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Trotter, Horsley face off

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com

In less than one month, residents of Churchill County will take to the polls to elect their sheriff.

Incumbent Ben Trotter and challenger Jay Horsley are competing for the top law enforcement seat in the county. Both have been ingrained with local law enforcement for more than 18 years, but only one will be elected on Nov. 4.

The LVN sent questionnaires to each candidate to explain their background, experience, issues facing the department and why voters should choose either Trotter or Horsley.

What is the each candidate’s background and how does it qualify them for the position?

Trotter holds two associate degrees (general studies and criminal justice), one bachelor’s (finance) and masters (business administration) and previously worked for the Fallon Police Department for 15 years before being elected sheriff in 2010.

He was a detective, field training officer and sergeant with the FPD.

The incumbent is also involved with community organizations such as the Lions, Eagles, Elks and Rotary clubs.

Horsley, meanwhile, has 24 years of law enforcement experience, 22 with the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office including 17 as a supervisor (he was a former captain) and five years as an administrator.

His responsibilities with the CCSO include supervision of “virtually every division and special assignment” and understands the inner workings, budgets, policies, procedures and responsibility to the public.

What are the most important issues that you would address?

Trotter said a priority if elected to a second term is to “see a new jail facility come to fruition.” The need for a new jail has been the topic of conversation for years among county leaders, but Trotter said a new, larger facility would provide better safety for his staff and inmates.

In addition, Trotter said he plans to research and evaluate a “mass-calling system” to distribute throughout the county. He also said the reserve-deputy program has logged 2,976 hours, which totals $61,067 in wages if those volunteers were paid as deputies (the are not paid).

Horsley, meanwhile, said public safety and public trust are his two most important issues.

“I will increase the quality of work and work ethic in the Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “I will increase accountability to the public and therefore, increase the public’s trust in this agency.”

Why should voters choose you?

Trotter said he is more qualified based on his leadership and has “kept my word on all of my campaign promises from the 2010 campaign.”

He added his leadership is proven at the local and state level, which has led to an endorsement from the Sheriff’s Deputies Association. In addition, his financial prowess with the office’s budget, forging relationships with other agencies and his education credentials.

“I stepped up in 2010,” Trotter said. “I am asking for your vote because we at the sheriff’s office have seen great progress in our focus, direction and quality of work this past term and we are excited about continuing to make our sheriff’s office and our community better places to work and live.”

Horsley, meanwhile, said has more total experience as a supervisor and managing an agency than Trotter. He added serving a community is the first job of the sheriff and the limited resources should be focused “on solving local issues.”

In addition, Horsley said he does not look for blame or point out problems with the department.

“I look for solutions and concentrate on fixing problems,” he added. “I have proven myself to be a good leader in times of major incidents as well as day-to-day operations. My experience and proven leadership are elements in the commitment that I pledge to the public as sheriff.”

How do you push your platform?

Their public platform’s to deliver their messages are similar. Each has a website (see breakout), social media accounts, have done door-to-door outreach and advertising.