(VS Al McNeil)
This is a non-partisan race. Both candidates are Republican.
It is an open seat
Please submit a short personal resume:
I have worked as a public servant for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office for 22 years. In 1992 I started in the jail and after 2 ½ years transferred to Silver Springs as a Patrol Deputy. While in Silver Springs I was promoted to Corporal, then Sergeant, and worked out of that station for 13 years until I promoted to Lieutenant in charge of the Fernley Station in 2008. In 2010 I was promoted to Field Services Captain, which oversees operations in all divisions except the Jail and Dispatch. In 2013 I was promoted again, this time as the Undersheriff, which is the position I currently hold. I have a degree in Criminal Justice, I hold an Executive Level P.O.S.T certificate, the highest level possible in the State of Nevada, and I am a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy, which accepts less than 1% of all applicants worldwide.
I am a registered Republican with conservative views on protecting the Constitutional Rights of all citizens, keeping the Federal Government in check with their presence and authority in State and County issues, while remembering that the position of Sheriff is a non-partisan position, that answers directly to the citizens and every citizen deserves the same high level of customer service and professionalism.
1. Both you and your opponent have many years of experience in law enforcement. Define your strengths and why you would better serve Lyon County in this position than your opponent.
The Sheriff of Lyon County needs to have real law enforcement experience with a proven record of progress and implementing new programs across the county. I have that experience as my 22 years with the LCSO has shown while working in all aspects of this agency from a Jail Deputy, Patrol Deputy, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and the Undersheriff, has proven. I have real world experience in negotiating for and working within a budget that I am responsible for and have actual decisions in where to best spend the tax payer dollars. This is vastly different than being a minute part of a huge bureaucracy with little to no say in how a budget is used. My record of being progressive and implementing new programs that include cost savings, man power usage and assignments, risk management and liability reduction, testing and hiring efficiency, multiple agency cooperation, school safety programs, county and city employee safety programs, jail diversion programs assisting those with substance abuse and mental health issues, Neighborhood Watch and utilizing our Reserves and Volunteers in as many ways as possible are what Lyon County has needed and will continue to need in the future. Also included in my work to meet the needs of Lyon County is my recent appointment to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Board of Directors for the State of Nevada. I will be able to assist NAMI as an advocate for those who need help with their mental illness, Lyon County, the LCSO, and Nevada. I am able to assist, not only from a law enforcement point of view but also from a business perspective and as a rural Nevadan familiar with the needs of our communities. Many of these programs that I have been instrumental in, have become models that other law enforcement entities are now using or looking to use in some form.
Another major strength that I have is my personal knowledge and connection to every community in Lyon County. I am a third generation Nevadan and I was raised in Lyon County. I have friends and family in every area which helps me understand what the needs and wants are of those communities. I have always been involved in my community whether it has been by giving my time or giving to a good cause to help others. I didn’t just start showing up to events and attending functions when I decided to run for office and win or lose I will still give my time and energy to my communities.
2. Give your assessment of the current status of the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.
The LCSO has some of the best sworn, non-sworn, and volunteer staff you will ever find. I am very proud to have these men and women working with me as part of the team providing so many services to the citizens of Lyon County. Our citizen and customer service complaints are few and far between and our Internal Affairs investigations continue to average about 20-25 per year, county- wide, even though we handle over 100,000 calls for service annually. As we have made a marked gain in customer satisfaction, I will continue to improve our customer service.
The LCSO is understaffed in all areas as we average 1.5 sworn staff members per 1000 citizens with the National average at 2.5 sworn staff members per 1000 citizens. As the economy comes back I will continue to budget for additional people with a goal of 3-5 new positions over the next 4 years and into the future. The additional staff will be spread throughout the agency with a focus on Narcotics, Gangs, and Drug Interdiction.
Employee morale is an issue no matter what type of business you are in and the LCSO is no different. The overall morale continues to be fairly high even though we are in the middle of an election year and the employees have been at odds with the County over contract negotiations. I will continue to keep morale high by providing staff with the training they need, the equipment they need and allowing for their input as a part of the team that we all need, to provide the best law enforcement and community services to Lyon County. With me as their Sheriff and as the contract negotiations are settled, the morale will naturally improve as the employees gain a greater sense of security.
We, the LCSO, has continued to provide all of Lyon County with excellent law enforcement and community services during one of the hardest economic times any of us have seen. Through good planning and foresight we never had to lay one person off, causing a family hardship. We continued to provide our basic services, Jail and Patrol, lessening any impact the public may have felt, while maintaining a high arrest and conviction level of those who chose to break the law. We also took on more unfunded, State and federally mandated duties and responsibilities while working hand in hand with our other Lyon County departments, i.e. Lyon County School District, Human Services, Buildings and Grounds, Utilities, etc… who also lost budget monies and had additional mandates placed on them.
All of this work was done as a team that I have had the privilege of leading. Leading by example from the front, knowing what needs to be done and how it should be done based upon my experience, my leadership and my integrity. It is often easiest to point out from the bottom what those above you are not doing right and to be critical when you really don’t have any idea what is happening around you and never cared to find out how you can help.
3. As Lyon County Sheriff what do you believe will be your greatest challenges in the next four years and how would you intend to address them?
As I stated in my answer to question #2, staffing correctly is one of the greatest challenges. By being a full person below average we have had to stifle our preventive services in order to keep our basic services, such as Patrol and Detention, operating. A second issue we face is preparing for the growth of the county that we believe is in the near future. We don’t want to make the mistake of not having sufficient plans in place for the next population boom. When Fernley and Dayton exploded in the 2000’s, the LCSO was not given sufficient manpower to operate with a growing population, causing us to always be behind and leaving us to play catch up even now. If the plans for the mine south of Yerington come to fruition we could find ourselves doing it again. Not only is the possibility there for this to affect Yerington and Mason Valley, but it could also cause Smith Valley, Silver Springs and Fernley to grow in population along with the daily traffic commuters and consumers bring to those areas. Along with more people there will be more crime and calls for service. Elko and Eureka are perfect examples of this happening right now.
The third and fourth biggest issues we face are most often linked together and they are drugs and gangs. When either of these is present crime rates increase. People on drugs usually are not working a regular job to support their habits so they resort to burglary and robbery. By putting a large amount of pressure on users and dealers through proactive measures and providing the District Attorney with good, prosecutable cases, we can reduce the number of these people living in our community. I also feel that increasing our Gang programs can have the same result. We do not want any part of Lyon County to be a desirable place for gang members to conduct business and commit crimes. The Narcotics Division, Gang Unit and Tri-County Gang Unit all do a very good job battling these elements now, but we need to enhance the number of people doing those jobs to do an even better job as we strive to continually improve.
4. It is a long campaign season. Many accusations and assertions are made by candidates. Are there any specific charges or assertions made by your opponent, or others, that you feel are inaccurate or unfair that you would like to answer to?
I have made it a priority throughout my campaign to run a clean, ethical, and honest campaign that the position of Sheriff and the citizens of Lyon County deserve and should expect from their Sheriff. Despite having been attacked personally including attacks on my family, I have never retaliated or slung mud, choosing to only state facts. I am not running against anyone, they are running against me. I am being interviewed by the citizens of Lyon County for the position of Sheriff and have spent most of my life, including the last 22 years as a public servant with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office studying, working hard and preparing to be your next Sheriff.
5. Please use this space to elaborate on any specific issue(s) of concern.
As we get closer to November 4 and the end of the election year, it is important to remember a few things in the Sheriff’s election. I am the only candidate with 22 years of working experience and knowledge of the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office. I am the only candidate to have worked in every division. I am the only candidate with an Executive POST Certificate. I am the only candidate to be a graduate of the FBI National Academy. I am the only candidate who took part in every role and supervised in every capacity in order to be properly prepared to be the Sheriff. Experience and knowledge in any profession are what all of us seek and are what will make the difference between receiving a service and receiving the best possible service. None of us would allow someone who has only watched surgery performed to actually allow them to operate on us. I am the only candidate qualified to be Sheriff.
I am the only candidate to be a Nevadan, raised in Lyon County, whose family was raised in Lyon County and who has raised his family in Lyon County, giving me the knowledge of what all of Lyon County needs but also a true ownership that the citizens of Lyon County are also my friends, family and neighbors. I will continue to limit Federal intrusion, not invite it to run the Sheriff’s Office, I will protect your Constitutional Rights, I will provide the highest level of customer service with a real, workable plan of action from my Command Staff to additional community involvement and I will lead the Sheriff’s Office with integrity into the next four years and the next decade. I will not let you down as I continue to exceed the standards of the office of Sheriff.
I have asked Republican candidates in the Carson City District Attorney and Supervisor races & the Lyon County Sheriff’s and Commissioner races to participate in an online interview
The interview responses will be posted in full, unedited as submitted on NewsDesk (www.ndbynd.com), the CCRW website (www.ccrwclub.org) and the Carson City Central Committee website (www.ccrccgop.com), and all other GOP associated websites that wish to do so. The responses will be emailed to the membership of each organization, with reposting of any interview by interested parties strongly encouraged.
The purpose of these interviews is to allow our Republican candidates the opportunity to state their positions in their own words, describe how they differ from their opponent’s positions and why they would better serve their local government better than their opponent.
Nancy Dallas, Publisher/Editor NewsDesk (Est. January 2003)