For Immediate Release
This press release includes audio
PR #:1400042
Date Issued:May 07, 2014 - 9:31am

In memory of former Sheriff Dennis Balaam

CONTACT:Bob Harmon
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Office 775-785-6235
Cell 775-722-5517

It is with great sorrow that the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office announces the passing of former Washoe County Sheriff Dennis Balaam. Sheriff Balaam passed away on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at the age of 63 due to an ongoing medical condition. The Sheriff was at home with members of his family at the time of his passing.  

“It is with great sorrow that I must share with you information about the passing of a fellow Sheriff, respected colleague and good friend, Sheriff Dennis Balaam,” Sheriff Michael Haley said this morning.   “There is much I can say about the many contributions he made to benefit our Office as well as the community as a whole during his tenure as Sheriff. We will all miss his leadership, wisdom, and warm and ready smile. Together, the Sheriff’s Office family will mourn his passing, celebrate his life and honor his legacy.”

Sheriff Dennis Balaam began his career with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in 1971 as a Reserve Deputy. In 2000, he became the 23rd Sheriff of Washoe County, the first Sheriff in 64 years to come up through the ranks to assume command of the agency. His many accomplishments included bringing the Amber Alert System to northern Nevada, acquisition of an armored SWAT vehicle to facilitate the protection and rescue of civilian and public safety personnel, improvements to the Civil Protective Custody/Intake area of the Detention facility and expansion of the Sheriff’s Office inmate work programs.

Sheriff Balaam retired from the Sheriff’s Office in January 2007 after 35-years of service to the community.

Sheriff Balaam was always an active member of the community, supporting a variety of charities and public service organizations. In 2000, he founded the Washoe County Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association, a non-profit organization through which members of the community and local businesses support the mission of the Sheriff’s Office along with a number of worthy causes such as the annual “Shop with the Sheriff” event.

Information regarding services for Sheriff Dennis Balaam will be announced as it becomes available.      


The Washoe County Sheriff's Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Chuck Allen is the 26th 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.


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