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Former Washoe County Sheriff Dennis Balaam dies at 62

RENO - Washoe County Sheriffs Office announced the death of former Washoe County Sheriff Dennis Balaam. Sheriff Balaam passed away on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at the age of 62 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 Wednesday 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 Sheriffs Office family will mourn his passing, celebrate his life and honor his legacy.

Sheriff Dennis Balaam began his career with the Washoe County Sheriffs 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 Sheriffs Office inmate work programs.

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

Sheriff Balaam was an active member of the community, and supported a variety of charities and public service organizations. In 2000, he founded the Washoe County Honorary Deputy Sheriffs Association, a non-profit organization through which members of the community and local businesses support the mission of the Sheriffs 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.