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Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: Denise Bera

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

By Terra Avilla

I hope this week finds you all warm and cozy, and most importantly, healthy and happy. And even though there are a lot of uncertainties, I hope you all are finding peace and calmness through this storm.

I feel like there really could be no better time to write about a person who, since the day I met her, always made me feel safe.

I would say she is like a second mom to me, but she is really more like an all-knowing aunt that shows up and helps buffer for you when your parents (or your Duty Sergeant) is mad at you.

That person for me is Denise Bera.

My sweet Denise. If you are unfamiliar with Denise, she retired from the Susanville Police Department a couple of years ago after spending her entire career ensuring that the department ran smoothly and efficiently.

We joke that she trained each Chief that passed through, and really, anyone who ever set foot in the Police Department would tell you that is not far off. Denise knows more about criminal procedure, the law and the justice system than most of the seasoned veterans.

I fell in love with her though, not because of her never-ending knowledge, but because she always had a way of making me feel like everything – no matter what- was going to be “okay.”

While I was in the hiring process, I would call her at least two or three times a week and ask what I now know to be stupid questions.

“Do I need to fax and e-mail this for my background?”

“Do I need to use black or blue ink on all the forms?”

“What is a “Susanville Needs?”

Denise always showed such patience for me, taking the time to explain whatever I needed. Her genuine care for me didn’t end in my pre-employment. Denise did everything possible to help my fellow officers and I whenever she could.

She knew what ‘Brass’ would get mad at, so if she saw a young, naive officer acting out of line, she put a quick end to it. In the most motherly, loving way possible.

No matter how stressed I was at work, I had my Denise. She would always end each day, joking, saying, “Now Terra – go work on that attitude!”

Denise didn’t just use her tenacity to care for rowdy officers, Ms. Denise gives a lot of her heart and soul to this community in a variety of different ways. She volunteers to plant flowers in pots at the fairgrounds, donates to every charitable cause that asks and also is a huge part of what makes Community Church feel so welcoming. It has the touch of Denise.

The “I am authentic and funny and smart and if you know me you love me,” effect.

Denise works in the shadows, never attempting to obtain any sort of recognition for anything she does.

So, in the weeks to come, if you are uncertain – act like a Denise. Be kind and thoughtful. Brave and wise. Have a good attitude and be funny.

Be one of the Reasons I love the place we live.

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