by Denise Crites
There is a new sheriff in Lyon County, Sheriff Frank Hunewill. Sheriff Hunewill was given the Oath of Office by outgoing Sheriff Al McNeil before his official swearing in on Monday, January 7th, in Yerington at the Board of Commissioner’s meeting.
Following his November 2018 victory over Sheriff Al McNeil, Hunewill said, “The first hurdle has been cleared, that getting elected as Sheriff. I would like to thank everyone who turned out at the polls and given me this opportunity. Now we can start taking ideas and turning them into plans. There is a whole lot of background work that needs to be completed before the plans can be put into action. I do not get sworn in until January 7, 2019. In the mean time we still have jobs to do. I have to run and manage a detention facility; Sheriff McNeil still has a department to run. Sheriff McNeil and I have talked and we plan on meeting, I am sure several times, and work at making the transition smooth. It comes down to being business smart and not causing a short fall in service to the personnel in the department and the citizens of the county. I am excited to take over and move onto the next level in a career that I have truly enjoyed.”
In a recent interview with Sheriff Hunewill, when asked what his goals were for the next four years, he replied, “I want to continue to work together with our community leaders and members to improve services. Also, continuing to work with all our judges and courts in the county to develop a viable working partnership. I want to be more creative with staffing levels and justification for increased staffing levels, as well as building up our support staffing levels to where they need to be.”
“I want to develop an agency that is more accessible to the public and more involved. Most importantly, I want to bring back a sense of ownership to the men and women who work for the Sheriff’s Office. The boots on the ground are the people who make everything work. We as supervisors need to support them and provide guidance. We have to get back to the basics and stand the department up again, and show the county that we are a respected and talented agency who number one priority is to serve the citizens of Lyon County,” said Sheriff Hunewill.
“Lastly, the most challenging part of any administrator’s job is dealing with budget restrictions. We can all agree the County is growing and we are severely understaffed. These are factors that limit us, yet places more demand on law enforcement agencies in general. These is a reality so we need to become more creative,” stated Sheriff Hunewill.
Asked if he was excited to be sworn in as Sheriff of Lyon County and if he had any fears, Sheriff Hunewill replied, “The responsibility is a pretty big one. Any fears? LOL! None that I would admit, right? I am very excited to start a new chapter in my life. I look forward to bringing some new ideas forward and working hard to develop a more community orientated sheriff’s office.”
The transition from one sheriff’s administration to a new sheriff’s administration can sometimes be difficult. “For the most part, it has been fairly smooth. One advantage I have in my court is my history in the department and the county. It has provided me some knowledge as to the general operating procedures that someone from the outside would not have had. Al (McNeil) has been helpful and allowed me to attend some important meetings while still serving in my current role. I would say Michael Carlson has been extremely helpful,” commented Sheriff Hunewill.
When asked if his family has been supportive, Sheriff Hunewill replied, “My family is very excited and super supportive.”
Sheriff Hunewill was asked to look back on his campaign and what he thought was the key to his win. He replied, “I think remaining neutral and fair were important. I believe getting out into all the areas of the county and being my self was extremely important as well. I also think taking a realistic approach to law enforcement in the county as a whole was also key.”
Sheriff Hunewill would like the residents of Lyon County to know, “I look forward to the next four years and what we are going to be able to accomplish together.”