Survey: Police understaffing a concern for Nevada City residents |

Survey: Police understaffing a concern for Nevada City residents

Nevada City residents would like to see an increase in the number of police officers who serve the community.

This was the top concern that surfaced after Nevada City Police Chief Tim Foley tallied up the results of a survey that he distributed in December to map out the goals of the department for the coming years.

“I think it’s been abundantly clear that they would like to see more officers,” said Foley.

During a forum Wednesday night to go over the outcome of the assessment, funding a bigger staff came under discussion.

“We have an open position since February of last year,” said Foley. “We put it out to get a full-duty police officer, and we have had zero applications. So that tells you something about the pay and benefits that are being offered right now.”

Foley said the small size of the department places a strain on officers and increase safety risks.

Charles Durrett, an architect in Nevada City, suggested that the department engage residents so citizens take a more active role in safeguarding the community.

Foley said he sees more effort from the merchants and residents in creating Neighborhood Watch Groups, but said it could be difficult to recruit volunteers.

“My experience has been is there are a lot of people who say we need more volunteers, but I haven’t seen a lot of volunteers that come forward,” said Foley.

According to Foley, it takes around $50,000 to $100,000 to train a new officer. He is looking for ways to secure money to finance a new patrol officer, a traffic officer as well as a school resource officer to develop rapport with students. Some possibilities for funding included grants, tobacco fund monies or a tax increase.

How to enforce the smoking ordinance was another popular topic during the meeting.

Foley said the city is working on creating two designated smoking areas at the Commercial Street parking lot and Nevada City Street parking lot. In addition, receptacles will be placed around specific locations so people can extinguish their cigarettes.

He is also seeking funding from the county to recruit a patrol officer to help enact stricter enforcement of the smoking ordinance.

Foley said he is still accepting survey responses from the community.

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please call 530-477-4236, or email

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