New police captain encourages applicants
Kris Alexander. a new captain at Fallon Police Department, is leading the Support Services Division and continuing his passion for public service that took hold at age 14.
He supervises Community Service Officers (Animal Control), Communications (Dispatch), Investigations (Detective Division) and Police Service Assistants, reporting to the chief of police along with a fellow captain who runs the Patrol Division.
“I started as a fire department Explorer when I was in high school,” he said, referring to the youth program affiliated with the Boys Scouts of America, and added he became a volunteer firefighter when he was 18.
Alexander is from a Navy family who was stationed at Naval Air Station Fallon after he graduated from high school in Washington. At NAS Fallon he served as a firefighter for a year in his early 20s and meanwhile became a reserve police officer. At 22, he was hired full time by the police department and entered the police academy in 1998 before starting his patrol career.
He also served on the North Central Narcotics Drug Task Force and as the school resource officer to Churchill County School District before being promoted to a patrol supervisor position as sergeant. In December, the city council and mayor confirmed Alexander as the captain to replace the retiring Verne Ulrich.
“My biggest goal is just to remain professional, stay professional and always be professional,” he said.
Being a few weeks into the role, he said smiling he wants to get his feet wet before jumping into anything too dramatic.
“Fortunately, we have excellent people in place already at the levels below me so everything runs fairly well,” he said.
He did describe how he would love to see more local people hired. He explained a career in law enforcement only requires a high school diploma or equivalent, a background check and common sense. He said he’s never really heard of a job where one can essentially be hired off the street with no education and make $50,000 a year.
“Essentially we hire you and pay you to send you to the police academy, and pay you to learn, and pay you to get out on field training,” he said. “Stay clean, stay focused and apply when you’re 21,” he encouraged.
He said there were very few applicants during the last open recruitment.
“And I know there are more qualified people in the community, he added.”
He mentioned the industry’s bad press and said he understands the fear.
“In a small town, and I’ve worked here for almost 20 years, I don’t think we have very many true, true bad guys,” he said.
Alexander said people rush to judgment of cops.
“Everybody wants to judge us on 20 seconds of video clip, and they don’t see the totality of the circumstances,” he said. “But if you mess up and you go to court, they want you to have the benefit, but they don’t give the cops the benefit of the doubt … We all want to go home safe. I want to see my daughter’s little blonde face at the end of the day.”
He said he hopes the climate will change, and the department will be able to recruit more people.
Alexander is also a big-time motorcycle guy, he said. He often joins his sister, brother-in-law and some buddies on safe-and-sober rides through the western states with his Harley-Davidson. He said he appreciates Fallon’s typical weather.
“Whether it’s hot or cold here, it’s usually clear,” he said.
Alexander’s daughter, Sophia, is 5 years old.
“Really the main reason I wanted to be a captain was so I could spend more time with my daughter,” he said, emphasizing how he spent many years working swing and grave shifts as well as rotating days off. “I never had a set schedule with my daughter and that was my biggest reason for wanting to put in for the captain’s job.”