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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 9:02 PM

Nevada AG Files Complaint Against Sheriff Dondero in Fifth Judicial District Court

Nevada AG Files Complaint Against Sheriff Dondero in Fifth Judicial District Court
Dondero during his campaign for sheriff as posted on his GoFundMe page.

Source: GoFundMe website

The Fifth Judicial Court confirmed on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, that the Nevada Attorney General has filed a civil complaint against Nick Dondero, who is currently serving as the Esmeralda County Sheriff. The 22-page document details the allegations against Dondero including his inability to obtain POST certification, his misdemeanor domestic battery as it relates to being a peace officer in Nevada, along with troublesome actions committed by him unrelated to his conviction, and more. 

According to court documents, Dondero must automatically vacate the office of Esmeralda County Sheriff by January 1, 2024, unless the court takes actions prior. The Fallon Post will provide more detailed information once we have fully reviewed the contents of the complaint. 

Additionally, Nevada Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) notified Dondero in August that he is disqualified from serving as a peace officer. 

The Fallon Post has confirmed that Dondero is neither POST certified nor eligible for certification, as conveyed to him and the Esmeralda County commissioners, along with other county officials in a letter dated August 14, 2023. In the notice, POST Executive Director Michale Sherlock stated, “POST is giving notice to you that you are disqualified from serving as a peace officer. As such, you will not be eligible for certification as required by Nevada Revised Statute.” 

The notice explicitly states Dondero is ineligible to hold the office of Esmeralda County Sheriff due to the legal prohibition that prevents him from owning or possessing a firearm, stating “Nevada Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) wishes to inform you of your POST certification status as the elected Sheriff of Esmeralda County. As you may know, the relevant portion of NRS 248.005 states: 3. If a person [has a documented history of physical violence], as described in paragraph (c) of subsection 1, is a candidate for the office of sheriff in a county whose population is less than 30,000, the person is not required to meet any requirements with respect to employment, service, certification or training at the time he or she files his or her declaration of candidacy for the office.” 

Sherlock further explained: “In addition, during its 2023 session, the Nevada Legislature passed SB 225, which was signed into law by the governor. This law adds a provision that disqualifies anyone who has been convicted of a domestic violence offense, whether or not that offense has been expunged or sealed, to serve as a peace officer. POST is giving notice to you that both under the NAC and under the NRS, based on SB 225, you are disqualified from serving as a peace officer. As such, you will not be eligible for certification as required by Nevada Revised Statute.”

This prohibition poses a significant challenge to fulfilling the duties of a sheriff. As Churchill County Sheriff Richard Hickox has explained, "Carrying a gun is a major tenant of being a law enforcement officer in Nevada.” In simple terms, police officers in America are expected to carry firearms.

Up until this week, there has been no formal action taken to remove Dondero from office, either by the officials of Esmeralda County, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearm, or the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, despite the firearms prohibition. 

In addition to these disqualifications, Dondero, who initially campaigned on a platform of "holding people accountable," has taken legal action against those who have raised concerns about his eligibility. The Fallon Post reported on June 15 that the Esmeralda County District Attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to a whistleblower, who had challenged the legality of Dondero's position as sheriff, which asserted, “Statements you have made that Sheriff Dondero cannot legally carry a weapon and that Sheriff Dondero cannot be POST certified. Those statements imply that the Sheriff has been convicted of serious criminal acts, which is false. If you continue in defamatory statements, Sheriff Dondero intends to bring an action against you for general, special, and exemplary damages.” 

GoFundMe raises money for Dondero: More than four months ago, before POST's letter to Dondero, a supporter of Dondero named Greg Rentchler, owner of Southwest Tactile gun sales in Dyer, NV, initiated a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Dondero's legal expenses as sheriff. To date, the campaign at www.gofundme.com/f/help-defend-our-well-deserved-sheriff has raised $1,610 toward the $100,000 goal.

According to Rentchler, Dondero “has been lambasted and defamed by former deputies, a Nevada newspaper, former sheriff, and others! I am initiating this GoFundMe fundraiser because Sheriff Dondero has been forced to hire legal representation in defense of his personal reputation and the reputation of his Office. You see, Nick campaigned on holding people accountable for their actions. The individuals defaming Nick are trying very hard to hurt his efforts with the State of Nevada, the Sheriff's and Chief's Association, and the State's Peace Officer's Standards and Training by perpetuating rumors that he is not qualified for the position that he was elected.” 

Dondero served as an officer with the City of Fallon Police Department in 2007 for approximately seven months.

Pictured below: Dondero during his campaign for sheriff as posted on his GoFundMe page.


Concerned Citizen 10/31/2023 05:24 PM
Thank you State of NV for this. Dondero ran on holding the public and his employees accountable. He failed that before he even started. He has a current employee that got a DUI, at work, not off duty, and they still work there.