NHP Trooper Chuck Allen, candidate for Washoe County Sheriff
RENO, NV - When Undersheriff Tim Kuzanek announced his candidacy two weeks ago, current Sheriff Mike Haley, past Sheriffs Dennis Balaam and Dick Kirkland as well as the D-A and both mayors were there to lend their support.
At the least it appeared to be a politically preemptive move.
The sheriff's race suddenly looked more like an orderly succession, a passing of the torch.
That changed Monday as Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen made his announcement.
On top of 23 years experience in law enforcement Allen brings to the race formidable name recognition, having been the spokesman for the N-H-P for years.
He has been a frequent presence in the media, on everything from routine traffic reports to safety advice to on-the-scene crime reports.
He's also coming with an agenda.
"I'd be coming in with a fresh set of eyes," says Allen. "Have a clean slate with every employee. Get to know every employee and to look ahead at serving the citizens of Washoe County with the best level of service that can be provided."
In fact, Allen says one of the first things he'd do is do an internal poll to determine the culture of the department, followed up with interviews with every single employee.
One of the questions he'd ask is 'If you were Sheriff for one day, what changes would you make?"
Allen says he wants more deputies out on the street, increasing the level of service through greater use of the reserve deputies including retired officers.
"There's a lot of talent," says Allen. "There's a lot of experience out there and I think we can capitalize on that as a community.
While cadets and a second level of trained volunteers wouldn't be paid, the veterans would, though they wouldn't receive benefits.
"Federal grant money is definitely out there in community oriented policing plans. So that's my intent to look at funding that program through federal grants in an effort to offset the cost to the community as a whole."
Allen says building community partnerships would be a priority, asking officers to give back through volunteer work and requiring attendance at local neighborhood advisory board meetings.
He notes the Incline Village substation is currently without a resident officer who lives at the lake. He'd like to change that, allowing for faster response in an emergency and a better connection with the community of 8700. He says he'd even like those deputies to be trained to work with wildlife officials on Incline and Verdi's growing bear problem.
We reached out to the Undersheriff to get his reaction, but he was unavailable to us. With the apparent endorsement of so many local officials there's little doubt he will be a very strong candidate.
At least two others, including former Assistant Sheriff Jim Lopey are said to be considering entering the race.