Eight months after Nevada City Police Officer Shane Franssen was brought back to the department as the part-time foot patrolman dedicated to the downtown historic district, he has been upgraded to a full-time officer.
“I can’t describe what it means to get back on full time,” Franssen said. “It’s a huge relief.”
Franssen, who initially joined the force as a part-timer in 2003, was cut from the force over a year ago with the expiration of a grant that had funded two officer positions.
To help pay bills, Franssen waited tables at Lefty’s Grill, a Nevada City restaurant.
Franssen’s full-time position, which began Dec. 14, was made possible by Drug Asset Seizure money, said Police Chief Jim Wickham, as well as anticipated funds from the voter-approved Measure L, which increases the sales tax by three-eighths of a percent raising approximately $390,000 in its first year.
“One of the selling points of Measure L was to fund community policing activities,” Wickham said.
At 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 260 pounds, Franssen represents an unmistakable police presence downtown, garnering initial praise for curbing vagrant behavior there.
“My presence is ultimately what the position establishes,” Franssen said.
But the role of the former Nevada Union High School linebacker — who once tried out for the San Francisco 49ers football team — has changed since he began foot patrol in April.
A more restrictive smoking ban has been implemented, parking enforcement ramped up and, most recently, the city has adopted a camping permit ordinance aimed at curbing nuisance behavior
by homeless people in Nevada City.
Franssen’s role in the whole process is to evaluate permittees and their proposed sites to make sure they are compliant with health and safety expectations, such as waste disposal, and not running afoul of the law. He will also work with area agencies to connect people to services, he said.
With all these duties, Franssen said a full-time schedule is needed.
“It’s going to give me far more time to work with those resources and establish the programs the chief has implemented,” Franssen said.
Franssen will also work more special events, such as Sunday’s final Victorian Christmas of this holiday season.
Eventually, the plan is to rotate Franssen from the downtown position after an undetermined period of time, replacing him with another officer and assign Franssen to another patrol, Wickham said.
“He’s a huge asset to our department and the community,” Wickham said. “You couldn’t ask for anyone better to do the job than Shane. People think he is a face of the department.”
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.