Sheriff's Office

PR #:
Date Issued:
Dec 26, 2021 - 7:57AM

For Immediate Release

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office celebrates 160 years in service

For media inquiries contact:
Sarah Johns
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Office: 775-785-6235
Cell: 775-391-0407

A Look Through the Decades
celebrating 160 years of service

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is marking the 160th anniversary of the Office today, December 26, 2021, with the release of a digital history book.

The online publication, A Look Through the Decades, celebrating 160 years of service, walks community members through the inceptions of The Territory of Nevada, Washoe County, and the Sheriff’s Office.

“The Sheriff’s Office was created when Nevada was a territory – three years before our statehood,” current Sheriff Darin Balaam said. “Over the course of 160 years, this Office has served as a place of great hope for many.

“The Office has also been the recipient of great hope from our community during many dark and trying times,” Sheriff Balaam continued. “It is my sincere desire that members of our community will enjoy learning about this Office’s long and colorful history - from the Old and Wild West to the progressive law enforcement agency that exists today.”

Highlights of the 84-page history book include:

  • The 27 people who have held the Office of Washoe County Sheriff, including
    • Charles C. Smith, the 1st Washoe County Sheriff
    • Sheriff William H. Caughlin, for whom the 6,000 acre historic Caughlin Ranch (and current 2,300 acre Caughlin Ranch master-planned community) was named
  • The sometimes violent circumstances which led to the Territory of Nevada being created and the first Sheriff of Washoe County taking office
  • 1947 news article detailing the second line-of-duty death for a deputy in the agency
  • More than 300 images from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office past and present

A Look Through the Decades, celebrating 160 years of service is made possible thanks to the tremendous efforts by Community Engagement Division Manager Brooke Howard, along with retired Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Captain and law enforcement historian Doug Gist.

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.


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