Undersheriff with force for three decades
After 30 years with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Undersheriff Bob Rudnick said he would do it all again, without question. He knows retirement should be somewhere on the horizon, but not anytime soon.
“If I wasn’t happy in my job it would be an easy decision,” he said. “I have given it some thought, but as the end of the road approaches, I’m not looking forward to retirement.”
Cordial and upbeat, Rudnick sat behind a neat desk in the sheriff’s office recently to talk about his years on the force.
The professionalism of the people he works with, together with the outstanding support the department receives from the community, make this job tough to leave, he said.
The upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration will mark his official anniversary date and in 1975, Sgt. Jerry Maple showed him around the office. The evening was otherwise quiet, Rudnick said.
“A lot of people associate the New Year’s Eve celebration in Douglas County with Lake Tahoe, but it wasn’t a significant event in those days,” he said. “Just a handful of deputies worked in the casinos where most of the people stayed. I wasn’t one of them.”
Over the years, Rudnick said he developed a real appreciation for the people of Douglas County, characterizing them as genuine and very supportive.
“There are too many good people here to list,” he said.
One of the things that has profoundly impacted him, is watching the pain people are forced to endure after a serious crime, like murder or rape.
He said their pain continues years after the crime, and it may never be over for the family of the perpetrator.
“There are two sets of victims,” he said. “The first is the victim’s family and the victim, but the family of the perpetrator is also victimized.”
He has mixed feelings about growth in Douglas County. It brings in the needed revenues, but also increases demands on all county staff.
Traffic is a big challenge, one his staff deals with every day, he said.
“I remember when Aldo Biaggi’s milk delivery truck was the only one on the street,” he said. “Now, it takes three times as long to get from point A to point B.”
Rudnick, who grew up in Virginia City, said he wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.
“It was a small, very close-knit family community,” Rudnick said. “Everyone was always looking out for us kids and there was always something to do.”
After high school graduation in 1972, Rudnick attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where he earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice.
He rose through the ranks in Douglas County, serving as a deputy sheriff from 1975 to 1979, when he became an investigator. He was promoted to sergeant in July 1987 and lieutenant in May 1993, working primarily in the patrol and investigation divisions. In October of 1997 he was appointed chief deputy and in February 2004, he became undersheriff.
An avid outdoorsman and sportsman, Rudnick coaches youth sports and Little League baseball, something he attributes to those early days in Virginia City when he played on the town’s renowned basketball team.
Rudnick has been married to wife Denise for 20 years and together, they have three children. Timmy is 15 and Scott is 13.
Daughter Patty Brouhard, 29, teaches and coaches basketball in Virginia City.
“Bob is dedicated to the community,” said Sheriff Ron Pierini at a recent county commissioner meeting. “He has the highest ethics and he’s a great guy. He keeps us in line.
“I can’t thank him enough for being part of our administrative team. He has made our department what it is.”
n Susie Vasquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 211.