The county of Lyon cuts a deputy post and reclassifies sergeants

The Lyon County Commission this month approved the elimination of a sheriff’s deputy position and the use of the savings to upgrade three existing deputy positions to sergeant positions, as well as to increase services and supplies.
Sheriff Frank Hunewill told the board on June 2 that his goal was to retain as many of his current positions as possible, but candidates were not applying for vacant positions. Instead, he chose to gain three more supervisors, a group of officers with the life and work experience they need now.
“If a detective is called to a scene, I have no question who is responsible because currently a detective ranks the same as a sergeant in terms of status,” Hunewill told the council. “They do much more complex work. With a supervisor position, I can crush the debate about who is in charge of a scene.
Commissioner Ken Gray, representing District 3, presented his questions but feared the sheriff had failed to get him the four motorcycles he requested in the April American Rescue Plan Act funding the county considered for its various departments. But Hunewill said his endowment request now has potentially longer-term implications.
“Look at it this way: If I take any of my detectives, it’s not two years, it’s five years for me to get them to the current level of training,” he said. “We spend thousands of dollars every year to make sure these guys can do what they can do.”
For the LCSO to cover Lyon sufficiently, it is difficult to identify more agents who wish to be promoted and ready to take charge of more violent or sensitive cases on a daily basis. County Executive Jeff Page told council he had extensive discussions with Hunewill about the issue and outlined concerns about retaining department staff.
“He keeps two years to keep people in the training cycle,” Page said. “Keeping them there, giving them extra money is not enough.”
Hunewill said it takes over two years to fully train someone.
“Most of our guys don’t want to commit sexual assault every day,” Hunewill said. “They don’t want to do child abuse every day. They don’t want to deal with these matters. Once in a while you do kills and for a little while it’s fun. … But if I don’t do anything to keep these people, then we have another Naomi (Irion) case.
Irion, 18, of Fernley was last seen March 12 in the parking lot of Fernley Walmart, and her disappearance prompted a major search by the LCSO and national media attention. Investigators discovered his body two weeks later in Churchill County and authorities arrested suspect Troy Driver. High-profile cases strain department resources, and Page said the day-to-day demands have changed in his 21 years in law enforcement.
“We have to find a way to support the sheriff,” Page told the council.
Commissioner Wes Henderson, representing District 1, asked if there was any solution other than eliminating the deputy position, with Comptroller Josh Foli saying it costs between $12,000 and $15,000 per position from sergeant to be promoted from deputy with an additional $67,000 in services and supplies. in costs.
“I understand the need you have, Sheriff, and I understand that…but I think we have to do it smarter next time,” Henderson said.
“I also trust my sheriff,” Gray said, “but I had to ask questions.”
The motion passed 5-0.

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