Nevada County Sheriff’s Office readies for transition |

Nevada County Sheriff’s Office readies for transition

A week ago, when Sheriff Keith Royal saw the latest election numbers that made Shannan Moon his successor, he grabbed his cell phone.

“I texted her and said, ‘Hey, congratulations, sheriff,’” Royal said.

Moon won the Nov. 6 election with 28,107 votes to opponent Bill Smethers’ 20,498 votes, or 57.8 to 42.2 percent. About 3,100 ballots remain uncounted.

Royal endorsed Smethers, an executive lieutenant with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, over Capt. Shannan Moon. Both Moon and Smethers have served over 20 years in law enforcement.

“They’re both friends,” Royal said. “I felt at the time Bill was the better candidate, but there’s a broader picture. The Sheriff’s Office is going to be in good hands.”

The campaign for sheriff now moves into a transition of administrations, which hasn’t happened since Royal became sheriff 20 years ago. Moon takes office in January.

Royal said he’ll meet with Moon, discuss the state of the Sheriff’s Office and broader topics like operations and the budget.

“So that when she does take over, she knows what our funding is,” he added.

Moon, who oversees the department’s operations division, said she still has her current job to juggle during the transition.

“Keith and I have already sat down and talked a little bit,” Moon said. “I don’t know what I don’t know.”

According to Moon, Royal has scheduled a December training for her with the California State Sheriffs’ Association.

As sheriff, Moon said she wants to talk to her staff and learn what they think the Sheriff’s Office does well and on what it could improve. She wants to examine all the services her office provides.

“I think their input is going to be really important,” she said.

One aspect of the office that won’t immediately change is Undersheriff Joe Salivar. Moon hasn’t yet made a decision on who would serve as her undersheriff, or when that person would start. Until then, she wants Salivar to remain in that position. She said he has a large amount of knowledge about the Sheriff’s Office and wants to learn more about his day-to-day duties.

Royal called Salivar a talented hard-worker who’s involved in critical parts of the Sheriff’s Office.

“The transition’s critical,” Royal said.

As for Smethers, he said last week he intends to retire by January.

Royal said a political campaign can wear on candidates. However, he added that Smethers has other opportunities.

Moon called Smethers an “excellent cop,” adding she never considered herself running against him but instead running to become sheriff. She said she’s proud of how both their campaigns were run.

Royal, who in December 2016 announced his intention to retire, expressed interest in becoming the U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of California — an appointment made by the president of the United States.

Last week Royal noted he has 45 years of law enforcement experience.

“I can very easily move into retirement,” he added. “I’m very happy to retire.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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