Washoe County Sheriff candidates Promote Platforms in Civil Debate

October 9, 2018

As Sayeh Ahmari reports, the two candidates are former colleagues who want to quickly address the county’s growth challenges with new focus and initiatives.


Photo by Sayeh Ahmari for the Reynolds Sandbox.

Reno, Nevada. — Monday, Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m., inside a full Capri ballroom of the Peppermill casino, the two candidates for Washoe County sheriff, Darin Balaam and Heidi Howe, faced off, vying to replace Chuck Allen who is stepping down after four years in office.


Balaam and Howe vouched for why they are the better candidate to become the region’s next chief law enforcement officer, from how to deal with mental issues among inmates, to dealing with crimes committed by immigrants, and how some undocumented residents are scared to come forward to law enforcement.


Retired Capt. Howe shared how it is important for the community to be able to reach out when an incident happens.


 Howe recently attended the Fiesta on Wells community event to reach out to the Latino Community


Interacting with the Latino Community


“Trust takes works, I can tell you from a recent event that I was participating in … Fiesta on Wells … I had a booth there and what I discovered there a lot of people part of our Hispanic community don’t want to hang out in a booth where the cops are at. I understand their distrust and their fear. So what does it take? Me walking out of the booth and going to every booth and talking to people and letting them get to know who I am,” she said.


Retired assistant sheriff Balaam, 44, also shared the problems law enforcement is having with undocumented civilians being fearful to reach out when possible crimes need to be reported.


“The most important thing we could do is engage all of these communities, get out there and go out to these communities. We are here to protect them,” he said.


 A screengrab for Balaam's Campaign


Former Colleagues now in Competition


Balaam has worked in the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office for over 20 years under four sheriffs. According to his campaign website, some of his priorities would include adding new deputies as the region continues to grow, as well as combating sex trafficking and the opioid epidemic.


Howe, 53, began her law enforcement career in 1988 with the Reno Police Department and moved to Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in 1991. She retired as a captain in 2017. She is touting her administrative experience and her local roots. She also says she wants to initiate a new treatment program to help inmates with substance use disorders while they are incarcerated.


“ I would encourage you not to just pay attention to the things we said tonight but to do more research. Take a look, take a look at our websites educate yourselves even further,” Howe said. Photo by Sayeh Ahmari for the Reynolds Sandbox.




Balaam on his Twitter feed also touted his experience after the debate.


Early voting begins Oct. 20 for the election, which will take place at local polling stations Nov. 6.


Reporting by Sayeh Ahmari for the Reynolds Sandbox​


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