New candidate throws twist into Washoe County Sheriff race

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Updated: 2/10/2014 6:43 pm
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- Now that there are at least two strong candidates running for Washoe County Sheriff, the race is taking on a whole new dynamic. Even though the Sheriff is a very powerful person in Washoe County, overseeing a large budget, a large staff with tremendous visibility, this race is typically predictable and not hotly-contested.

Truckee Meadows Community College Professor Fred Lokken says in all of Nevada's counties, when it is time to elect a new sheriff, there is a normal path. "You have a sitting Sheriff, who generally was the Undersheriff. Then the time has come, to have the Sheriff step down and then the next one is sort of anointed to come into that role."

That appeared to be the path for current Undersheriff Tim Kuzanek. He has been in the Sheriff's Office for more than two decades, working in almost every job and serving in every bureau. He announcing his candidacy a few weeks ago, and received the backing of significant political and business figures, as well as several major endorsements.

But Monday's announcement from Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen provides a twist. "The name recognition for Chuck Allen exceeds that of the current Undersheriff, and you don't see that very often."

This new development may mean no one is going to have a cakewalk in becoming the next Washoe County Sheriff. "It does create a fascinating race with two candidates able to attract significant funding."

Because of this new dynamic, the Dean of TMCC's Political Science program makes this prediction. "I think actually it will become a race of issues and we haven't seen that for a very long time in Washoe County."

As for name recognition, Kuzanek has time to build that, but Allen's venture into the race will force Kuzanek to raise and spend more campaign money. We can expect to hear more about the budget, staffing, volunteers, community involvement and of course, crime fighting initiatives as the key issues to this race.
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dot harrison - 4/30/2014 3:19 PM
0 Votes
So how do we ascertain which candidate intends to uphold our constitutional and inalienable rights?

Robert - 2/13/2014 3:54 PM
1 Vote
What I am seeing in the comments arena is telling. The people who support Trooper Allen all say the same thing, he is a real nice guy. Nobody says he is not. Those of us who do not support Trooper Allen are bringing attention to skill sets and experience. WCSO is home to 600 County employees running on an 85 million dollar budget. It's not a volunteer organization.

RenoCitizen - 2/11/2014 11:22 PM
2 Votes
Trooper Chuck Allen is well known as a Public Information Officer for the Nevada Highway Patrol, and is best known for his morning traffic reports. Trooper Allen has been in the area for many years and has served the Nevada Highway Patrol well. That said, the biggest question is why has a Trooper with over two decades in the same first level law enforcement position never pursued advancement within his own agency if aspirations of high level leadership were in his career path. Second, and equally as important, is that the position of Sheriff is not a political position that can be successful through good media coverage and an expensive PR firm. The Sheriff is a law enforcement position which has the ultimate responsibility of making decisions that impact the lives and families of the men and women serving the Sheriff's department. Someone in that role should have institutional leadership knowledge in law enforcement at all levels within that agency so that every decision is made with clear and concise authority. We cannot elect someone who has never been tasked with the highest levels of law enforcement decision making, and we cannot expect that a Trooper qualifies to handle a multi-million dollar budget with no experience at that level within any agency. Again, Trooper Allen has served the Highway Patrol well and is a great member of our community, but a Trooper does not a Sheriff make.

Old Parnell - 2/11/2014 11:46 AM
1 Vote
Before bashing them, retired51 and taxpaying mom are raising some fair and valid issues. I would also like to see someone professional come in from the outside to shake things up a bit (even from outside the law enforcement community), but definitely not a career highway trooper. We're talking a CEO-equivalent position here, not sure we need anymore Sheriff Rosco's running the jail.

thebuckster - 2/11/2014 11:20 AM
0 Votes have no idea what you're talking about. Next time, do your research before you throw something in hopes that it will stick.

FoolontheHill - 2/11/2014 8:21 AM
0 Votes
What issues???

taxpaying mom - 2/11/2014 6:10 AM
0 Votes
I think a switch up from the status quo would be a good thing. The Sheriff's around here are jerks! When we reported an issue to the local sheriffs office the officer that came out never even got out of his car just took the report sitting on his fat behind in the car. NHP OTOH have always been helpful and nice.

retired51 - 2/10/2014 11:19 PM
3 Votes
I am a retired law enforcement officer and trooper chuck does not have the necessary qualifications to be sheriff! being a t.v. personality doesn't cut it. 23 yrs. with NHP and he is still a trooper!! come on people! Why hasn't he promoted within NHP? being a trooper doesn't give you the necessary experience to be a sheriff! I still remember another sheriff that was a friend of mine that referred to NHP as AAA with a gun! Lol

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