ... They just want to go and do their job .... And they were overly enthusiastic. "But we had a great response once we dealt with it. The senior guys worked with junior guys and they taught them that the department still has a mission, and you can still accomplish the mission-- safety, service and security -- in a small town. And it doesn't have to be stopping every (vehicle) out there that has a license plate (light) out." Richards managed a sporting goods store in Mammoth before joining the CHP. She was nearly 30 when she became an officer and has moved up the ranks quickly. She started her CHP career in Bishop. In 2008, she was promoted to sergeant and transferred to the Truckee scales post. She transferred to Bridgeport 14 months later. After a year and a half, she transferred back to Truckee where she remained until transferring to CHP's Valley Division headquarters in Sacramento four months ago. There she ran the administration support unit. "I was basically in a group that we worked specifically for the chiefs," Richards said. "Pretty much anything that the division would need, we coordinated or handled through my staff." Richards said she loved the work, but not the town. "I am not a huge fan of Sacramento. It is a big city.., and I am a small-town girl." She said this isn't the first time she has tried to work in Plumas County. She applied for the commander job when Edwards was hired. She and her husband, Drew, a 20-year CHP veteran officer stationed at the Truckee scales, vacation often in Plumas County. "We vacation in Portola at Lake Davis and Frenchman Lake," Richards said. "We golf in Graeagle all the time. We have friends and family that live in the east county." Richards said she plans to move somewhere in the Graeagle or Portola area. She said Drew will remain in Truckee for now, while their youngest son, age 16, finishes high school. "We are going to do a dual residency: So Graeagle or Portola kind of splits the distance for us." When Richards isn't working she can be found enjoying one of her many outdoor hobbies. She said she's "a huge" fly fisherman. "I've already told the DA (David Hollister) he's got to show me some of his fishing holes." She likes to golf and said she usually shoots around 100. "I'm terrible at it, but I love to play." She and Drew love to camp, hunt and ski. "All the out-doorsy stuff. We ride dirt bikes, too." But unlike her predecessor Edwards -- who looked for any excuse to patrol on his bicycle and was often seen riding around town, Richards doesn't like bikes. "You'll never see me in bike shorts or on a bike ... ever!" she said laughing. Richards said she and her husband like bulldogs and are involved in the Northern Nevada Bulldog Rescue. "We do pugs. Pugs are my obsession," she said with a hearty laugh. "We even do foster for them. So, I will have my eyeballs open up here all the time for pugs." Richards is also interested in gardening, canning and even tried her hand at cake decorating in her younger days. "That's a little-known fact about me," she said. "I've done wedding cakes. That was back in my former life. I'm way too busy now. And one really busy wedding season is enough to convince you that cake decorating is... It's a lot of work." So is being in charge of a CHP post. But Richards is excited about her new job, and honored that she was selected. "The Quincy office was highly sought after," she said. "Ten of us competed for this position." Two weeks ago she had her first chance to sit down with each officer individually in the Quincy squad. It was the first time she had met many of them. "It was very positive. I'm very excited," she said. "They welcomed me with open arms." CHP REPORT, from page 3B driver of the GMC started forward. Greenaway rear-ended the Chevrolet that was still stopped for the red light. Both parties pulled over to :the right shoulder of Quincy Junction Road and awaited the CHP. Every one involved had been wearing a seat belt. No one was injured. Highway 395, Aug. 19 Johnny Odom Jr., 48, of Reno, Nevada, and a passenger were driving southbound in a 2001 Honda Civic. At about 5:31 p.m., they were in the No. 2 lane just south of Country Lane, traveling at approximately 65 - 70 mph. Dean Smith, 45, of Reno, Nevada, was driving a 2000 Cadillac DeviUe DHS southbound on US 395. He was in the No. 2 lane 3 -4 car lengths behind Odom. His stated speed varied between 68 - 72 mph. Smith looked to his left in preparation to pass the Honda while also accelerating. He failed to compensate for the limited following distance and increased speed. The front of the Cadillac struck the rear of the Honda. The impact sent the Honda into a counterclockwise spin. The Civic veered southwest, across the southbound traffic lanes. As it entered the dirt median east of southbound US 395 the vehicle began sliding sideways through the sagebrush. The Honda continued to slide and began to roll onto its right side. Due to the sagebrush, the Honda was quickly up-righted. The car continued rotating until it came to rest in the median facing west. The involved parties were wearing safety belts at the time of the collision. Complaints of pain were reported by the occupants of the Honda Civic. No one required medical attention. Highway 89, Aug. 20 At 8 a.m., Michael Carter, 62, of Greenville, was riding his bicycle northbound near the right shoulder of the highway, south of Hot Springs Road. Carter suffered a medical event that caused him to lose control of the bicycle and overturn. He was wearing a helmet and sustained only minor injuries. Bucks Lake Road, Aug. 20 Keiland Dunmore, 17, of Meadow Valley, was driving his mother's white 1991 Mercury Sable. He was traveling westbound on Bucks Lake Road. About 1:56 p.m., Dunmore was west of Beilamy Lane, traveling at a stated speed of 50- 55 mph. The driver heard screeching sound coming from his vehicle. He tried to slow down. The car began fishtailing and the driver lost control of the Sable. It skidded off of the road and onto the north shoulder. The vehicle continued skidding across the shoulder and went over the steep dirt embankment. The right front corner of the vehicle struck a tree stump and stopped. The Sable sustained minor damage to the right front corner. The right front tire came off of its rim deflating immediately. Dunmore was wearing his seat belt and did not suffer any injuries. 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