Two candidates have filed for Churchill County Sheriff. They are incumbent Richard Hickox and Daniel Sharp. Hickox is seeking his second term.
Sharp did not answer the questionnaire sent to both candidates.
Richard Hickox, incumbent Churchill County sheriff
I wanted to be in law enforcement since I was a child. I love helping people and believe strongly that someone needs to be the voice for those who can’t speak; someone needs to be the defender for the weak, scared and broken, by standing between evil and good and doing so with integrity, honesty and courage. I love this community, I love being part of this agency and I have proudly been that voice and that defender for 24 years, and would love to continue to serve, protect and give back to my community.
What has been your experience in law enforcement?
In March of 1999, I was sworn in as a deputy with the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office; 23-plus years later, I still proudly serve the residents and visitors of Churchill County. I have held the ranks of Deputy, Corporal Investigator, Sergeant, Investigations Sergeant, Captain and, for the last four years, Sheriff. I have worked in the Detention Center, Patrol, and Investigations, taught DARE, and was a member and Supervisor of the Gang Unit. I am an agency Defensive Tactics Instructor and have taught at many of our reserve academies. I am member of the executive board for NvSCA.
Which training in law enforcement has been most beneficial to you?
All relevant and modern training, if taken seriously, can prove beneficial to your development; however, the one that really helped me was an interview and interrogation class.
What type of training would you like to see implemented in Churchill County that has not been introduced (and if money was not a problem)?
If money were not an issue, I would like to see some advanced virtual reality, scenario-based interaction training.
What are your views on the Second Amendment and the permitting of citizens to keep and carry defensive firearms openly or concealed?
I am a life member of the NRA and have been for a very long time; I am also a member of the Stillwater Firearms Association and have a CCW. Upon getting elected as Sheriff, I take seriously the responsibility to review and sign the CCW packets personally and fully support those who can legally have a CCW. I also support those who can legally possess a firearm (choosing) to open carry instead of obtaining a CCW; this is their choice and we are free to choose as we wish. Carry on.
How important is it for CCSO to interact with other agencies such as NAS Fallon, Fallon Police, Tribal Police, School District, etc.?
I believe it is vitally important. As a public service, peace-keeping, law enforcement, county coroner agency, we cannot serve the people of and the visitors to this county properly if we act as a silo standing apart from others and holding strong our position and information and services to ourselves . We must share, we must aid each other to properly serve and protect this community and its visitors.
Drugs are always a concern in any community. What has Churchill County done to combat the drug problem?
Shortly after being elected Sheriff, I held several then-Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman and officials from the Nevada Division of Investigations and through the cooperative efforts of the individuals in those meetings, we were able to re-introduce and re-establish the North Central Narcotics Task Force. This task force has been recognized as one of the most productive around the state and is a shining example of interagency cooperation and communication.
Has this problem improved over the past five years or has it become worse? I believe the answer is it has absolutely gotten better; our local task force is very active. We have seen a shift in certain areas, such as legislatively, that have hampered our efforts to lock up the drug dealers that are a cancer on our society.
Law enforcement agencies across the nation report a shortage in staff. What are some of the ideas to increase the number of deputies in the county?
We, like everyone else, are short-staffed. We have tried to utilize social media more to emphasize some of the positives and what we do for our community; we are taking every effort to get out and interact with our community in a positive manner (and) show that we are human and that we have lives outside the uniform. We feel positive interactions, maintaining the support of our community, and remembering our ‘why’ will lead those who are interested in a life of service to us.
The pandemic increased homelessness or people living on the edge in just about every community. How has the Sheriff’s Office worked with other agencies to provide services?
We participate in the Point in Time homeless count with Social Services and we work diligently with FASTT to try and reduce recidivism and identify those facing residential challenges. We participate in a food drive every December that was the brainchild of Beth Riley; it pits agencies against each other to gather as much food as possible for those who are on the edge. We will be installing a karma box in the lobby soon. All of these projects, interactions, and events are geared to help those who are in need of a hand.
Can you describe your leadership style in a law enforcement role?
I love my job. I love my community and I want to help, so I am very much a hands-on kind of guy who is commonly found at the office at odd hours and on weekends. I strongly believe in the mantra of management by walking around, so I’ll randomly show up on calls for service or come in early and pass out meals in the jail, do walkthroughs of the facility and search a cell or two. I believe it is important to hire and appoint/promote people who know what they are doing and let them do it.
What are your favorite things about our community and how do they lead to good policing?
One of my favorite things about this community is its small-town atmosphere and mentality; when something happens, the community rallies to help. We receive so much support in times when our counterparts around the nation have and are experiencing the exact opposite. This makes our job so much easier; we constantly have people offering to help us. A member of the Elks lodge volunteered to, and then followed through with, purchasing our narcotics K-9 a ballistic vest. When someone is valued and loved like we are in our community, it makes your job so much easier.
What are the most useful applications of technology in a law enforcement role?
Locating someone that is in need of help when time is on the line can be stressful. One of the greatest assets we have is a program we implemented in our dispatch center that narrows down the location of the 911 caller to mere feet, and with the upgraded version now allows us to accept text and photo. Communications from the field to dispatch have greatly improved with the installation of in-car repeaters for the radios.