Washoe County Sheriff Michael Haley said that today’s arrest of Deputy Sheriff Stuart Balch, assigned to Detention, demonstrates that the systems in place at the Sheriff’s Office to detect and act upon allegations of wrongdoing by staff members are working effectively.
Sheriff Haley said that Detention Facility employees received notification of possible sexual contact between Balch and a female inmate in April of 2014.
Once this information became known, staff followed Sheriff’s Office protocol and immediately advised supervisors of the allegations.
On the same day it learned of the allegations, the Sheriff’s Office asked for an outside agency, the Reno Police Department, to conduct an investigation. Balch was placed on paid leave pending the outcome of that investigation.
Following today’s arrest, Balch was suspended and placed on unpaid administrative leave while the necessary collective bargaining agreement steps are followed in order to discharge him.
“First and foremost, it is important for the community to understand that we immediately responded to a complaint on behalf of a victim,” said Sheriff Haley.
“The system in place to facilitate that complaint worked. Once we became aware of the possibility of criminal behavior within our facility, we took the appropriate steps without hesitation,” stated Haley.
Haley continued, “We cannot control every action of an individual within our agency, but we can detect suspicious behavior and act in a responsible and lawful way to ensure that those who are responsible for suspicious behavior are held accountable.”
He added, “That being said, it isn’t any less difficult for me to have to report to the public that a member of my staff has been arrested on these types of allegations.”
“The alleged actions of this individual do not reflect the principles of the hard working men and women of this agency. We cannot condone this type of behavior and will do all we can to continue to assist with the investigation and ensure proper justice is served,” Sheriff Haley concluded.
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 25th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Regional Intelligence Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process and traditional street patrols.