Election 2014: Meet the 5 candidates for Washoe County sheriff
April 2, 2014
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Five Washoe County residents are in the race to replace outgoing Sheriff Mike Haley. The primary election in Nevada is June 10. For the sheriff's race, residents will be asked to vote for their top two candidates to move on to November's general election.
Considering Incline Village/Crystal Bay represents an important patrol area for the sheriff's office, the Bonanza took time this week to speak with the candidates, asking each to provide biographical information and a 300-word statement.
While some provided separate bio information, others included it in their statements, which are presented below, verbatim, in random order.
For a full list of candidates in the 2014 election, visit http://www.washoecounty.us/voters/14filed.html.
Tim Kuzanek, 47, South Reno
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Formal education: Graduated from the University of Louisville's Southern Police Institute's Administrative Officers Course and the Police Executive Leadership Program. Named a "Dean's Scholar" by the Department of Justice Administration, College of Arts and Science, University of Louisville.
Current occupation: Undersheriff, Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Candidate statement: "Incline Village residents should vote for me because I have served in the Sheriff's Office for over 20 years, I have worked in every part of this county, and I understand the law enforcement concerns of Incline Village. I have that experience and I believe I'm the right candidate to get the job done.
During my tenure at the Sheriff's office, I have served in Patrol, the Detention Response Team, SWAT, Field Training Officer, Undercover Narcotic Operations, Hostage Negotiations, Investigations, and Special Operations.
As the current Washoe County Undersheriff, I've had a unique opportunity to supervise how the office works from an operational and fiscal perspective.
The Sheriff's department has made great strides in reducing the crime rate over the time I've been with the office, and we need to work to continue that trend in keeping Washoe County residents safe.
Data-driven techniques have been helping us maximize our efficiency and effectiveness, and I look forward to continuing to fight crime in Washoe County with the most sophisticated methods available, while at the same time working within our means.
I want to continue leading the fight against crimes such as domestic violence, cyber crimes, and identity theft. Washoe County residents deserve experienced leadership in their Sheriff's Office. I will do everything I can to ensure that the crime rate remains low in Washoe County. I look forward to earning the trust of the voters."
Chuck Allen, 53, Golden Valley
Candidate statement: "As a candidate for Washoe County Sheriff, my platform is based upon service and commitment to our community. I am 53 years old, a 27-year Washoe County resident, have been married to my wife Teresa for 21 years, and we reside in Golden Valley.
As a visible, approachable and caring individual, I believe bringing new perspectives and a community-oriented policing vision, are what allow me to be the best choice for your next sheriff. I have taken great pride in serving the citizens and visitors of Nevada as a state trooper with the Nevada Highway Patrol for the past 24 years, as well as serving my state and country as a member of the Nevada Air National Guard for nearly three decades.
As for my educational background, I am currently completing two associates' degrees with the Community College of the Air Force to include a human resources management and logistics management degrees. My military educational resume comprises the completion of four academies in residency with the United States Air Force to include the non-commissioned officers' academy, first sergeant academy, senior non-commissioned officers' academy, and the chiefs' executive course. My service to our community, state and country doesn't end there.
I am actively and visibly involved with my community in leadership roles where I currently serve as the vice-president of the Nevada Humane Society, and executive committee member for Special Olympics Nevada. Additionally, I am an active member of American Legion Post 12 where I serve as the sergeant-at-arms. My intentions as sheriff are to evaluate and adjust necessary services, create community partnerships, create a more efficient agency, and lead by example. My leadership experience and commitment to serving our community should be considered when you cast your vote this election season for Washoe County Sheriff."
James Beltron, 54, Sparks
Formal education: Associate in Applied Science, more specifically Police Science, from Jamestown Community College. I graduated in 1983. I am a proud U.S. Army Military Police Corps veteran. I served my tour of duty in the then Federal Republic of Germany.
Current occupation: I retired from the Washoe County Sheriff's office in 2012, having served 26.5 years as a Deputy Sheriff. I was promoted to Sergeant in 2001. I have served in almost every job available at the Sheriff's Office. (Jail, Patrol, Detectives (Homicide, Narcotics, Burglary), Civil, SWAT, DRT, Major Accident Investigator, Field training Officer)
Candidate statement: "I want to continue to serve the citizens of Washoe County by providing the best service possible, through my actions and those that work for the Sheriff's office.
I have the operational training and experience to understand complexities of the job ahead. I know and understand the requirements and dedication to complete the day to day business of being the Sheriff.
I want to continue to embrace technology, but not without forgetting the end user. The technology cannot further encumber the duties of the staff. Technology should be an enhancement to our qualities not a replacement. You will always have someone to answer your calls for assistance, not a phone tree selection.
We are slowly recovering from the last recession and the budget issues, as well as, staffing (including hiring and retention) are of great concern.
I will be very frugal with the budget; I believe we are "Stewards of the Publics monies". I have a duty to be held accountable for the expenditure of those monies and how that would negatively or positively affect each community individually.
My emphasis will be on training. I know the only difference between a new hire and a veteran is experience and training. A better trained person can respond more appropriately to the daily needs of a specific community. This will enable them to better articulate and address each situation specifically, whether it is to answer a question or write a report.
In today's litigious society, a better trained person can help limit litigation by not under reacting or over reacting to any given situation. The bottom line is a better trained person serves the public better and more efficiently.
During my last four years on patrol I was South District Supervisor, including Incline, and I understand the needs of your community."
David Butko, 58, Verdi
Current occupation: I am currently retired from the Sheriff's Office after 30 years of service at the rank of Captain.
Candidate statement: "I know that each Sheriff brings a different style of leadership into office. I have served under 5 different Sheriffs, and I have had ample time to learn which leadership styles work, and which leadership styles do not. I believe that I am able to bring the best of both worlds — not only my own distinctive style of leadership, but also a fusion of the most effective leadership models from the last thirty years.
Further, I have served in nearly every section of the Sheriff's Office. I have experience in the Washoe County Sheriff's Office from serving as an undercover narcotics officer to serving as the commander of the SWAT, K-9, and bomb teams.
Because of this, I am uniquely situated to understand the inner workings of the Sheriff's office. Not only that, but I have served in a command position in all three bureaus of the Sheriff's Office: Operations, Detention, and Administration. I know what policies and tactics do and do not work in every division of the Sheriff's Office. I am fully dedicated to ensuring that the Washoe County Sheriff's office will be held to the highest standard of excellence.
On a personal note, in the past, I oversaw both the patrol shifts and the detectives stationed in Incline. I find the fact that there is no longer a Sheriff's station in Incline to be troubling. I will do my utmost to ensure its swift return.
Why am I running for Sheriff? The answer is simple: I bleed green, the color of my 29 year Sheriff's Uniform, and I always have. I know that I can improve the Sheriff's Office, and in so doing, improve the safety, security, and quality of life for all of the citizens of Washoe County."
Jim Lopey, 59, South Reno
Formal education: Bachelor's Degree at Nevada-Reno (Criminal Justice-1981); Master of Science Degree in Emergency Crisis Management (UNLV-2008); FBI National Academy (192nd session); Senior Management Institute for Police (Harvard Kennedy School of Government); Southwest Command College; Point Man Leadership Institute (certified executive leadership instructor/have taught in U.S. and Europe); and over 140 other formal schools, including numerous leadership/management classes.
Current occupation: Since 2008, I have served as the Terrorism/Fusion Liaison Officer Coordinator for the Nevada Threat Analysis Center, Nevada Department of Public Safety; and I teach homeland security-related courses as a professor at Truckee Meadows Community College.
Candidate statement: "I am a 4th generation native Nevadan who cares deeply for the community — my vision is to lead the Sheriff's Office into a new era of excellence and accountability for all citizens and visitors. Sheriff Mike Haley's departure has created a leadership vacuum that needs to be filled by an experienced, knowledgeable and proven leader.
I am not a status quo kind of leader. Quite the contrary — I pledge that I will provide the best possible service to the citizens of this great County. My vision and agenda are quite aggressive but the transition of new leadership requires innovation and renewed focus. I plan on taking my ideas, ideas of the citizenry and those of the employees to new heights.
The highlights of my 10 point Innovation Plan encompass the following goals:
1. Complete review of Jail Operations: I seek to reintroduce new programs that will reduce the jail population and result in more deputies on the street.
2. Reintroduction of true Community Oriented Policing — I will reintroduce geographically based Community Liaison Officers (CLOS).
3. Accountability to the Citizens and Visitors of Washoe County — all citizens and visitors will have a direct pipeline to my office.
4. Incline Village Resource Review and Adjustment — Incline had a full-time sub-station with 16 deputies, 3-4 sergeants and a Lieutenant. I intend to work with the citizens of Incline and the County Commission to insure proper allocation of resources at Incline Village.
5. Veteran's Employment.
6. Re-emphasis and Focus on Homicide Cold Cases.
7. Morale Issues within Sheriff's Office.
8. Sustained Homeland Security Strategic Planning Within Washoe County.
9. Supporter of Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment.
10. Donation of a considerable portion of my salary — I will contribute 20 percent of my Sheriff's salary to a foundation benefitting my officers and staff."