“How many days left Sarg?”
The Carson City Sheriff’s deputies sit around the long tables in the station’s briefing room as their swing shift supervisor writes a large “T-” on the white board. The unit is counting the days until Sgt. Scott McDaniel retires from the department.
McDaniel is leaving at the end of the year, after serving 35 years in Nevada law enforcement, with 13 years in Carson City.
“I have mixed feelings about retiring,” McDaniel said. “I love what I do, but there is also a time to move on and move forward to another chapter and it creates an opportunity to advance. It is still fun, but I have to be realistic; I want to spend time with my wife and be able to do stuff together.”
In his 35 years, McDaniel has served nearly every position one can in law enforcement: Tri-Net, Detention and Patrol sergeant, ARID instructor, Motors supervisor, D.A.R.E coordinator, Field Training Officer and more. Most recently, McDaniel was in charge of traffic management and the Motors Unit. He even won Joining Forces Coordinator of the Year this year for his work with the traffic education program.
McDaniel started his decades long career in his early 20s. He had been working at the Nevada Department of Corrections when he decided to become a Reserve Deputy with Carson City. It was actually Undersheriff Steve Albertsen who made McDaniel realize he wanted to be a police officer. McDaniel would ride with Albertsen, who was a deputy at the time, and Albertsen helped him realize his passion was in law enforcement.
“He was the one who got me interested (in law enforcement),” McDaniel said. “It was the way he treated people and his enthusiasm for the job.”
“I just kind of saw what (law enforcement) is like and decided to check it out and after riding with Albertsen several times, I thought ‘This is what I want to do.’”
After McDaniel went to the POST academy, he got a job in Lander County. It was there he learned valuable skills that made him the officer he was.
“It was where I learned to talk to people and you are just doing it on your own because when your nearest back up is 75 to 100 miles away, you learn to talk to people (to diffuse a situation),” McDaniel said.
Lander County was also where McDaniel helped set up the first D.A.R.E. program in the state.
McDaniel stayed there for several years before transferring to Elko, then back to his hometown of Carson City under Sheriff Ken Furlong’s administration.
Through all the work he has done, McDaniel said his favorite assignment was working on the Motors and Traffic Management Unit in Carson City. Under this position, McDaniel was in charge of coordinating the deputies as well as public education of traffic safety.
“I am most proud of the Motors Unit, they are a great team, great guys,” McDaniel said. “...I got lots of positive feedback for what I was writing (to the public in press releases) and I am going to miss that: getting the message out to look out for each other and take care of each other because it can be quite dangerous.”
“The best really was motors and the PR work because I really loved doing it. I got to meet great people from across the country, meet the public and resolve issues so it was probably my favorite thing.”
Though, he said he will miss everyone in the department.
“I really will miss every officer, including all the other division that I have worked with,” McDaniel said. “It is just a great group of people ( at the Sheriff’s Office).”
McDaniel will be missed in the department by his fellow officers.
“Scott has done an excellent job for many years for us and we are very proud of him,” said Furlong. “It is a very sad thing, but I am more enthusiastic for him because he did 35 years and there comes a time when you have done your duty to your community and your country. He has earned every right to retire.”
McDaniel has enjoyed the last 35 years, and despite being in pursuits, having bullets whiz by his head and being in accidents, he said there was never a time where he didn’t want to be in this career.
“Anything you can think of, I have come across,” McDaniel said. “It is a dangerous career.”
“I never thought ‘why am I doing this job?’ With his job you either have it in your blood or under your skin or you don’t. If you ask any cop why they do this and they really don’t know, it is just something you do. We don’t have an explanation, we just enjoy it.”
The retirement is bittersweet — while he’s excited for what’s next, he will miss working with his fellow officers and interacting with the public. “I hope the officers and public feel that I have treated them fairly. My thing is that officers should treat everyone with dignity and respect,” McDaniel said. “...We are so fortunate to have a community that supports us and I remind my guys of that every day because we appreciate it.”
While he doesn’t quite know what’s next for him, McDaniel said he’s excited to finally be able to slow down for a little while.
“I am excited for rest and relaxation before the next chapter,” McDaniel said. “I don’t know what I will do. I am not typically a person that can just sit around, but I am not sure, I have a lot of things I can do still.”
As he stands at the front of the briefing room, addressing his six swing shift deputies, they ask him to reconsider his retirement plan and stay with the department. But instead, McDaniel wishes his men well on the streets and utters his infamous, briefing wrap-up catchphrase for one of the last times:
“Let’s hit it and see what you come up with.”