YERINGTON -- Announcing his bid for re-election, incumbent Sid Smith accepts the challenge at least four opponents will offer in his effort to continue as Lyon County sheriff.
"The sheriff in Lyon County has run unopposed only four times since 1861, so I think competition goes with the job. I have been serving the people as sheriff for 10 years. They are either happy with what I have done or they are not," Smith said. "I expect a clean, issue-oriented campaign. The competition is good. The people need a choice."
Smith's challengers so far include Charlie Duke of Dayton, John Garrison of Silver Springs, Dave Gill of Silver Springs and Frank Pizzo of Yerington.
Appointed sheriff in the spring of 1992 following the death of Sheriff Jim Guerts, Smith was elected for a two-year term in a special election that November. He was re-elected to full terms in 1994 and 1998.
"I think I have done a good job and will run on my record; however, I still have things I want to do," Smith said.
Another four years would, he hopes, allow him to see long-range plans for an expanded jail-safety complex and implementation of an enhanced 911 emergency response system come to fruition.
How to maintain an acceptable level of service with a budget strained by the county's prolific growth and retaining quality people remain two of his greatest challenges.
"The Search and Rescue Team and the police reserve program are excellent examples of how the community can help, allowing our regular officers to attend to other duties," he said. "Quality of life alone is not going to keep our trained officers here. The last four years we have doubled our level of training, but we do lose them to better compensating agencies."
Smith said his department currently has two officers hired under the federally funded Police Corps program. The hiring agency gets a trained officer and $10,000 per year. The officer gets four years of college paid for and must agree to stay with the hiring agency for at least four years.
Citing accomplishments during his 10 years as sheriff, Smith said he is particularly proud of the reputation that has been established at the county jail.
"We have changed the whole philosophy at the jail. It is not inhumane or cruel, but is strict and very structured. Offenders do not look forward to serving time here, which is reflected, I think, in the decreased jail population over the past several years."
Born in Ely, Smith moved to Yerington at the age of 3 and is a graduate of Yerington High School. After serving nine years in the U.S. Navy, he returned to Nevada in 1981. Other than three years with the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, Smith's 20-year law enforcement career has been with Lyon County.
A Dayton resident, Smith is married and has two daughters, the oldest a junior at Arizona State University.