More public involvement in sheriff's office

One of the themes of the five-way race for Carson City sheriff is accountability to the public, which can take on many forms ranging from access to the sheriff himself to how deputies treat residents in day-to-day encounters.

The city's Charter Review Committee attempted to address the issue head-on by calling for a citizens commission to oversee the Sheriff's Department.

Members see it as a way to solve some of the frustrations between the department and the citizenry it serves, and to shed some light on the department's inner workings.

Carson City supervisors last week let the idea die without taking action. Part of the reason may be the trust they're placing in a new sheriff, whomever it may be, to carry through on campaign promises. It's something to keep in mind not just in the voting booth, but for the next four years.

We like many of the ideas being put forth by candidates to reach out to the community. Whether it be a citizens academy, more use of volunteers, revitalization of programs involving kids and seniors, or simply some reorganization that gives deputies more time in neighborhoods -- the department could use them all.

In good times or bad, the better Carson City residents understand how the Sheriff's Department operates -- and, more important, deputies and administrators understand the needs of residents -- the closer they are able to work together.

In fact, there is nothing preventing the new sheriff from setting up his own advisory board to get some fresh outside perspective on the job he's doing.

In the meantime, we'll count on the Charter Review Committee to keep raising the idea of a citizens commission every year or two. It'll be a good reminder of whether the new sheriff's good intentions ever became reality.


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