Carson City Sheriff: Furlong looks to continue programs, reduce crime

Seeking his third term in office, incumbent Sheriff Ken Furlong said people need only look at the progress made in the past eight years to know the city is on the right track.

"You can see on a daily basis that we have designed and built stronger teams addressing what I believe are the two major issues that the public sees today - drugs and gangs," said Furlong, 53. "Ours is a completely different platform than our opponent, because clearly we are following a path."

Since he was first elected in 2002, Furlong said, he has reinstated the DARE program in schools, created a Special Enforcement Team, begun frequent alcohol compliance checks and hosts alcohol server training, bolstered the K-9 unit, built up the reserve, Search and Rescue and Aerosquadron units, created Volunteers in Police Service, reinstated a cadet program, created an alternative juvenile crime review board and helped create a Tri-County Gang Taskforce.

What he sees as the mission for his next four years outside of maintaining a lower crime rate is to streamline the department's operations to make better use of the $15 million budget.

"We've had to make some very serious adjustments this summer as a result of budget cuts. We want to be able to continue services at no reduction to the community, while realizing we're not through this disaster yet. We could be faced with additional cuts in the coming years," he said.

"We have to continually look at what serves and be able to - with a real good level of understanding - know what services are necessary other than just surviving."

And while crime rates are going down across the country - state numbers indicate a 30-plus percent reduction - Furlong said that doesn't mean he or his officers will be complacent.

"I want to see us continue to drive crime down ... making the arrests, getting the prosecutions and getting the right people in jail," he said. "I want to see businesses safer in this community. And one way to do that is to get in front of that wave and stay in front of it. If you make one arrest on one burglary, you have statistically solved eight."

He said he also hopes to improve the sharing of information between Carson City and the surrounding counties, much like what is being done in the Tri-County Gang Taskforce, started by Furlong, Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini and Lyon County Sheriff Allen Veil.

"I believe that we have taken this department in the right direction by engaging our people into the community and bringing the community into this department," he said. "I don't want to give up ground and go back to the single-priority type of an organization. I think our priorities are much wider than our opponents and serve the community much better. We are going to continue to go in the direction we have and build an even better relationship than we have now in the community. I want the sheriff's department in this community to care about your stolen lampshade, as we do about his gang problem."

And while budget cuts and lost positions are forcing people to find a different way to serve, Furlong said he sees that as a challenge he's willing to take on.

"We have a difficult time meeting everyone's needs, but that does not mean you have to stand up, kick the chair, and say I'm not going to provide the service. That means you have to continuously be searching for ways to provide the service and that's what we do every day up here," he said.


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