Sheriff’s Message, Week of August 21st
Shortly after assuming the Office of Sheriff in January 2015, Alea Clark was reported missing. Our detectives knew it was a homicide and suspected that her boyfriend, Ryan Coddington was involved; however, we had to find Alea’s remains. We brought in every available resource, including our SAR, Nevada Division of Investigation, elements of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, cadaver dogs, and even a ground sonar search specialist. Eventually, we found her remains in two separate locations in a horrendous and elaborate scheme to destroy and conceal those remains.
A jury this week found Coddington guilty of 1st degree murder and sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. While our prayers of condolence and peace continue to be with Alea’s family and friends, I do not believe this brings justice for Alea. Rather, it will ensure that Coddington can never hurt another person outside the walls of prison again. We need to thank our District Attorney’s Office and the job they did, along with the Nevada Department of Correction’s (NDOC) Director and Inspector General who late Thursday night, scrambled to get certified testimony in the sentencing phase before the jury on Friday morning. Coddington previously served a 17 year NDOC sentence for a violent criminal conviction and while there, committed several acts of violence upon NDOC officers.
I remember walking into Coddington’s home, pursuant to a search warrant, looking at our gang-unit, and asking the question. “How did we not know about him?” Coddington was a hardcore white supremacist; a group of individuals who are prone to commit violent acts of domestic extremism. During the past several months, we have been working at enhancing and improving our Intelligence Led Policing (ILP) through approved policy and practices. As an example, we have hundreds of crime guns in our evidence vaults. These crime guns need to have their ballistic data entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to determine if they were used in any crime around the nation before we release them. NIBIN has been available for years with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab, we just have never utilized that service.
In the upcoming months, we will be speaking with our partners, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Carson City Sheriff’s Office on expanding our Tri-county gang unit’s roles into domestic extremism and ILP practices, such as NIBIN enhancements and crime gun traces to identify straw purchases. We have to get smarter and use evidence based best practices to improve efficiency as it relates to public safety.
And finally, many domestic well owners may have heard about a legislative subcommittee holding hearings this week as it relates to domestic wells, drought, and looking to the future of metering. While I do not know the outcome of that hearing, I have been asked several times for my thoughts. As the old adage goes, “Whiskey is for drinking, and water is for fighting over.” I do not believe the state will ever mandate home domestic well metering on existing wells; for if they did, it would end up like the Battle for Fallujah, one house at a time as property owners fight. The Sheriff’s Office will not get involved in supporting any state civil mandate like that.
As always, keep the Faith.