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Wehrly: Restoring credibility to NCSO top priority

<p>Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - District Attorney’s office Special Investigator Sharon Wehrly has announced her decision to run for sheriff in the upcoming election.</p>

Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - District Attorney’s office Special Investigator Sharon Wehrly has announced her decision to run for sheriff in the upcoming election.

With a 100-day action plan in hand, one sheriff’s race candidate and longtime Nye County resident says she believes she has the credentials and experience to bring a renewed sense of credibility and accountability to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.

Sharon Wehrly, a special investigator with the Nye County District Attorney’s office, has lived and worked in Nye County since 1965.

She worked for 25 years with a para-military organization that provided security for the Department of Energy at the Nevada Test Site, now known as the National Nuclear Security Site.

During that time, she said she provided physical, technical and computer security for NNSS as well as counter intelligence, operations security, and threat countermeasures as well as helped to develop tactical response operations plans.

Wehrly was the first woman to complete the DOE’s Special Weapons and Tactics course taught by members of the Los Angeles and Dade County police agencies and the first female to be certified by the DOE as a firearms instructor.

In addition to her work with the DOE, Wehrly, the holder of an advanced category 1 Nevada State Police Office Standards and Training certificate, was an active member of the NCSO Reserve Deputy Program from its inception in 1975 until her retirement in 2003.

Wehrly was also one of the first emergency medical technicians in Nevada and helped to establish a Volunteer Ambulance Service in Pahrump.

With her extensive experience in law enforcement and emergency services, Wehrly said she feels she is not only qualified to be the next sheriff of Nye County, but feels her well-rounded background will allow her to bring a fresh perspective to the position.

“I think I’m the most qualified candidate, I have the most extensive background in multiple disciplines, which gives me a better view of what the sheriff’s office actually needs,” she said.

At the moment Wehrly said she feels the biggest issue facing the NCSO is the public’s perception of the office’s credibility and accountability.

“I don’t think many people feel very comfortable with them at the moment. I think people have really lost a lot of faith in them,” she explained.

So to fix that issue, Wehrly is coming to voters offering a first 100-day action plan to correct the issues she sees within the department.

The eight-step program calls for an internal audit, engaging in a standardization and accreditation program, exploring new opportunities to work together with other emergency response agencies, creating a citizen’s advisory panel, conducting a needs analysis to determine what and how much training NCSO personnel need, implementing a career path process, implementing a citizen’s law enforcement familiarization program and increasing participation in the NCSO’s volunteer programs.

The biggest part of that plan, Wehrly said, is seeking an external audit that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the NCSO, giving the next sheriff a specific report of what areas of the agency need to be improved upon.

The audit, which is part of the standardization and accreditation process in Wehrly’s first 100-day plan, would be conducted through an outside agency, such as the Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, who would then give the NCSO a report card of sorts on its performance.

“Basically it gives us the opportunity to implement a program that will transition from sheriff to sheriff,” Wehrly explained. “The biggest problem has always been that every sheriff that has been elected says I want change, but they don’t really know what they want to change. They know that something’s not right, but they don’t have a focus on what to change. I want to do the accreditation to get a baseline, so I’ll know what to change and then I will use the standards as a measurement. So at the very end, once this is put in place, because it’s an open, transparent program, everyone in Nye County will be able to pick up the report card and see where we are. And the next sheriff that takes over will have to meet that standard. So this program will actually transition through the next sheriff’s race, to the next sheriff and he’ll be held to the same standard, so we don’t have the problem of someone having a conflicting vision and going off one way or another.”

She added that having a standardized program in place could also be beneficial to NCSO personnel who serve under multiple sheriffs throughout their careers.

After the first 100 days in office, Wehrly said she would continue these efforts to constantly work to make the NCSO the best agency it can possibly be.

Wehrly said she loves the communities of Nye County and has enjoyed living, working and volunteering her time here.

The sheriff’s candidate added that she feels that her announcement to run for sheriff is like an application for the position. If the people of Nye County feel she is the best person for the job they will elect her to be the next sheriff, she said.

For more information about her campaign or to contact Wehrly those interested can email her at electsharonfornyecountysheriff@gmail.com.