Carson City Sheriff candidate says he’ll benefit from past troubles
Candidate filing for Nevada elections opens Monday
An announced candidate for the Carson City Sheriff’s race has had run-ins with law enforcement which, he said, would help him as sheriff.
Lorne Houle said in January he would challenge Sheriff Ken Furlong in this year’s election. Candidates can begin officially filing Monday. The filing period runs through March 16.
Records obtained from the Carson City Courthouse show Houle has been arrested at least twice dating back to 2004 in Nevada.
“I believe in honesty; if I am not honest then I don’t expect the people to respect that,” Houle said. “I have made mistakes but I am past that now… it shows I’m one of the people and people mess up. Just because someone has been arrested doesn’t mean they can’t make a difference in the community.”
Houle was arrested in 2004 for felony assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly attempting to run over his military recruiter with his vehicle. Houle denies the allegation, stating the incident was a misunderstanding and the victim, Sgt. Shawn Chaufty, had attempted to get into his vehicle via the sunroof and Houle got scared and drove away.
Chaufty said he was the one who signed Houle into the Marines and he had seen Houle in Carson City after he should have been at Camp Pendleton, Calif., attending boot camp, arrest records show.
“I was going through Boomtown and I look over and, lo and behold, in the truck next to me was Houle,” the police report stated Chaufty said. “He saw me and bolted. (Later) I pulled into the 7-11 in Carson to get a drink and then he pulled in next to me. I went out to stop him and went behind his vehicle and he wasn’t going to stop.”
The police report said, “As the victim walked toward Houle, Houle drove toward the victim. The victim got out of the way of the vehicle and he went behind his vehicle. Houle again drove toward the victim at a high rate of speed, nearly hitting him with the vehicle.”
According to reports, Houle was apprehended Oct. 4, 2004, at 8:36 p.m., when Chaufty received a tip to his location, three days after the alleged assault. Deputies responded to reports of a fight near the 2200 block of Michael Drive where Chaufty said he had pinned Houle to the ground while a coworker called 911, records show.
While in jail on the assault charge, Houle passed the military’s 30-day desertion standard, the assault charge was eventually dismissed and he was transported to Camp Pendleton.
Houle said he had left camp because his mother needed a kidney procedure and he had leave approval from the gunnery sergeant, but when the time came to leave, his first sergeant wouldn’t allow him.
“He wouldn’t let me go and I was scared for my mom… I wasn’t deploying, I had no scheduled training, so I left,” Houle said in January. “It was a dumb mistake.”
Houle served four years in the Marines, as an E4 military police officer.
He also was contacted by law enforcement on New Year’s Eve 2010 and deputies suspected him of impersonating an officer. According to reports, a sergeant saw a Chevy Impala — which appeared to be an old Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle with spotlights and pushbar — tailgating another vehicle near Division and Robinson streets.
“The Chevy Impala then turned on to southbound Division from the area of Spear accelerating quickly, again catching up to the first vehicle,” the report said. “… the Impala had to slow down and began braking abruptly, again tailgating the first vehicle with only about five feet or less of room between the vehicles.”
The report said Houle told officers the vehicle had cut him off and that was the reason he was following closely. The sergeant who stopped Houle asked if he was trying to impersonate a law enforcement officer and, the report said, “he did not deny that, however stated he had been a previous law enforcement officer in the military and his instincts took over.”
Houle disputed the citation and was found guilty of speeding, driving without a valid license, following too closely and two counts of criminal contempt. He served one day in jail.
“I was at a point in my life where I used to not like law enforcement so much,” Houle told the Appeal recently. “I respect them now. It was because I didn’t understand them. As a child I didn’t take well to authority, but the Marines changed that.”
Houle said he thinks his record is actually an advantage for him in the sheriff’s race.
“I have been involved in the justice system on the other side of the fence,” Houle said. “Not a lot of people in law enforcement get to be on both sides of the fence. It is beneficial that I was, because I have the opportunity to say I was there before and I was involved in the system and it didn’t work for me to meet society’s standards. It gives me an insight to how we can keep people from being repeat offenders.
“I have seen both sides. I am not proud, but I am moving forward. I woke up one day and said I have to stop but it wasn’t because of the system. It can be beneficial to use my experiences.”