Sheriff to run again |

Sheriff to run again

William Ferchland

Acting on reports that Sgt. Larry Hennick will give a another shot at running for sheriff, the incumbent sheriff of El Dorado County wants it known he will seek re-election next year.

Sheriff Jeff Neves, 51, listed his accomplishments after firmly stating he intends to run for re-election next June.

In a July 28 Tahoe Daily Tribune article reporting Hennick’s candidacy, Neves could not be reached before presstime.

Both announcements from the lawmen are setting up a sequel to the highly contested campaign in winter 2002.

Neves, then undersheriff, won the contest with 55.8 percent of the ballots cast, or 22,916 votes, to Hennick’s 18,151 votes.

Neves is banking on his leadership, implementation of a work manual and modifications reducing response times as a reason why voters should consider him, and not Hennick, a 52-year-old sergeant in the department for 31 years, for sheriff in June 2006.

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“I serve with great honor and it’s a privilege to be able to serve in this county and represent this sheriff’s office,” said Neves, 51.

Neves first mentioned the making and implementation of the department’s 375-page, 10-chapter policy manual dictating procedures from time cards to pursuits. It covers everything except jail policies, which are updated frequently, he said.

“It’s our bible for how we function as a sheriff’s office. What this did is it allowed us to standardize our operation for all employees,” Neves said, adding it brings accountability to the department.

The collection of jail, records and dispatch information to desktop and patrol car computers has been completed, Neves said. It allows deputies access to photographs, Department of Motor Vehicle records, people wanted by authorities and the call histories of particular addresses.

For the two jails, it allows authorities to inspect how much time an inmate is allowed access to the law library, exercise areas and other areas. The information provides “minute by minute” accountability and protection against lawsuits, Neves said.

Other accomplishments Neves cited were the return of a canine unit at the Tahoe substation, purchasing cards to streamline travel and other expenses.

He would like to keep pay more competitive by bringing in the average pay of the police departments in Placerville and Folsom. The two would join the pay rates of South Lake Tahoe Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Amador County Sheriff’s Department that El Dorado County averages to determine pay scales.

In an interview late last month, Hennick said 40 people have left the sheriff’s department since Neves became sheriff. Neves said it represents a cycle “experienced by all of law enforcement.”

Hennick said he was keeping tabs on Neves’ performance as sheriff before deciding to run again.

“The overall reason is a lack of leadership at the present and no direction or plan for the future,” Hennick said.

The barbs traded and dissension experienced during the campaign leading to the March 5, 2002, election has since subsided with high morale returning, Neves said.

He doubts the 2006 campaign will turn into the mudslinging affair it was in 2002.

“This time there’s an incumbent running and I just have a hope and belief it’s not going to be as emotionally divisive as it was last time,” he said.