“I’m not going to run for election again,” Gammick said. “My term is over January 2015.”
During the taping, Gammick endorsed Deputy District Attorney Chris Hicks, an 11-year veteran of the office who has prosecuted some of the region’s most high profile cases in the last decade. Hicks announced he will run for the office in 2014 during a separate segment on the show. “I’m behind him 100 percent,” Gammick said. “I think he’s a hell of an individual.”
Sheriff Mike Haley said he and Gammick built a healthy and professional relationship even if they did not always see eye to eye.
“Most disagreements centered around attitude about bigger issues, not specifically about one case or another case,” Haley said on Tuesday. “It was more often about how justice can be interpreted and maybe it wasn’t always that the bad guy had to go to jail. Maybe sometimes it was about what was the best strategy to deal with a particular criminal issue in the area of prevention and treatment.”
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said Gammick’s legacy will show he was passionate about supporting victims of crime.
“He did an excellent job protecting Nevadans by holding criminals accountable,” Masto said in a statement. “Though he can never be fully replaced, we look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office.”
Gammick has spent more than 40 years working in either law enforcement or as a prosecutor in Northern Nevada. Before running for district attorney in 1994 as a dark horse challenger, Gammick had already spent 10 years in the district attorney’s office under former DA Mills Lane.
Gammick, a Republican known for his blunt public persona, went on to win five terms with little electoral opposition until the 2010 election.
“He certainly had some detractors and certainly was not shy about taking on cases or being in the media,” said Eric Herzik, the political science department chairman at the University of Nevada, Reno. “But that’s not unusual for Washoe County DAs when you think of Bill Raggio, when you think of Mills Lane.”
Herzik added, “I would say he certainly served a long and successful tenure.”
Fred Lokken, a political science professor at the Truckee Meadows Community College, said Gammick was no stranger to controversy during his tenure, including the way his office handled the prosecution of Darren Mack, the Reno man who was ultimately convicted of murdering his wife and shooting a Family Court judge.
Gammick also drew the ire of the Washoe County Employee Association in 2011 after Kelli Viloria, a 14-year veteran prosecutor with the district attorney’s office, said she was forced to resign.
She and the employee group alleged she was fired in retaliation for lobbying state lawmakers to prevent district attorney office workers from becoming at-will employees, meaning they could be fired without cause.
Gammick called the allegations “a bunch of crap,” according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Regardless, “his ability to be re-elected suggested he was popular with the public,” Lokken said, noting Gammick developed a media-friendly law-and-order personality over the course of his career.
For example, Gammick told Shad on Tuesday, “A guilty verdict is better than sex.”
“The ruffling of feathers has kind of created a bit of a cult following for him,” Lokken said. “The perception was something that kind of (became) the basis for his electoral support.”
Gammick remains involved in several charitable causes in the region, including the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows and the Reno Rodeo Association.
Caesar Ibarra, the chairman of the board of the local Boys & Girls Club, said Gammick has been a longtime supporter of the organization.
“From his perspective I assume he sees and deals with a lot of stuff and he knows it starts at childhood,” Ibarra said. “If a kid has a good foundation they’re more likely to be a good citizen.”
Ed Basl, the Democrat who unsuccessfully ran against Gammick in the 1994, congratulated his former colleague from the Washoe County District Attorney’s office in an interview on Tuesday.
Today, Basl runs a Reno law firm and said it will be sometime before Gammick’s legacy is fully realized.
“Anytime anybody has been in there for 15 to 20 years you know that they earned it, and you can’t take any of that away,” Basl said.