Brian Sandford: Sheriff’s Office ride-along shows a different side of Carson City |

Brian Sandford: Sheriff’s Office ride-along shows a different side of Carson City

Brian Sandford

Carson City looks different from inside a Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle.

No, I didn’t manage to get myself arrested. Among the requirements to participate in the Carson City Chamber Leadership Institute are doing a ride-along with a law enforcement officer and attending a public meeting — the latter of which I did Thursday morning when I saw our Board of Supervisors in action.

My driver for the ride-along was Sgt. Scott McDaniel, a genial department veteran who showed me some of Carson’s less-traveled areas and offered a running commentary on the history of what we were seeing. We visited a couple of parts of town that I hadn’t known existed, and we headed all the way up Old Clear Creek Road to where it links with U.S. Highway 50 West as McDaniel explained that the route once led all the way to Lake Tahoe.

Periodically, McDaniel would lift his patrol unit radio to his mouth and ask a dispatcher to run a car’s license plate. I asked how he decided which cars to check on, and he replied that he learned years ago that in law enforcement, it’s wise to follow one’s instincts. We didn’t pull anyone over, but we did respond after a young man allegedly swiped a pair of sunglasses at Smith’s.

The ride-along spawned several story ideas. I hope you’ll read soon in the Appeal about the eclectically decorated house in North Carson that features, among other things, the end of an airplane sticking out from its roof, as well as the hundreds of black rabbits hopping around a nearby neighborhood.

McDaniel was taking me back to the Sheriff’s Office after an unusually quiet couple of hours when we heard a report of a crash near U.S. Highway 50 East and Interstate 580. We cruised over there, and I feared the worst when I saw the damage. Glass littered the pavement, and both cars were severely mangled.

Fortunately — and amazingly — all people involved were OK. Neither driver was impaired; one had just been fooled by a yellow arrow. McDaniel and I stayed on the scene about 40 minutes, and he invited me to come on another ride-along sometime. Given how fascinating and fruitful this one was, I’m going to take him up on it.

Any resident can sign up for a ride-along; you just need to pass a background check. To fill out an application, see someone at the front desk at the Sheriff’s Office during business hours. You’ll see your city in a new and fascinating way.

Editor Brian Sandford can be reached at