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Lifetime of service

You’d think five terms on the Grass Valley City Council, including stints as mayor, as well as sitting on the city’s planning commission and numerous boards, would have been more than enough public service for Gerard Tassone.

You’d be wrong.

Two years ago, Tassone began volunteering with the Grass Valley Police Department. But he didn’t stop there, and recently was sworn in as a level III reserve police officer at age 59.

“After I retired from the council, (Chief John Foster) asked me to come volunteer,” said Tassone, who served with the council from 1987-2006.

After mulling it over for a while, Tassone did just that, helping out with tasks like issuing parking tickets.

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The volunteer program was a great way of serving the community, Tassone said. But he wanted to pursue an interest in criminal investigation, so he enrolled in the police academy.

“I don’t think you’re ever too old – but you have to be in good shape – and go through the background check, of course,” he said.

“There were about 30 in my class, and I was by far the oldest,” he continued. “Most were in their 20s. But we had a great time; I did everything they did. It was a good experience.”

Right now, Tassone is in the middle of eight weeks of training, doing field work, going out on whatever calls come up. He works whenever he can, usually a couple of days a week, in addition to his full-time job at AJA Video.

“To go out on your own, you have to be a level I, but that was never my goal,” he said. “As a Level III, I can go out with another officer.”

Tassone plans to help the department on the investigation end, with computer forensics.

“I don’t care for cyber-criminals,” he said. “They disrupt your life something fierce.”

Tassone is already looking ahead, thinking about getting to Level II.

“It’s very interesting,” he said. “I never really understood 100 percent what (police officers) did, what they have to go through on a daily basis.”

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail lkellar@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4229.


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