Lt. Bill Smethers announces candidacy for Nevada County sheriff
Lt. Bill Smethers, an employee of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office for over 20 years, announced Friday that he will run for sheriff.
Smether’s declaration makes him the third candidate to announce for the position.
Former Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster and sheriff’s Capt. Shannan Moon already have said they’ll run.
Sheriff Keith Royal has said he intends to retire at the end of his current term.
Smethers, 50, said he initially intended to retire. However, he opted to run for the county’s top law enforcement job after family, friends and coworkers approached him.
“I have been pushed multiple times by them to run,” he said. “I decided to run.”
Smethers, currently an executive lieutenant at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility, said he’s developed experience the other two candidates haven’t and he intends to bring skills he’s gained during his tenure to the position. He’s served on the county’s Narcotics Task Force and for the past four years attended daily Sheriff’s Office briefings.
“I’ve been in the trenches with the troops,” Smethers said.
Jeanette Royal, the sheriff’s wife, is an advisor to Smethers’ campaign. The sheriff said he’s made no endorsement, but expects to endorse either Moon or Smethers after watching their campaigns for some time. He will not endorse Foster, as he said Moon or Smethers would better “understand the complexities of the Sheriff-Coroner- Public Administrator functions of the office, which is quite different from a police department.”
“I’m not endorsing at this point,” Keith Royal said. “I’ve got two good candidates, though I will say Bill has done a good job.”
If elected, Smethers said he intends to fill vacancies at the Sheriff’s Office. He also plans to work with the District Attorney’s Office, along with city police departments, and hold people accountable for the crimes they commit.
Asked about the area’s level of crime, Smethers said social media and the prevalence of police scanners used by the public have made people more aware of it. However, crime itself hasn’t grown out of control.
“We have seen our spikes up and down over the years, the spikes in burglaries,” he said.
Smethers again pointed to his experience with the Narcotics Task Force, which he once supervised, and the relationships he helped foster between law enforcement agencies as a method to better serve the public.
Pivoting to marijuana, Smethers noted that California voters approved both Proposition 215, which allowed medicinal cannabis, and Prop 64, which legalized the adult use of recreational marijuana.
“I’m going to enforce those laws and I’m going to target the people breaking the laws,” Smethers said.
Smethers was born and raised in Nevada County. He and his wife Christina raised their family here.
“I look forward to serving the community longer,” he said.