Swafford makes bid for DA seat in Storey County | NevadaAppeal.com

Swafford makes bid for DA seat in Storey County

by Susie Vasquez, Appeal Staff Writer

Virginia Highlands resident Harold Swafford, 63, is vying for Storey County district attorney, the job held by acting Deputy District Attorney Sharon Claassen.

Swafford and Claassen are the only candidates on the ballot for the post in the Nov. 5 election .

He said the office needs a good investigator more than a second attorney.

An investigator would provide more input for the district attorney in felony cases by gathering evidence.

“Right now, many of the felony charges brought through the District Attorney’s Office often can’t be sustained because the proper investigation isn’t done,” he said.

Swafford said the role of district attorney, and therefore the focus, differs from the sheriff’s office concerning any case and both need to be hands-on, in the field.

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“The police obtain a search warrant or arrest warrants for probable cause or reasonable suspicion,” he said. “The district attorney has to prove his case in court beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s a different focus and right now, proper investigations aren’t being done.”

He said Storey County is growing, bringing up a number of serious issues. Tahoe Reno Industrial Park in northeast Storey County is the largest in the United States and as it grows, Storey will face water, land and business problems.

The county approved a brothel in Storey County’s river corridor over the objections of big business, Swafford said.

He also points to operation of the Lockwood Dump, which he said has proven a real hardship on residents in the area.

“The facility isn’t being operated the way residents expected,” he said. “It generates revenue for county, but it’s created a lot of hardship, dust and noise.”

Swafford, who works out of his home office, said he enjoys practicing law.

“I’ll be the first one at work and the last one to leave,” he said. “I expect to put in a full day.”

From Michigan, Swafford holds a degree in business administration from the University of Nevada, Reno and a law degree from the University of Michigan. He has practiced law in Nevada for 29 years, five of those as a Nevada deputy attorney general. He has been involved in more than 60 jury trials in state and federal courts and represented Nevada for more than 20 years on Truckee River water-rights issues.

His wife Katie teaches at Virginia City Middle School. His two sons both attended Virginia City schools. They now attend UNR.

“Storey County is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and my family. It’s been a good life,” he said. “Both children are honor students at the university. The schools were small and my sons grew up in the country with recreation everywhere. We’ve truly enjoyed living in Storey County.”

Swafford spent five years with the Virginia Highlands Volunteer Fire Department and led the Architectural Committee. He has been a Little League baseball coach, a member of the North Reno Kiwanis and sings with two of barbershop quartet groups.