Sheriff candidates: we'll fix problems

Candidates for Carson City sheriff say issues leading to the suggestion of an overview committee would be resolved if any of them is elected sheriff.

Complaints about the inaccessibility of Sheriff Rod Banister and low morale among sheriff's deputies prompted the group, which every two years reviews the city's operating charter, to consider establishment of a committee of Carson residents who would oversee management decisions of the Sheriff's Department.

State law provides for an oversight committee made up of law enforcement officials. Charter committee members, however, said they prefer it be composed of residents without any specific affiliation.

Candidate Ken Furlong said because Banister isn't running for re-election, the issues with his department and management will leave with him. Furlong said the charter review committee initially wanted to eliminate the sheriff's position and allow city supervisors to appoint a police chief -- a move he opposed.

He agreed the Sheriff's Department has had problems, but they are in the past and the city is looking to a new sheriff next year.

"Those concerns would not be a concern if I was elected," Furlong said. "The expressed problems are my primary focus. Being available to the community on a full-time basis, that's my commitment. If it involves community involvement, it falls in line with what I intend to do."

Candidate Bob Guimont said he would support an overview committee as long as its members were trained in law enforcement.

"Right now the main complaint as far as (appointing) a civilian review board is that the sheriff is unavailable, not doing his job, not showing up. That's what people are saying," Guimont said. "That's why I say give the next sheriff, myself or whoever is elected, six months to see if he's taking care of the community. Maybe he'll be in a position where it isn't needed."

Candidate Wayne Fazzino said he would need to better understand the logistics of what the committee would do, but said "if you have nothing to hide, then something like that would not be a problem."

"There are obviously problems," he said. "But with the right person in office, I don't think (a committee) will be needed."

Candidate Richard Mendoza said he wouldn't have a problem with an oversight committee "as long as they worked with us, not against us."

"I'm a person of my word. If they want to check up on me and tell citizens you're getting what you paid for, I have no problem with that," Mendoza said.

A phone call to sheriff candidate Scott Burau wasn't returned Tuesday.


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