Heidi Howe is a retired captain for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and is running for sheriff this election. She has also recently sued the sheriff’s office for gender discrimination. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano talked to Howe to break it all down.
Prior to this interview, the Reno Gazette Journal broke the story on Howe's choice to sue the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. She says she won’t get into the details regarding the lawsuit because she wants to let the case play out the way it’s supposed to. Aware that the complaint is public information, she is encouraging residents to read it.
“The issues that are in that complaint [are] nothing new, it’s been going on for decades,” Howe says. “I have to look at what I am and what I am saying my message is, and holding myself true to that. For folks who don't know, understand there are deadlines that come into play and I had to make a very difficult decision on whether to file or let it go forever. I think it’s my obligation as a leader to stick my neck out there and try to protect employees that work in the agency and I made that decision.”
Ultimately, Howe says she understands that there may be people who will agree or disagree with her choice, but she believes it is about fixing the culture and being sheriff will help her do so.
Howe says her experience as a captain at the county jail helped her understand what's needed for improving how the inmates are treated and how their mental health needs are addressed.
“The biggest thing that we need to be tackling is the training of our staff, we need to invest in our people and make sure that we are providing them scenario-based training in order to make better decisions with how they interact with the inmate population up front.”
KUNR spoke to sheriff candidate Darin Balaam Listen here.