Letters for June 6, 2018
June 6, 2018
Editor's Note: Noon today is the deadline for all campaign-related letters to be published before Election Day.
I am Barbara Byington and I was Douglas County assessor from 1982 to 2002. I hired Doug Sonnemann, the current assessor and Dion Etchegoyhen when I was assessor. I was very impressed with the work ethic of both of them. I would like to make it clear that all state certified appraisers in the office appraise both personal (aircraft, business assets and manufactured housing) and real property (commercial, industrial and residential).
I was a member of the Nevada assessor's legislative committee for over 12 years and it is important that everyone understand that it is impossible to go to the legislature and simply get taxation law changed. It first needs to be approved by all 17 assessors offices and then by the senate and assembly.
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The assessor's office will soon be using a new computer program to do their appraisal work as the previous contractor is retiring. So everyone in the office will be learning all new computer programs.
I am backing Dion Etchegoyhen for Douglas County Assessor in the primary election on June 12th. I know her for a good work ethic, her experience and her general knowledge of the entire office and her exceptional personal and friendly attitude.
Handling suspect difficult
I, like many others, have become conditioned to the nasty and frequently misleading tactics used by people running for a political office. In many cases it's the supporters, not the candidates, that sling the mud. When I see something blatantly inaccurate it makes my blood boil, and such is the case with the accusations about Sheriff candidate Captain Dan Coverley "brutalizing" a handcuffed suspect 17 years ago. Many have said that he is seen on video choking a man who is already restrained. I have studied that video and would like to make a very salient point.
First of all, let me point out that a suspect who is cuffed can still inflict very serious injuries upon police officers. Kicking, biting and spitting are but a few of the things that can send a cop to the hospital. I still have a few marks from my badge-carrying days to bear witness to this. Furthermore, once a suspect is cuffed he or she can present quite a challenge if they tense-up or go completely limp when the officer is trying to get them from the ground into the transport unit. Our police are trained in a very valuable technique that forces compliance and leads to little or no injury. It's called "targeted pressure" and is incredibly effective. But in the heat of the moment many cops forget this and resort to pure strength to get a suspect to move. The video actually shows that Captain Coverley had the composure to use pressure point compliance, which is just the opposite of what many of his detractors are whining about.
Look closely at the video (just search YouTube for "Dan Coverley"). You will see that his hands are not wrapped around the suspect's neck. And, most importantly, you cannot see his thumbs. Why? Here's something you can do to figure this out. Put your thumbs on each side of your lower jaw (your mandible). Move back and forth until you feel a notch in your jaw. It's usually about an inch from where your jaw angles to the horizontal position. Once you've found the notch, roll your thumbs around the notch and push up toward your eyes. Feel that? It's called the hypoglossal nerve. Now push a little harder.
That's where Coverley's thumbs were. He was using the hypoglossal nerve pressure points to get the suspect to his feet. He could have tried to "muscle" the suspect to his feet by lifting up his cuffed hands and possibly dislocating his shoulder(s). But he chose the preferred and professional method. That's what a good cop does.
Anyone who understands the human anatomy and the concept of using pressure point compliance will clearly get this. Others will continue to say that Coverley was choking the guy.
Backing Duffy for sheriff
The misinformation, constant accusations and mud-slinging of this election is overwhelming. Let's talk facts! There are four sheriff candidates: some slinging mud harder than others, which seems to be directly correlated with that candidate's lack of character, qualification, or both. I am perplexed – why do folks frown on having a sheriff who has high-expectations for his deputies such as Joe Duffy? Shouldn't high-expectations be mandatory?
The Grand Jury report clearly stated the formula used for measuring citations was in place for years before Duffy became captain. He added colors for clarity, which seems reasonable. Sixteen citations a month is lat least one ticket a day. If each deputy can't ticket one vehicle a day or shift then we should be concerned. An email from Duffy was presented to the Grand Jury stating there was never a quota and deputies were given a discretionary opportunity to write tickets. Period. Both Undersheriff Howell and Sheriff Pierini stated during the investigation there was never a quota. Even more misleading — Brady cited in his radio ad the number of citations increased tremendously after Duffy became captain. Howell clearly stated the reason for the 2016 increase in citations was due to a grant DCSO received. This gave deputies the opportunity to work additional hours throughout the year. The math is clear. If you give 50 deputies an additional 40 hours of overtime each month for a year, there will be a tremendous increase in citations and arrests. The grant dissolved and the average went back to normal in 2017. Very straight forward.
Howell stated DCSO has no morale problem. The fact is 78 percent of the sheriff's office did not support Coverley, not even 78 percent of the Sheriff's Protective Association. It was only 78 percent of the people in the association who actually voted. There are 107 employees at DCSO with 91 association members. Only 70 voted because 21 people weren't even present, and 16 decided to not endorse any candidate in the primary's. Perhaps because it's a premature political move. Finally, 55 voted for Coverley, 11 for Duffy, and 4 abstained. The actual number of people within the sheriff's office who voted for Coverley is only 51 percent not 78 percent. That has been a pretty misleading number considering the percentage has been a huge part of Coverley's platform. To imply at any point during the campaign that more than 51 percent of the sheriff's office endorsed Coverley is very disingenuous. Just the facts.
Unfortunately for Coverley, Paris, led off a forum with a negative jab about Coverley's disciplinary incident. The video of that incident made its way back to YouTube. Can we just run on qualifications? Duffy is abstaining from mud-slinging by just stating facts. I admire that. Unfortunately, facts can be hard to swallow. Duffy exudes integrity and respect. There is nothing negative about solid management and high-expectations. Duffy and his Undersheriff Jim Halsey have a combined experience of 58 years. Duffy is kind, humble, and has a heartfelt passion for his job that is unsurpassed.
Capt. Dan Coverley is clearly the best candidate for Sheriff of Douglas County. In most elections, you see support and endorsements usually evenly distributed between the candidates. In this election, Dan Coverley has not only the support of the retiring Sheriff Pierini, but also 78 percent of the voting deputies in the Sheriff's Protective Association. Seventy-eight percent. This is a huge factor to me. Who knows who is best to lead an agency? The people who work for the agency do. I have close personal knowledge of this fact, being as I have worked under 4 Sheriffs in over 25 years at another agency.
Along with Dan's impressive list of endorsements is that of the East Fork Firefighters' Association and the Tahoe Douglas Firefighters' Association. To have the endorsement of basically all of the County's emergency services means that Capt. Coverley is the right choice.
Having worked in law enforcement for 25-plus years, I have a bit more knowledge about how things work. I have viewed the video of the 2001 incident. I had to laugh at how overdramatized it was portrayed to be. The incident has been blown out of proportion and used in a manner to discredit his overwhelming qualifications.
I have attended a couple of talks given by the captain and find him to be articulate, factual and a candidate who clearly cares for our community.
I used to live in California, and I still work there and will until I retire. Because of this, I am more aware of the differences between the two states and consider myself lucky to be a Nevada resident and revel in Nevada and the amazing county I live in. Dan Coverley was born and raised here and is a true Nevadan. This is extremely important to me. I am uncomfortable with the political atmosphere of California in recent years, especially as it pertains to law enforcement. As such, I am also uncomfortable with any candidate for any elected office in Douglas County being of California origin.
Brady best candidate
I am a retired law enforcement officer, with 40-years combined service, at the city, county, and state level, in Nevada and California. I served with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for six years, and attained the rank of Sergeant. I was a candidate for Douglas County Sheriff, during the 1982 General Election. I've met the current candidates for Sheriff, and have reviewed their qualifications, and experience. All four candidates appear to be honorable men, worthy of respect. The question is, which candidate is best-qualified to be the next sheriff of Douglas County? I believe Dave Brady is that person. He has superior academic credentials, including a Masters Degree in Public Administration (Public Safety). He has "street cop" experience, as a Police Officer (8 years) with the Redondo Beach (CA) Police Department, and 15-years of service as a Reserve Deputy with DCSO. He has served as a Douglas County Commissioner, School Board Member, and Parks & Recreation Commissioner. His 15 years of experience within Douglas County government will serve him well as Sheriff. I've worked with Dave Brady in the past, when we served together, as Agents of the Nevada Gaming Control Board Investigation Division. The GCB-INV Division conducts investigations of gaming-license applicants (owners, corporate officers & key employees) who seek licensure within Nevada's gaming industry. The investigations are extremely complex, and require technical expertise. GCB-INV Agents travel throughout the United States and internationally, working closely with US and foreign law enforcement agencies. Dave Brady has conducted financial investigations of applicants, with a net worth of billions of dollars. His financial knowledge will allow him to manage the DCSO $16+ million budget efficiently, and wisely. Dave Brady will take office as Sheriff, without "favors owed" or "debts" to the current DCSO management, and employees. He will conduct a full operational audit, and develop a strategic plan for the future. He is "the right man, at the right time" to lead the DCSO. Please support him with your vote.
Coverley best choice for sheriff Editor: Capt. Dan Coverley possesses important qualities to be the next sheriff of Douglas County — education, experience, and leadership. He earned a bachelor's degree in criminology, graduated from the FBI National Academy and obtained numerous law enforcement training certificates.
Law enforcement experience is something gained over time, and Dan's experience is thorough and extensive. During his more than 21 years of experience in Douglas County, he rose through the ranks to become a captain through hard work and after working in every division within the sheriff's office.
Capt. Coverley has earned the respect and confidence of those with whom he works. The overwhelming support he has received from the sheriff's protective association cannot be understated. The endorsements from Sheriff Ron Pierini, East Fork Professional Firefighters, Tahoe-Douglas Firefighters and South Tahoe Police Association are testament to his professionalism and leadership qualities.
Dan is a team-first man, doing whatever is necessary to provide the very best law enforcement services to all of Douglas County. Let's not forget that Douglas County has always been his home. He is vested here, and as an active member of our community he is keenly aware of the ongoing or developing needs. Dan worked to create the county's first street enforcement team to help combat drugs, and has pledged to coordinate with other jurisdictions on investigating drug-related issues, including gangs and prescription drugs.
"A tradition of service" is and has been the Douglas County Sheriff's Office motto for a long time. The dedicated men and women who work there have lived up to that motto and made the sheriff's office one of the most respected law enforcement agencies in the state. Our crime rate is low, and the department's investigative success rate makes Douglas County a desirable and safe place to live and raise a family.
Dan Coverley has the necessary skills, values, leadership and desire to maintain the quality of life we currently enjoy. He has demonstrated commitment to not only keep our communities safe, but to build on the department's tradition of success and invest in resources needed to keep our deputies safe while serving others.
As a retired undersheriff of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, I know what the day-to-day operations of the agency involve. During my nearly 30 ye4ars serving our community, I held every rank and supervised every division. From that perspective I support Dan Coverley for sheriff.
He is clearly the best choice.
Culture change at Sheriff's Office
The current management at the Douglas County Sheriff's office needs a change.
There are two Sheriff's candidates who are current administrators in our Sheriff's Office that are FBI National Academy Graduates. The National Academy is a police administrator academy of police administrators from the United States. It also grants a professional and fraternal membership to all past Academy graduates.
With access to their academy training and other graduates I find it concerning they would have instituted a "quota" system to evaluate the performance of their deputies. This strategy has failed in all major law enforcement agencies, and is well documented in police management publications.
It is bad for morale, not in the best interest of community relations, and does produce the desired effect. Supervisor evaluations should be based on the quality of their work, results, and resourcefulness, not quotas. Quotas only create a work environment where deputies result to writing questionable violations and make marginal arrests in an effort to get a "good" evaluation. The entire justice system is impacted as they have to defend the work product to a poor conclusion in the end.
Lake Tahoe has five agencies having jurisdiction over the lake. How come we do not have a mutual aid compact between the agencies to patrol the lake? A task force if you will? Instead, we have a $200,000.00 boat as do the other agencies. A shared governance could save all the agencies money and have a uniform procedure to patrol the lake. Where is the management strategy and cost savings?
Motorcycles are expensive to purchase and maintain. Deputies need special training and equipment. They have limited utility and are not functional in b ad weather. Do we have urban traffic congestion, VIP escorts, or parades that require motorcycle officers? Do we really need motorcycle officers in Douglas County?
Editor's Note: The Carson Valley Days Parade starts 9 a.m. Saturday.