Darrin Balaam has served in the Washoe County Sheriff's Office in various positions over the past 21 years. He is running for sheriff this November. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano talked to Balaam about his position in the race.
During his years in law enforcement, Darrin Balaam experienced working through the recession and says that time in his career helped him prepare for a role as sheriff.
"At the time I was in detectives and in patrol as a lieutenant and as a captain. During those years we cut 83 positions, $23,000,000 and we had to make some very difficult decisions. And we wanted to make sure we kept peoples' jobs, we had to make sure we had the training so our personnel were still trained. Making those tough decisions and learning how to be more efficient."
Balaam identifies three different crises happening in Northern Nevada: Sex-trafficking, mental health and the opioid crisis.
According to Balaam the federal government has funding for training and equipment which he believes can be used to create a team who focuses on tackling sex trafficking in our area. As for mental health his suggestion is to work closer with courts to provide residents with help and resources upfront before a second offense. His plan to help the opioid crisis is to work with the medical community and nonprofits to get opioids off the street.
Speaking about the Washoe County jail, Balaam says increasing staff trainings will help address the issue of how inmates are treated.
“Training is always the first to get cut under budgets and we have to have the implicit bias training because there's that bias you're not aware of and we need to teach our people that everyone has a bias and you need to be aware of that. Secondarily, it’s called crisis intervention training and that's learning how to talk to people while they're in crisis.”
KUNR also spoke to sheriff candidate Heidi Howe listen here.