Cullen challenging Antinoro for Storey County Sheriff
After more than two decades in law enforcement, Carson City Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Cullen is looking to add some stars to his uniform.
Cullen is hoping to bring his law enforcement knowledge to Storey County by running for the Sheriff’s position.
“I like getting to meet the people in Virginia City and getting to know them and speaking to the officers there and I just felt like it was the right thing to do,” Cullen said. “I have a lot to offer, and I feel like I can bring a lot to the community.”
Cullen is running against embattled incumbent Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro and Bruce Clark. The top two advance to the November general election unless one receives more than 50 percent of the vote then that candidate is declared the winner.
He started his career in 1990 at the Nevada Department of Corrections after a friend suggested applying to an open position.
“I had this idea to be in law enforcement and that was a way to check it out and see what it was about,” Cullen said. “So I started to take classes too and learn more and more about it, there are so many things to do (in this field).”
Two years later, while still at the prison, he applied to become a Reserve Deputy in Carson.
“I just wanted to build on it, to do more and more,” Cullen said. “I still remember when I became a Reserve, I remember getting the packet from the front desk and I was so nervous. My dad had helped me buy my first uniforms and I just remember how proud of me he was. I was out here every weekend to ride and I loved it.”
It wasn’t long after that he became a full time deputy with Carson. And since being with Carson, he has held nearly every position available from detectives to Motors to SWAT commander to Field Training Officer to his current position as sergeant.
“I don’t have any regrets, I have done all I could do in this career and more,” Cullen said. “I never saw myself as a sergeant or in SWAT, I reached my goals and beyond, I don’t even have the words to describe it.”
At times, the accomplishments have paled in comparison to the purpose of a law enforcement officer.
“My favorite part about being in law enforcement I helping people, because sometimes even when you are arresting them, you can get them into programs for assistance,” Cullen said. “It all comes around the ability to help.”
“I have had good success in my career and have had people tell me I’ve inspired them to be cops, good cops and it makes me feel good.”
And he has seen it all in his career. He’s been in shootings, pursuits, and fights; he has almost been run over by gang members, he has been shot at and punched in the face by suspected murderers. But Cullen said he wouldn’t have traded his experiences for anything.
“It was a lot of training, I had some good luck and it was a good time,” Cullen said.
He said that he credits some of the success of his career to getting to spend his career in Carson.
“It was more than I expected and I don’t know if I could have had a better career anywhere else,” Cullen said. “I am honored to be at Carson City for my career.”
But, the father of three decided his next step in his career needed to help the citizens of Storey County.
“I want a better quality of service from the Sheriff’s Office so that it will help everyone,” Cullen said.
This will be Cullen’s first time running in an election, and while it has been a roller coaster of emotion, it has mostly been a positive experience.
“This election has been unlike anything I have ever experienced,” Cullen said. “I actually thought it was going to be more difficult. Some things have come easy because I like talking to people but the schedule is overwhelming, trying to do everything and get it done.”
“But it is exciting because it is new and I look forward for the next meeting, the next talk. It is a new adventure and I like that.”
For him, the election is about immersing himself into the Virginia City area and really becoming a part of the community. Cullen has lived in Northern Nevada nearly his whole life, graduating from Douglas High School and now living in Virginia City — his girlfriend even owns the Cigar Club on C Street.
“I immersed myself into Virginia City, it is fun there are great people and I really enjoy it,” Cullen said.
But, winning the election could be bittersweet.
“I will miss everyone I work with, it is something I think about,” Cullen said. “The camaraderie, the relationships and teamwork. We get things accomplished and it’s enjoyable, I enjoy coming to work and I will miss the people.”
Even though there’s a potential he will leave, he said he has received nothing but support from his coworkers.
“Every response has been positive, they are all excited for me they are rooting for me,” Cullen said. “They think I can make big changes and a new vision, they think I will do great.”
Becoming Sheriff would just add to Cullen’s decorated career and be another step in his quest to better his community.
“Sometimes you don’t know you were doing good until you look back at your career,” Cullen said. “It was fulfilling, as a deputy I didn’t see it, but I see it now.”
The primary election for Storey County will be held today.