Lyon sheriff candidates describe their goals for department
Appeal Staff Writer
DAYTON – Three of the four candidates running for Lyon County Sheriff took part in a forum Friday hosted by the Republican Men’s Club.
Candidates Charlie Duke, Ron John and Allen Veil spoke before an audience of 30 at the event moderated by Don Dallas, club chairman. Candidate Bob Kahn was unable to attend due to work, Dallas said.
Duke, a retired sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department, laid out some of his goals if elected sheriff.
He said he would establish community-based policing, keep track of the county’s 155 sex offenders, work on department morale and retention, and put a stop to Lyon County’s 24 percent crime increase.
“There is no community-based policing in Lyon County,” Duke said, noting there are signs for a Neighborhood Watch program that no longer exists. “The sheriff and the administration have been ghosts.”
Veil, a captain of the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department, disagreed with Duke’s assertion that there was a 24 percent increase in crime.
He said that in 2000, Lyon County reported 796 crimes to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program within the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 2004, 944 crimes were reported.
“But the population also went up by 22 percent, which means the crime rate actually dropped by 3 percent,” he said. “I guess it depends on what statistics you look at.”
Veil, a 24-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, said fighting methamphetamine would be his main goal. As sheriff, he said, he would increase the narcotics investigation division – which he took part in creating – and increase the detective division.
“Eighty percent of our property crimes are directly related to methamphetamine,” he said.
John, a former sheriff-elect and police chief in Washington and a former officer with Carson City and the Capitol Police, said his goals would be to target gangs and narcotics.
“My personal philosophy is don’t do drugs here. If I catch you, we will take your money, we will take your drugs, we will take your property and use it against you,” he said.
When the floor was opened up to questions, Tom Snodgrass, a member of Lyon County Citizen’s for Responsible Law Enforcement took the opportunity to question John on his history in Washington.
Snodgrass asked John about allegations that when he was police chief in Sedro-Wooley, Wash., he mismanaged department funds, taped phone conversations, harassed citizens, discriminated against women and when asked to resign he took a six-month leave claiming “job stress.”
John, when he introduced himself to the group, said he had “lost” his job.
“And if that’s never happened to you, it’s a pretty humbling experience.”
Snodgrass confronted John with the fact that he was fired. He also cited several articles in the Skagit Valley Harold from 1991 to 1992 which he claimed supported the allegations.
“In 1991 the department was fragmented. We had a new mayor and a new city manager. The fire chief lost his job and the city manager lost his job,” he said. “I refused to take a $20,000 severance pay, and I did take the heat for it, and I did lose my job.”
John said the sexual discrimination charge came about because a female deputy who was pregnant was put on light duty, and she requested she be able to serve warrants which John denied. He said he was exonerated of the allegation.
He said the taping incident was when a dispatcher taped two calls and one of them involved inappropriate behavior on the part of an officer. John wanted to use the taping in a hearing with the officer, but was not allowed.
“I would not have been a chief for 14 years, and I would not have been hired by Carson City and I would not have been hired by the Capitol Police if I had numerous, numerous violations,” he said. “Having had to experience that probably made me a better person.”
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