Sheriff candidates Shannan Moon, Bill Smethers talk training, body cameras at forum
Both Shannan Moon and Bill Smethers have emphasized the need for more training in the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office — agreeing on larger aspects of the issue while trying to distinguish differences in their approach.
Training touches several parts of the Sheriff’s Office, which both Moon and Smethers want to run once Sheriff Keith Royal leaves office in January. Moon, a captain, and Smethers, an executive lieutenant, said they want more training for deputies, want to retain them through that training and correct problems in departmental education.
No one said Deputy Jason Mackey’s name during a Thursday night forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County. However, cases he’s touched appeared in a question about training.
Moon said deputies must receive the training to do their job. Mackey, testifying this year in a marijuana case, said he didn’t get it.
“You have to have mentoring,” Moon said. “You have to have people around you that want you to succeed.”
Smethers said the Sheriff’s Office must hire the right people and ensure they’re trained. He added that policy changes occurred in the wake of Mackey’s cases.
“It was identified as a training issue,” Smethers said.
Fielding a question about obtaining funding for training, Smethers said the department needs someone focused on getting grant dollars. He pointed to a strategic plan that details his office’s goals, objectives, and once complete, accomplishments.
Moon, whose campaign touts the need for a department-wide strategic plan, disputed Smethers. She said no such plan exists. Instead a captain might set a list of goals, which are forgotten once that person is transferred or leaves and someone new takes his or her place.
Mental health is another part of a deputy’s job that requires the right training. Moon said she has experience with a crisis response team — training necessary for situations that can change rapidly.
“All across California, that has been a priority,” she said.
Smethers said deputies and supervisors need crisis intervention training — an education he once implemented.
“I believe we should be training yearly,” he added.
Royal on Thursday announced that his office would receive a $123,000 grant enabling the purchase of body cameras for deputies. He said that he’ll likely leave office by the time deputies are wearing them.
Asked about those bodycams, Smethers said any officer in uniform should have one, including correctional officers. He’d also like courthouse deputies to use them.
“We want to make sure we’re protecting our officers and the public,” he said.
Moon said she’s talked to other law enforcement agencies that use body cameras, saying she wants patrol staff to use them.
Moon added that cameras already are in parts of the Nevada County Jail and are used to settle complaints.
“Body cameras, definitely, would be another layer of that,” she added.
Both candidates indicated they’d release bodycam footage, if it caused no legal issues.
Asked who would serve as their undersheriff, Moon said she’s made no decision, but has spoken to potential picks.
Smethers said he selected Capt. Jeff Pettitt early in his campaign, adding he wanted to be transparent with the community about who would handle the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office.
Delivering her closing statement, Moon said she watched her father serve in law enforcement. That focused her on her own career.
“On day one, I can and am ready to lead this community,” Moon said.
Smethers said he’d lead by example, as he has throughout his career.
“I will be tough on crime in Nevada County,” he said.
Election day is Nov. 6.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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