Carson City, NV – The latest man to announce his candidacy for sheriff of Carson City didn’t seem to know much about how the department was run, but he had a lot of ideas about what should be done differently.
Lorne Houle, in an interview with Blue Lives Matter on Monday evening, said he thought he was better prepared to run law enforcement for the Carson City Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) than the popular four-term incumbent, Sheriff Ken Furlong.
Houle challenged Sheriff Furlong in 2014, and won less than one percent of the vote in the primary.
As for experience in law enforcement, he told the Nevada Appeal that he had the “gist of what they do” from watching “Live PD,” and the two weeks he spent at the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy in Tustin, Cal. before he says he quit.
“I have a better understanding of how the younger generation acts, thinks, and goes about business,” 32-year-old Houle said.
“I have better aptitude for today’s technology. I understand that some things can be done the old-fashioned way. However, technology has advanced so fast … and I don’t think the current sheriff’s department is utilizing technology to its advantage,” he said.
Houle cited the fact that Carson City was only just beginning to implement bodycams as an example of how Sheriff Furlong was “behind the times.”
But Sheriff Furlong told Blue Lives Matter that was not the case, and said that bodycams aren’t new to CCSO.
“Oh Lord, we have body cameras on our specialized and high risk people already,” the sheriff said. “We have long had that. We have tested the bodycams for patrol. We’ve just selected a vendor for that.”
Sheriff Furlong said bodycams weren’t implemented department-wide earlier because it took time to set up the funding. He said the cost of the bodycams was added into the 911-surcharge, something that had to be approved by the legislature.
Houle wasn’t able to name any other technology that the sheriff’s office lacked, but said he thought the department should be testing out Teslas as patrol vehicles because the maintenance costs were so much lower. He also thought their self-driving option would be good for officers who needed to use the computer or do paperwork in their patrol vehicle while they were moving.
He said he couldn’t see “any harm in trying them out,” and pointed out they “supercharge” in 30 minutes. When it was pointed out that a dead battery in a police vehicle could mean the difference between life and death, Houle said that he "hadn't thought of that."
Houle said he thought the department needed to focus more on “cybercrime,” and as an example, cited people who posted pictures of graffiti on Facebook. He said police should be investigating those social media posts “because tagging is illegal.”
He said that if he were elected sheriff, he would have a team of three or four people searching social media for “potential crimes” at all times.
Houle also planned to have his sheriff’s department crack down on mean posts on Facebook.
“There’s a lot of cyberbullying that’s going on. I think we can be kind of mediators for that,” he said.
When asked what measures CCSO currently had in place to reduce cybercrime, Houle was unable to answer. He admitted he had no idea what was really going on inside the department he hoped to be put in charge of if elected.
“I guess I don’t know what the sheriff’s doing,” he admitted to Blue Lives Matter, when pressured for concrete answers.
Houle blamed his insufficient knowledge on his opponent, Sheriff Furlong, for banning deputies and dispatchers from talking to him, as he thought that was the only way for him to learn about how the sheriff’s department works.
Sheriff Furlong said he called Houle and asked him to stop contacting dispatchers and patrol officers on duty, because it was a violation of city policy to do any campaign work on city property.
Houle had called the sheriff’s communications center and asked to do a “sit along” with the dispatchers.
The sheriff said the dispatcher reported the calls to him because “she thought they were a ruse.”
Houle talked to Blue Lives Matter about Sheriff Furlong as though he were on very friendly terms with his opponent, and said that they had discussed law enforcement, specifically bodycams.
But Sheriff Furlong only remembered talking to Houle “once or twice over the years,” aside from the candidates’ panel during the last election.
“He contacted me because he wanted [the company he works for] to be put on our rotation for towing – I told him our rotation was for Carson City businesses only,” Sheriff Furlong recalled. “He didn’t like hearing that.”
Houle currently works as a tow truck driver in a county next to Carson City, and said he’s learned a lot about how things work from dealing with police on a daily basis in his job.
He said he was a military police officer in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years before he enrolled in the Orange County sheriff’s academy.
Houle said he quit the academy because he didn’t like the people there, and because the sheriff was in legal trouble. Former Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona was indicted on multiple charges in 2007, and convicted of witness tampering in 2009.
His campaign announcement has been met with disbelief by many who have commented on the articles and in social media that Houle needed to get some experience as an officer before he ran for sheriff, but the second-time candidate remained undaunted.
Houle said he intended to put up his campaign website and begin outlining his platform more in the next few days, but he hasn’t given up on building a full-scale Hogwarts wizarding school as a backup plan.
Houle claimed to be a member of the house of Gryffindor at Hogwarts.