Candidates for Washoe County Sheriff answer community questions

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) There are seven candidates vying for the job of Washoe County Sheriff and six of them attended and answered questions from community members at a public forum Tuesday night. Candidates were questioned on various topics from gun control to mental health.

The forum drew in many undecided voters such as Mary Anne Gaebe, who says she didn't know any of the candidates.

"I want to find out what they have to say and offer," Gaebe says. Another voter, Edwin Lingar, says he thinks this is one of the most important races coming up this election season.

"I think we make a lot of these down-ballot races decisions without thinking about it so I want to know what I'm doing before I cast my vote," Lingar says.

Candidate Darin Balaam is an adjunct professor at Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College and has more than 20 years of service in the Washoe County Sheriff's Office.

"I promoted up the ranks to learn about background, administration, hiring, discipline and policy making so that I was prepared for this moment," Balaam told voters.

Candidate Sherman Boxx served 26 years with the Sparks Police Department. He served as the Chief Deputy of Operations for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office from 2015 to 2016.

"I have a lot of ideas about revitalizing our policing philosophy in this community," Boxx says.

Allan Fox began his law enforcement career in Napa, California and was later hired by the Reno Police Department in the first "Safety Eighty Eight" class.

"I was on the first gang unit with the Reno Police Department," Fox says. "I was selected for that."

Adam Hopkins started working for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office in 1990 and has held various positions throughout his career.

"I ran the jail," Hopkins says. "I ran a budget of 50 million bucks and dealt with the issues that come with 350 employees."

Heidi Howe has spent 26 years with the sheriff's office.

"20 of those years," she says, "was in a supervisor role and that means that I was a sergeant, lieutenant and a captain."

Candidate Kim Meyer began her career at the Washoe County Sheriff's Office in 1991 as a Deputy Sheriff in the Detention Facility and has served in various roles since.

"I didn't just start caring about this community because I'm running for Washoe County Sheriff," she says. "I have cared about this community since day one."

Candidate Jerry Guzman Cossio was not in attendance. We reached out to his campaign for comment but have not received a response.

At the conclusion of the forum, voters such as Lingar and Gaebe say they have more clarity on the candidates' positions and have narrowed their choices.

"Captain Heidi Howe and Adam Hopkins were very impressive but all six of them had great points to make," Lingar says.

Gaebe says she hasn't made her final choice but was pleasantly surprised by the candidates.

"I was surprised by some that I didn't think I'd be interested in like Hopkins," she says. "I thought he was very good."

The primary election is June 12.