Another Opinion: Name freeway after Deputy Carl Howell

We think Carson City resident Steven David’s idea to name the Carson City Freeway after Deputy Carl Howell. It would be an excellent way to honor the deputy who gave his life in the line of duty on Aug. 15.

Howell’s sacrifice during a domestic battery call on Aug. 15 was an example of how one good man can prevent a greater tragedy.

“Not only was he a local deputy, but he is and will always be a U. S. Marine,” David wrote. “Both of these careers were volunteered for. This man was a great American who was willing to stand up for the people of our town as well as the people of the world.”

There’s precedent for naming a state highway after a fallen officer.

Nevada State Trooper Gary Gifford was shot down while trying to stop a bank robbery suspect on Highway 50 at Cave Rock on Oct. 14, 1975.

Gifford, an Incline Village resident, had briefly been chief of the Fallon Police Department. He was the first Nevada Highway Patrol trooper to be killed in the line of duty.

There are only a handful of Nevada highways named after people, including highway worker Patrick Daly, whose name also appears along Highway 50.

We absolutely agree with David that Howell is the best example of Nevada law enforcement, as well as the U. S. Marine Corps, and is more than deserving of the honor being one of the few Nevadans to be remembered this way.

We call on Gov. Sandoval and the Nevada Department of Transportation to begin the process to have the Carson City Freeway be named after the brave Carson City deputy.

* * * * *

This was the first time in history either Carson City or Douglas County lost a law enforcement officer to gunfire in the line of duty.

Carson City Deputy Carl Howell died from gunshot fire after responding to a domestic battery call early Saturday morning. He was able to return fire and kill his assailant.

The only other law enforcement officer in either jurisdiction who was killed in the line of duty at the hands of a perpetrator died before Nevada became a state.

That officer was John L. Blackburn, who was stabbed to death November 1861. According to Carson Valley historian and former Douglas lawman Bob Ellison, Blackburn tried to shoot his assailant, but his friends held his gun hand in an effort to prevent a confrontation. Blackburn’s assailant stabbed him repeatedly and was able to escape. He was later killed by someone else he’d threatened, according to Ellison.

This means law enforcement officers in both Douglas and Carson City have been able to perform their duties for 165 years without losing an officer to gunfire.

That’s not to say we haven’t had officers shot during that time. We can name a handful of Douglas officers who’ve been injured in the line of duty during shoot-outs and we’re certain there have been instances in Carson City.

But throughout the years of the Wild West, all during the Depression (when bank robber Baby Face Nelson actually stayed in Douglas County in 1934), and through the turbulent 1960s, no officer of the law in either jurisdiction was killed by gunfire.

It’s a sad testament to our times this streak ended now in one of our communities.

These editorials appeared in the Nevada Appeal and Record Courier.


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