Jay Horsley was a staple in the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office for 22 years.
Now, Horsley aims to return to the job he loves as he announced his candidacy for sheriff on Wednesday.
Horsley, a former captain, said he believes he can do the job better and aims to promote his message, skill set and dedication for the job in the coming months.
“I’m not a politician,” Horsley said. “I don’t want to attack, spin things or say gray statements. I want the public to compare qualifications to qualifications. I think I’ve shown I’m more committed. There are things I started as a captain that I want to finish.”
He was let go by Sheriff Ben Trotter about eight to nine months after Trotter was elected in 2010. Despite the bitter taste, Horsley stressed he held no ill-will toward Trotter for the decision.
The reasoning, however, was never disclosed, said Horsley, and as a captain he was an at-will employee. But since he already had his eyes on a run in 2014, Horsley said he figured the move may have been political, which sits fine with the former captain.
Nevertheless, Horsley said he had numerous job offers after Trotter’s decision and even received a recommendation from Trotter for a position at the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s not a personal thing,” Horsley said. “It’s a desire, a drive to finish what I started. I think I’m more qualified and I think I can do a better job. I’m not saying he’s doing a horrific job. I think the piece he is missing is leadership.”
Horsley spent about two years with LCSO working as a patrol deputy and administrator. In addition, he also spent time working for Spillman, a software company focused on public safety and computer-aided dispatch technology. It is used by at least a dozen law enforcement agencies around the state and connects each entity online.
Horsley installed the program and protocols in Lyon County in addition to spearheading the efforts to upgrade the CCSO software before his departure.
But the drive to return home to finish his career was rooted deep for Horsley.
“I think I can keep the employees motivated, happy, keep the morale up and have a department that the community is proud of,” he said.
Horsley’s journey to Fallon is one similar to many in town. It was by the way of the military.
After spending three years as a military police officer in the Army, Horsley settled in the Bay Area. His father, a Navy veteran, retired in Fallon in 1989 but suffered a heart attack.
Horsley moved to be closer with his recovering father and applied to the CCSO. Two months later, Horsley was one of the newest deputies.
Within three years, Horsley was promoted to corporal and the investigations unit.
From there, Horsley was promoted to sergeant and was back on the street. He also spent three years as part of the North Central Narcotics Task Force and five years as a captain.
“From the time I started with the sheriff’s office to the time I left, I was to be involved in everything I could” Horsley said. “I want to be the great cop, that great supervisor and that great person. That kind of drive put me in the gang unit, the DT (defensive tactics) program, the Spillman program and all these other places.”
In addition to his career, Horsley raised two boys, A.J. and Spencer, with his wife Pam.
“It’s been a great move,” Horsley said. “This is home. I raised a family here. This is the first place I’ve ever lived more than three years.”
As a sergeant, Horsley was the first to implement work performance standards and using employee-based models to lead the patrol division.
Once he was promoted to captain, Horsley was a systems administrator for the Spillman program, rewrote policies and procedures for evidence and coroner’s investigations to name a few.
In addition, certifications and career-based educational programs include six Nevada POST certifications, FBI National Academy, policy formalization, grant writing, incident management and coroner trainer to name a few.
“We talked about how to evaluate employees,” Horsley said of the work performance standards. “They gave me the freedom to have shift meetings, which had never really been done. We set goals … and the response was huge. It was something I insisted on. I think it worked well for us.”
Horsley said one of his passions is to bring a project to completion. His run for sheriff is the final step in his career project.