I have read several letters relating to the upcoming Douglas County election for sheriff. With three candidates, we need to carefully assess who will be best for our community, because the position is critical to the direction, effort and attitude our sheriff’s department will have.
I believe I am as qualified as anyone in the Valley to evaluate the candidates. I spent more than 40 years in Southern California law enforcement, and have lived in Gardnerville now for 11 years. I was with the LAPD for 34 years, retiring as chief of police, and was chief of the Los Angeles County police for five years. I held the rank of captain or above for the last 29 years of my career.
So, what is my professional take on the upcoming election? I absolutely do not believe we need a change in leadership on our sheriff’s department. Change should only be made at the top level when the organization is not functioning well, is lacking leadership and direction or is violating the trust we as citizens are owed. None of these are a factor in Douglas County.
We have an excellent department, well led by a dedicated sheriff, a quality staff, with responsive, responsible supervisors and deputies.
Change for the sake of change is seldom a success, especially in law enforcement. Change leads to confusion and paralysis when new leaders institute change especially for change’s sake. Everyone from the newest deputy to the command staff is impacted and seldom for the better. With a change at the top, everyone holds back to see where the organization is going. None of this benefits the community. If we don’t need change, why would we replace the proven party?
When you evaluate the two challengers and compare their leadership and management experience against our incumbent sheriff, they both come up wanting. It is not just the lack of leadership, which calls the two challenger’s abilities into question, but more importantly, why do we need change right now? Our sheriff’s department has not been performing poorly, or not doing its job, nor treating the public badly. Quite the opposite, there have been no cases of corruption or bad behavior, no jail incident which have called into questions the supervision of the deputies, no heavy handed issues, just good police work done by competent, qualified employees.
Now is not the time to court change at the top. Now is the time to tell Sheriff Ron Pierini by our vote, that we support what he is doing, how he is doing it, and tell him we want him to continue his leadership of the department because we like his dedication, attention to duty, and what he personally represents. He knows our community and is proactively addressing our community concerns, which are crime, drugs, gangs, traffic, and quality of life issues. Please consider the consequences of making a change merely because two people from the outside are telling us they think we need a new face as sheriff.