Gehman retires as Fallon’s police chief

City interviews candidates to replace popular lawman

Retired Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman shares a laugh with Mayor Ken Tedford at Gehman’s retirement party.

Retired Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman shares a laugh with Mayor Ken Tedford at Gehman’s retirement party.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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Kevin Gehman said the 13 years he was Fallon’s police chief have gone by like the snap of a finger.
The City of Fallon recently held a luncheon for Gehman, who retired from his position. Many retired policemen also attended the luncheon along with city employees. The city is currently interviewing candidates to become the city’s next police chief.
Gehman, who grew up in western New York state, was hired in March 2008, a year after a storm dumped 7 feet of snow where he lived. Not to disappoint, the Nevada winters provided Gehman with a touch of home with record low temperatures in December 2009 and then snow and more snow in 2016 and 2017.
“I wasn’t prepared for that,” he said of the below-freezing temperatures.
As the longtime policeman looks back at his career in Fallon, he has a touch of sadness in his voice.
“For a police chief, it’s a long time (13) years) to hold that position,” he said. “This job is easily the highlight of my professional career.”

Steve Ranson / LVN
Retired Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman, left, holds a gift given to him by Sgt. John Reily, representing the police officers.

Gehman said both his and the city’s priority was to emphasize public safety in the community. He said the support from the city council was more than he could envision for the police department.
“He was the right man for the right position,” former mayor and Councilman Robert “Bob” Erickson said after Gehman announced his retirement.
Erickson, who was on the city council at the time of the hiring, said Gehman fit in well with the community, and he quickly saw the improvements implemented by the new chief.
“We’re going to miss a good person,” Erickson said.
Mayor Ken Tedford said he has not only lost a chief to retirement but also a very good friend.
“He was a very good chief of police for the citizens of Fallon,” Tedford said, adding Gehman was in a very important position that worked closely with the mayor.
Tedford said Gehman ensured the city’s safety and also wanted the best training and morale for the officers. Consequently, Tedford said Gehman brought high character and morals to his position. Tedford said he trusted Gehman completely on issues affecting the department and city. There were times, though, they disagreed.
“We did not agree on certain issues, but we always agreed to disagree,” Tedford said.
Tedford he will miss both Gehman and his wife Teresa, who was, at one time, a counselor for the Churchill County School District. Tedford said it’s difficult for the community to lose good people. The Gehmans have relocated to southern Alabama to be close to the Gulf of Mexico and family.
Gehman said he will miss the people he served and those he worked with in the law enforcement community. He also had contact with local agencies such as the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office, the Nevada Highway Patrol and the Fallon-Paiute Shoshone Tribe’s police department. During the recent time of anti-police sentiments in the country, Gehman said Fallon supports its law enforcement officers very well. Likewise, he said the officers and staff are very engaged with the community.

Steve Ranson / LVN
Teresa Gehman opens a package with Mayor Ken Tedford, right, and retired Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman.


“He was very approachable,” said Sgt. John Riley, the police department’s administrative sergeant.
Riley said Gehman instilled a family feeling within the ranks, and it showed through community surveys.
“We enjoyed 90- to 98% approval rates,” Riley said. “He was a good leader, and I learned a lot from him.”
The Fallon sergeant said Gehman believed in community policing, and with policies and procedures, officers had to the right to argue if something was not a good fit for the community.
The community is closer-knit than what Gehman envisioned in 2008 because his last job was in a geographical segment of western New York that had multiple police departments and a larger coverage area.
Gehman said he’s most proud of Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which first accredited the Fallon Police Department in 2012. Only the top 1 percent of law enforcement agencies in the U.S.
Based on independent assessors’ review of Fallon’s packet and interviews with department employees and community members, CALEA gave the police department an advanced certification for meeting 480 requirements. Gehman said CALEA evaluates departments on what constitutes today’s best practices for law enforcement.
“The accreditation makes policing a living document," he said. “Our policy is designed to be easily modified.”
Gehman said only 1% of the country’s law enforcement agencies are accredited, and the other department in Nevada receiving accreditation is in Henderson.
Gehman said FPD started the policy project from the beginning. From the research and final product, Gehman said, for example, the FPD purchased body cameras before the state mandated them. In Fallon’s division, 130 out of 130,000 departments have received accreditation.
During his tenure in Fallon, Gehman said the FPD dealt with different situations, which he said were handled professionally and with other agencies working side by side. He pointed to the fatal shooting of a church member in late July 2018. He said local agencies worked well together to apprehend the suspect and to keep the community informed.
An Amtrak passenger train crashed with a 2008 Peterbilt hauling two side-dump trailers on June 24, 2011, and claimed six lives. Just six weeks prior to the crash, the area’s first responders participated in a major drill to test the area’s response to a large tragedy.
“The fire department, the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office, the schools, the Navy, the hospital … if you talk about a community plan put in place, this is a prime example,” Gehman said.
Retired FPD Capt. Vern Ulrich said the certification program was intense, but procedures and other improvements occurred with the police department. Ulrich said more funding was available for equipment in the patrol cars and in the squad and interview rooms. He said accreditation helped improve the department.
After Gehman was hired, Ulrich said the new police chief was well received in the community.
“Overall, changes were accepted well in the community,” Ulrich said.

Steve Ranson / LVN file photo
CALEA Commissioner Richard Myers, left, and Executive Director Craig Hartley, right, recognize Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman and the Fallon Police Department in 2017 for achieving reaccreditation in meeting law enforcement standards.


Ulrich chuckles about how Gehman wanted to be part of the community after arriving in Fallon. During the annual Cowboy Fast Draw, Gehman competed in the celebrity fast draw and also talked Ulrich into competing. Gehman also thought it would be fun to ride a bull.
That raised Ulrich’s eyebrows.
After being prodded three or four times by Gehman, Ulrich said he could make it happen, and Gehman rode a bull in one of the local rodeos.
As Ulrich looks back at Gehman’s career, he said his friend always wanted to pitch in and help.
“He wasn’t afraid to join in and help the officers,” Ulrich recalled.


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