Ken Sandage named Carson City undersheriff
One sign of a healthy public safety agency is the ability to adjust — to keep striving forward and keep bringing in new ideas. With the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, it’s continuing forward with the promotion of Ken Sandage to undersheriff.
The news comes after the retirement announcement of current Undersheriff Steve Albertsen earlier this month. Sandage is the current assistant sheriff for Carson City, but will be sworn in as undersheriff by the end of the year.
“I feel excited and honored to be selected as the new undersheriff,” Sandage said. “It has lots of responsibilities and I think I can use my experience, education and training to carry out the vision of this department. It is an honor for sure.”
Sandage started his law enforcement career with Carson City back in 1991, after a four-year career in the Air Force. Joining as a detention deputy, Sandage worked his way through the ranks to patrol, detectives, a sergeant position in 1998, lieutenant in 2003 and finally captain in 2004 after attending the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. He was promoted to assistant sheriff in 2014 where he oversaw the operations division, investigation, patrol, school resource officers, motors unit, K9 unit, forensics and more.
“Since my early career I wanted to not be happy with the status quo,” Sandage said. “It is in my nature to want to promote, to accept more responsibility and challenges, that is where my talent is at.”
Sandage said he’s looking forward to enacting that same philosophy in the department so his staff are ready for whatever may be thrown at them.
“I am most looking forward to leading the department in the challenges we face as a community,” Sandage said. “Every day you read something awful that has happened, whether it is a school shooting or an act of evil in a church, I think as a leader you have to embrace those challenges and make sure people are properly trained and equipped properly and mentally ready to face those threats.
“I want to keep the momentum going, and not get complacent because the crime rates are down and don’t get complacent because we haven’t had a situation like IHOP. We have to continue to excel with leadership, education, and engagement with the community to make this a better place to live.”
Sandage started his career in law enforcement solely because of its nobility.
“When I was a teen I knew I wanted to be in a profession where I took pride in my work, that dressed in the uniform with pride,” Sandage said. “It just happened when I was stationed at my last base and some reservists on base were officers and I was impressed after they talked to me about what they did on duty and I wanted to be a part of an organization that controlled the chaos at times.”
The position of undersheriff is an appointed position, regulated by the state Legislature. The acting sheriff has the appointing authority, meaning the position doesn’t have to be approved by the board of supervisors beforehand.
Sandage said he hopes to use the position to continue to build community engagement, especially with youth.
“I want to build that alliance with other agencies, our community and the youth in this town — especially with the youth because I feel like they should know they have a huge voice and a huge say in the quality of life and how this town should be,” Sandage said.
Sheriff Ken Furlong said Sandage’s promotion is going to be great for the department and community.
“Each person on our executive staff brings unique things,” Furlong said. “Kenny’s leadership and supervisory capacity has been throughout this department. For the most part everyone here knows who he is, what his expectations are and how he operates and that was a critical decision point for me because we want to do good things in this community and his vision lines with mine and the ability to feed off each other’s strengths makes him the best person for this job.
“He is unquestionably a high expectations manager and I like that feature because it serves the community best.”
Furlong said one of the beneficial things about Sandage in the undersheriff spot is while they share the same common goal; they don’t always agree, which is healthy in a management position.
“I am very proud of him, he has an amazing institutional and legal memory and I saw that in him 15 years ago,” Furlong said. “While we don’t always agree, I think that’s one of the benefits to a chief executive officer but in the end we stand together and always have.”
The position was open to internal and external applicants; however, Furlong said ultimately it was Sandage who proved to be the best fit out of both those categories.
“This was a search for the best to lead this organization,” Furlong said. “I wanted qualities of leadership, a strong team player, meticulous attention to detail, not accepting what is on the surface and striving for better.”
And the Louisiana native has never accepted what’s on the surface. It took him several attempts before he was hired with Carson City.
“I was working construction in Reno (after I got out of the military) and I just kept calling the recruiter asking them for updates and I think eventually they just wanted to give me a shot,” Sandage said.
“That’s what I would tell people — just stick in there and the opportunity will come because I finally got my opportunity and the rest was history.”