Furlong lauded for openness, accessibility after IHOP shooting
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong will be recognized by public relations specialists next month for his availability and openness during the IHOP shooting.
Furlong will receive the Mark Twain Community Service Award at the Silver Spike Awards banquet on Nov. 17 in Reno hosted by the Public Relations Society of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter.
On Sept. 6, a gunman opened fire in and outside the Carson City IHOP, killing four diners and injuring seven others before turning the gun on himself.
In the aftermath, Furlong made himself available to the news media at all hours. He also called on the Nevada Highway Patrol’s spokesman, Trooper Chuck Allen, to help assemble a team to disseminate information on the incident, which garnered international attention.
The group’s nomination letter said Furlong “was accessible, worked long hours and, most importantly, was humane and caring during the incident. He was not polished, he did not stick to ‘talking points,’ but he evoked a voice of compassion, accuracy and wisdom while handling the press and the people of Carson City.” The letter was written by Bob Conrad, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and Bethany Drysdale of the Nevada Commission on Tourism.
Furlong said he was honored by the award.
“It’s always been my policy to be open with this community, because I believe the strength of this department lies in the community,” he said.
“The well-being of the people at home on the day of the IHOP shooting was as central to my mind as those who were there. I wanted people to know as rapidly as possible that people were not in danger. I did everything I could that day to reassure people what exactly was going on and what we were doing about it.”