EDITOR’S NOTE: What follows is the full speech given by new Sheriff Sharon Wehrly at the Change of Command Ceremony on Monday.
Today we begin a new chapter in the legacy of the Nye County Sheriff’s Office. The office of the sheriff is a constitutional office. There have been 28 elected and appointed Nye County sheriffs since Nevada attained statehood in 1864.
Under new leadership, the sheriff’s office will remain a constitutional office for the people of Nye County. We are relentless in our fight against crime and we will continue to incorporate new and innovative crime-fighting strategies throughout Nye County.
Our motto is “Protect and Serve.” Our job is not just enforcing the laws that our citizens have voted to live by, but caring for those who live, work and visit Nye County. We too are residents of Nye County, we are your neighbors and your friends. We do not stand above or below you, but shoulder to shoulder with you to build a safe place to live, raise our families and retire.
Ours is a role of service and often it is upon immediate demand. We are among the few professions that still make house calls. I believe we are called to serve everyone in our county regardless of their address, economic status, political preference, religious practice, age or racial/ethnic origin. I don’t believe the citizen is always right, but they are always our citizen. Every citizen and visitor will be treated with respect, even if some, by their own actions may not deserve respect.
Your safety and the safety of my deputies is my highest priority. To ensure safe communities in Nye County, crime fighting must be a constant continuing effort. Preventive measures and mitigation strategies will be developed, agreed upon by Nye County citizens and law enforcement, then trained and implemented. My staff and I will work with existing community groups and form and train additional groups to develop and implement grass-root law enforcement strategies for all of Nye County.
I will augment the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Unit, rebuild the Reserve Deputy and the Cadet Programs, refit and provide training for Nye County Search and Rescue and assist Emergency Management in building a Citizens’ Emergency Response Team. We will partner with state-approved law enforcement and emergency response groups. From this effort we will identify and train volunteers to assist with community safety, security and law enforcement issues in our county. We will augment the dwindling budget dollars with competent, dedicated, professional volunteers.
Professional, competent qualified law enforcement officers and support staff are the essence of your sheriff’s office. I will ensure that your deputies and support staff are adequately trained and consistently meet or exceed the state standards. The training dollars for both in-house and outside training will be focused toward maintaining basic requirements set by State Statute and specific department needs determined through a Needs Analysis Process.
I will require our deputies and support staff to set professional development goals and focus on a career path. I will assist them in achieving those goals. I will establish a merit-based rank structure within the sheriff’s office allowing dedicated and qualified employees promotional opportunities. I will work with the Nye County Law Enforcement Association to set up career path structure and promotional guidelines. I will seek National Sheriff’s Association accreditation and certification for your Nye County Sheriff’s Office.
Whether business, industry, manufacturing or law enforcement, “it’s not our parents’ or grandparents’ world anymore.” Our sheriff’s office must stay in step with new methods, modern techniques and current technology if we are to protect our communities. The new times teach new crimes. Failure to update equipment, technology and methods is a formula for disaster.
Effectiveness is no accident. It is the result of responsible and direct interaction with other law enforcement agencies, the intelligence community and the ability to apply the information and develop threat and vulnerability analyses to plan effective mitigation and set deterrents in place to actively protect our citizens and communities from these new threats. To meet these challenges and keep costs to a minimum, we will network with various state and local agencies.
Our emergency service responders will not just be on the same page in the future, but will write those pages together. If a catastrophe comes our way we can’t wait till then to learn what to do. I will immediately put into action efforts to harmonize the workability of all emergency responders in our county and ensure we have Memorandums of Understanding and update those currently in place to ensure we can call for law enforcement and emergency response assistance from outside agencies when we most need them. In addition, I will make available opportunities for our youth seeking professions in these areas to develop their interest and increase their chances for finding future employment opportunities in Nye County.
Nye County is the third largest county in the United States with a diverse population. We are proud of our diversity, our independence and our heritage. We will all work toward retaining our freedom. I have seen the sheriff’s office as a reserve deputy; I’ve worked with you on the street in the dead of night with no backup available; I’ve worked beside you building cases for prosecution. I understand how the system works from the rank and file and from a desk. With your help I will rekindle the unity that this office has lost. I will restore your sense of purpose, I will demand integrity, honesty, ethics and accountability which will instill pride within ourselves and strengthen our relationship with the public. I will provide you with the tools, resources and mindset to successfully move forward in your careers and
I will serve you as your sheriff as much as I will lead you as your sheriff.
You have probably noticed, my uniform jacket does not display agency badges. This is a symbol of a new beginning. Symbolizing – a fresh start, with new ideas and renewed commitment and purpose – to serve and protect the people of Nye County from all threats, both foreign and domestic.
I would like to introduce my number one, my second-in-command, Brent Moody. Brent, please come to the podium.
Brent has 36 years of law enforcement experience and has been in law enforcement management a good number of them. We are a team, management, uniformed and non-uniformed personnel and the citizens of Nye County; and as a team, we will be successful. We will make this journey together.
This is the first day of the 100-Day Action Plan.