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Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: The Susanville Police Department

By Terra Avilla

I started writing this article and would stop. I would start again and then a wave of emotion would hit me and I would have to take a break. As many of you might have heard by now, at the end of this month, I am leaving the City and starting work for the District Attorney’s Office.

As excited as I am to take on a new challenge in law enforcement, I cannot help but think of the beautiful journey I have had with the Susanville Police Department over the past nine years.

When I first started at the police department, I was barely a newlywed, and started working here the week after I moved here. To say I felt like I was in an entire new world, is an understatement.

I was hired by Chief Downing, and I will always thank him for working so hard to help me complete my POST transfer from Reno. He was my first glimpse of the benefit of working at the department. After all, I started in November, and by December, I was in the Chief’s office telling him that I was pregnant and incredibly sick.

I will always be thankful for how he treated me. He gave me a huge hug, told me babies were a blessing and that we, as a department, would figure out a way to navigate the complexities of having SPD’s first pregnant police officer. It was in that moment I knew I had found a home here.

My second glimpse into the joy of working at the PD was the iconic beautiful face that worked the front desk, Denise.

Some of my best memories around the police department involve that ornery woman. She made the office feel like home to me. She and CSO Warren of course. Through lunches and debriefing the crazy calls these women became my family.

The years that followed were filled with stories that helped me grow as a human and as an officer, even when it was painful to do so. I have so many shifts filled with laughs, and good memories, inside jokes and stories you would not believe unless you were there.

I also have memories that make me cry and humbled me. And yet I treasure those just the same.

Working at the police department has placed me in a position to meet so many of you wonderful people. From my time at the school, where I was lucky enough to make so many amazing connections, to just being out and about in our wonderful community.

It was at the police department that I met some of my best friends, including the Cousos, who continue to let me connect to all you.

I met Melyssa at my very first trial, (who is now going to be tasked with being my supervisor, poor thing) and our friendship began.

Over the years, I met Jesse at LFS, Tiffany at CPS, Anna and Rick at IGA, Jamie Huber at Diamond View, Juanita at the Salvation Army, Sam at the paper, Dave Salas at the High School and all of the amazing little goobers that are a part of the Explorer Program.

Ahh yes, the Explorers. Those little munchkins wormed their way into my heart and brought me so much joy the past four years. The list simply goes on and on.

I am so very thankful for the connections working at this department has brought me. I will always have such great memories, with such amazing people.

You know, it’s weird that when I started, I remember thinking how seasoned Rich Warner was, not at all thinking how hard it would be to say goodbye to him.

And if you were to tell me that that Fred Foulk, the goofy, bright eyed ‘rookie’ that started six years ago would become my little brother, I would say, “yeah right.”

That’s the thing with the good ole days. You don’t realize you had them till they are past. And boy did I have them, sometimes at cost of my supervisor’s mental health (Isn’t that right Chief Cochran and Sgt. Sobol). But boy… what an amazing journey I have had at the police department, through six chiefs, three babies, one pandemic and a million memories that I will l hold near and dear the rest of my life.

What a journey.

So, Susanville Police Department. Thank you for giving that weird girl cop from Nevada a chance. Thank you for pushing me to grow, even when I didn’t want to. Thank you for letting me raise my family within the walls of my department, always allowing my crazy daughters free reign of the place. Thank you.

Thank for this beautiful chapter of my life. A chapter which will always be one of my favorites. Thank you for being one of the reasons I love the place we live.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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