The head of the Nevada Division of Investigation was named Monday as the new chief of the Nevada Highway Patrol Monday.
Dave Hosmer, a 21-year veteran of the state's Public Safety Department, said he is sad to leave NDI, having been there for 18 1/2 years, and especially since he was appointed in July as chief.
"I'm excited about taking over the highway patrol," he said Monday. "It takes me out of my comfort zone and creates new challenges for me. I'm very lucky to have a wife that's supportive of all these changes."
Hosmer has been married to Sharon for 10 years and has lived in Nevada since 1975. They live in Minden with his step-daughter Amanda, who is 13. He also has two grown daughters, Catalina and Shiloh, who live in Las Vegas, and a 16-year-old son Jacob, who also lives in Las Vegas.
Hosmer was with NHP for three years before transferring to NDI, where he has held every position during his 18 years with investigations.
Hosmer said he applied for the Highway Patrol position last week and was congratulated Monday morning. He said the application process is done within the department.
"I think they wanted someone they already knew that was on board with their philosophy and the philosophy of the governor," he said.
"Though I'm not new to the agency, I will be coming in with a fresh set of eyes looking at every single thing we do and saying 'Why are we doing it this way?' If it's the best way, that's fine. If there's a better way, let's explore it. I think we are mandated by the governor - it's really the people's mandate, it's the platform he ran for election on - to look at effectiveness and efficiency in what we do."
Public Safety Director Dick Kirkland said Hosmer instituted major changes in NDI that raised morale and improved performance in the division.
"Under Hosmer's direction, NDI has conducted several major criminal and personnel investigations while supervising seven multi-jurisdictional narcotics task forces throughout Nevada," said Kirkland. "His progressive leadership style will be a tremendous asset for NHP."
He said an internal departmental search has already begun to fill the NDI post.
Hosmer's law enforcement career began with a four-year stint in the Air Force. He was also an officer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation before joining NHP as a trooper. He holds an associate degree from Clark County Community College, graduated from a police staff and command program at Northwestern University and is a graduate of the FBI's Southwest Command College.
NHP has a total of 446 sworn officers and 160 civilian personnel and is also responsible for the criminal records repository. The colonel's position at NHP pays up to $85,858 a year.
"It's a good organization the way it is," he said. "But as with any organization, there is always room for improvement."
"I would like to work on increasing our accountability back to the constituents, the citizens. And work on new innovative enforcement programs, geared not so much toward heavy enforcement but to enforcement that will impact accident areas."
He said increased patrols along dangerous Highway 95A, between Fernley and Fallon, is similar to changes he will be considering. He also said he will be taking a hard look at hiring and at his personnel's background, and that he wants to work at breaking down the differences between the divisions of public safety.
"In the past, we've operated as a loose confederacy of law enforcement agencies. What we need to do now is look to being one agency and being units within that agency with a lot more cooperation between units. That's not to say that there hasn't been cooperation, but I want to increase that in ways that further public safety."
One way, he said, is to better use experts within the divisions.
Rather than bringing in experts from outside for training, Hosmer said he would rather train one person and then make them responsible for bringing others up to speed.
"We're doing this full time," he said. "We have experts within the agency. Let's use those experts within NDI, NHP. When we send someone to become an accident reconstruction expert, they should be tasked when they return to the agency with instructing other people to be accident reconstructionists. We don't have to send everybody out."