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The race is on: Former Sonoma County correctional deputy to run for Nevada County sheriff

Lori Steele, a retired Sonoma County correctional deputy, has thrown her hat in the ring to be the next Nevada County sheriff. Steele filed her paperwork Monday.
Photo: Elias Funez

Nevada County resident Lori Steele is challenging incumbent Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon on the June 7 ballot.

Steele completed the necessary paperwork Monday.

“I’ve done everything there is to do in a sheriff’s department,” Steele said Tuesday.



She explained that she had formerly spent 21 years working for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office as a correctional deputy and worked in a variety of settings in that role, including courts, schools, and efforts to help flood victims.

Asked when she decided to run for Nevada County sheriff, Steele said she had been “thinking about it for years.”



She added, however, that, during a recent snowstorm, she became aware of a woman who was stuck and required oxygen, and wondered why the Sheriff’s Office and volunteers had not ensured that people like that woman were safe.

According to Steele, she then had looked into the office’s volunteer program and found that people are required to go through a number of steps to join.

While she described the current Sheriff’s Office as a “great department,” she said its deputies need to do more in terms of being “peace keepers,” knowing “who is in your beat,” and facilitating help from people willing to volunteer.

“When an emergency happens, nobody cares what training you have. They just want help,” said Steele.

Steele said she has lived in Nevada County for over 18 years. She added that she has been married for nearly 35 years, and that her 18-year-old son, a Nevada Union student, is a volunteer with the Peardale-Chicago Park Fire Protection District.

“I think the deputies are great people, but we need to do more, as that snow thing just told us,” she said. “It’s going to happen again, whether it be fire, snowstorm, or whatever, and … we just have to knock it down and become a community like it was 18 years ago.”

Steele said generally that “everybody has their walls up,“ and that people do not want to talk to each other.

Asked how she would address the issues she described, if elected, Steele said, “First thing I would do is I would talk to the supervisors and find out what’s really going on behind that wall, and then I would go out into the public, to the church groups, and say, ‘Who can help in case of emergency?’ … before emergency happens.”

Moon was elected to her current position as sheriff in 2018, and is in her first term.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com

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