Retired Nevada Master Deputy David Frankel on His Fellow Deputy Wife Kim’s Betrayal by Their Former Boss
By Steve Pomper
What’s been happening to a former Nevada cop is as infuriating as it is unfathomable. And I’ve only been indirectly involved for just over a month, now. I can’t imagine fighting a battle for my life for three and a half years and maintaining my sanity like Kim and David Frankel have. It would be great to present the “other side,” Washoe County and CCMSI, but they won’t talk. The fact of delays, denials of care, and attacks on the former deputy by her employer are not a mystery, but the why still remains one.
Kim and David Frankel
We at the NPA have been confounded by Washoe County (WC), the Sheriff’s Office, and the Nevada workers’ comp system’s apparent malicious treatment of former WC Sheriff’s Detective Kim Frankel after she was catastrophically injured on duty resulting from a DUI/Hit & Run driver who struck her while she was driving a department car in June 2020. Yet, after three and a half years the county machine continues to deny this devoted wife, mother, and former pro extreme athlete the medical treatments she desperately needs and deserves. Why?
These denials come despite Kim winning her case in Washoe County District Court and at the Nevada Department of Administration and Appeals Office (DOA) to provide her treatment, which WC has ignored. Why?
The four neurologists who’d diagnosed Kim’s Dystonia initially said she needed specific medical intervention within three years, or the painful, involuntary muscle spasms and other symptoms could be irreversible. Even worse, the forces allied against the former deputy continue to accuse her of fraud, even dispatching PIs to skulk around her family, gathering “evidence” against her.
And, speaking of evidence, on Dec. 7th, 2023, Kim’s husband, David (here’s another headscratcher), also a former Washoe County Deputy Sheriff (now retired), explains (video link below) how the county, without any evidence, accused Kim of receiving “unauthorized” medical treatments at Stanford University. They couldn’t get any evidence because Kim said she never went there. Apparently, her tormenters believe just the assertion might get Kim’s claim dropped.
X Link David Frankel
Do they want us to believe Kim faked an EEG and wrangled four neurologists (two theirs and two hers) into misrepresenting their diagnoses and recommendations for treatment? It appears the county would rather fabricate and peddle a lame mythology than help Kim heal.
While the why of it all remains elusive (you can read our previous articles in this series at the NPA), we’ve been working to tell Kim Frankel’s story, which is admittedly unwieldy because, like a demonic Energizer Bunny, the WC’s BS keeps on going, and going, and….
Don’t mind the energizer bunny crack about such a serious topic. Kim and David may be warriors fighting a battle, but they are happy warriors with great senses of humor. I’m amazed at how good natured both former deputies have remained after being subjected to the type of betrayal that can also inflict moral injuries on top of any physical wounds.
In Kim and David’s case, moral injuries can occur when trusted leaders stab their subordinates in the back. As I wrote recently at NPA, a study of “the National Police of Finland” showed these betrayals can lead to conditions such as PTSD.
So, what about the other cop targeted in this travesty? This story would not be complete without hearing more from Kim’s husband, David. Can you imagine how watching Kim’s struggles while both are suffering from their employer’s betrayal has dramatically impacted David’s life? The frustration and feelings of helplessness against this bureaucratic Goliath are agonizing.
The first thing I asked David was that same vexing question everyone asks when I tell them about this case. Why?
Why are County Manager Eric Brown, Sheriff Darin Balaam, and the third-party administrator, CCMSI’s Nevada State Director Brigid Reyes (and others) inexplicably continuing to deny Kim the medical care doctors have indicated she’s needed—for years?
Again, as I mentioned up top, we’d like to include the “Axis Powers’” perspective, but, as far as I know, no county or CCMSI official will publicly commented on Kim’s situation. It appears they’re emulating an infamous political strategy of “admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations.”
X Link David Frankel
David has no answers either and says, he’s not sure they’ll ever get one. Not only has the county failed to provide Kim with the physician-recommended treatments for Dystonia, but they’ve accused her of committing fraud to obtain benefits and treatments they apparently believe she doesn’t merit. In previous articles we’ve also covered the county reportedly meddling with her pay status, which required Kim to seek legal recourse to correct it—which she did. Kim tends to get stuff done.
The fact that David and Sheriff Darin Balaam were friends compounds David’s sense of betrayal by his former agency’s leadership. David felt so strongly about his and Balaam’s excellent professional and personal relationship that he appeared in an endorsement video during the sheriff’s first election campaign. Their former boss was reelected in 2022. And adding to the bewilderment, on a personal level, according to Sheriff Balaam’s campaign website, like Kim, he is also a legacy cop, their fathers were law enforcement officers.
I asked David why the sheriff would be a part in denying Kim the medical treatment she needs to live as normal a life as possible. He said he’s stumped. I’ve always wondered if this is ignorance and incompetence, leading to arrogance, which resulted in malice. In other words, you’re a normally decent person who makes a bad initial decision out of ignorance or incompetence. Then your arrogance won’t allow you to admit the error. Then, you compound the error by refusing to change course. After that who can your actions not be described as malicious?
You Tube Link David Frankel and Sheriff Darin Balaam (screenshot)
David said he’s as baffled as anyone about why these people he’s known for so long are treating his family with such cruelty. Since the why may never be answered, as David suggested, let’s set that aside momentarily and find out what kind of man David is, what kind of cop he was, and how this nightmare has affected him as former Deputy Kim Frankel’s husband.
The decorated, former SWAT officer said he was well prepared for police work when he joined the sheriff’s office. He had served in the U.S. Army before becoming a cop, including a couple of years stationed overseas. He said you grow up fast and become accustomed to meeting challenges early in life in the military. He believes this preparation allowed him to excel in law enforcement, including his assignments in many coveted units, providing him with a fulfilling career.
But there’s another headscratcher in this bewildering situation. Having served over 24 years with the same sheriff’s office as his wife, Kim, who served 17 years before leaving prematurely, Kim and David are well known to the sheriff and command staff. Why would they so callously victimize two of their own? And if they don’t believe that’s what they’ve done, then why won’t they explain themselves, their actions, and their inactions?
And while the sheriff’s office was helping to assassinate Kim’s beloved career, Sheriff Balaam’s career is just cruising along. I wonder if he would have won reelection in 2022, if voters had known what his office and the county were doing to the Frankel family.
Not only was Sheriff Balaam reelected, but other command staffers who’ve had some involvement in Kim’s case have been promoted during the interim. David says he doesn’t know if he’ll ever learn why these people did what they did. He called the county, sheriff’s office, and CCMSI a “no-feelings bureaucratic machine with no human feelings.”
The former lawman said, “I won’t be a victim. I refuse to be a victim.” Anyone who speaks with this man for only a few moments knows victimhood as a permanent condition is not a word he recognizes. He and his wife are similar in this way. When David said this, I immediately thought of the adage, cops don’t make good victims. However, there’s a twist when you’re a cop and it is other “cops” trying to victimize you. This is true even if they are pseudo-cops, as appears the case in the sheriff’s office leadership, because real cops don’t do this.
X Link David Frankel calls out Washoe County officials spending tax money to spy on his family
With all the stuff they’ve bombarded Kim with, and for how long, it’s hard to keep up with the onslaught. That’s why, to put it into perspective, I like to use the number of days it’s been that Kim’s boss, Sheriff Balaam, hasn’t contacted her since her on-duty injury: 1,280 Days ago. Not even to see how she’s doing.
I’m not only talking about the sheriff not contacting her after the complications from Dystonia set in. I’m talking about a sheriff not checking on his deputy after her initial injuries: whiplash, lumbar strain, and a concussion, which were bad enough to warrant a visit—a phone call—a text message—a Candy-gram.
These injuries later morphed into a career-ending disability (which may not have been inevitable), which, it appears, is at least partially due to the actions and inactions of WC. To reiterate, shouldn’t the in-the-line-of-duty injury collision alone have warranted a visit from the sheriff—especially after she caught the suspect DUI driver who hit her and ran, so he couldn’t hurt anyone else? There’s that warrior thing again.
I asked David when he thinks this will end. He said, “When they (county, sheriff, CCMSI) find a way to close the claim.” He believes that’s what all the PI spying is about. It appears, they’re looking for anything they can manipulate into an official reason to close the claim and refuse Kim the treatments the doctors said she needs.
He repeated the frustration—the heartbreak—knowing that people he trusted knew that Kim required specific medical treatments if there was to be any hope for a full recovery, or it would likely become a lifelong disability. Yet, they have stood in the way of her recovery. Again, that “golden” timeframe had to be within three years. It was three and a half years exactly on Christmas Day 2023.
David said he’d helped the sheriff’s office with many special assignments and, again, even appeared in a campaign commercial, supporting Balaam for sheriff. He said, “But after Kim got hurt, it was crickets from them.”
The retired Master Deputy said he and Kim could end this tomorrow by dropping everything. But he worries about the message that would send to others in similar and future fights. David and I talked about that sense of justice most cops have—that real cops have. It may sound corny to non-cops, but we truly believe it. The people doing this to Kim, even the sworn LEOs involved, don’t (or no longer) seem to honor the integrity that warriors like David and Kim have in abundance.
David told me, “What first attracted me to Kim is she is a person who makes the world a better place. When she walks into a room, she aims to make people feel good.” It would have been nice if their sheriff had walked into Kim’s hospital room to make her feel good—1,280 Days ago.
David told me he tries to believe the best about people. That’s why what people, like the sheriff, are doing is so disorienting to him (and us). He (we) can’t imagine that people he knows and has worked with for so many years could do such devastating harm to his family.
During my separate interviews with Kim and David, there was one overriding thing about them. Despite going through this nightmare, both retired cops expressed their desire to help others trapped in similar employer neglect black holes. That’s why their association with Ret. Lt. Randy Sutton and The Wounded Blue, to help other cops in need, is so important to them.
Toward the end of the interview, David encapsulated his view of integrity: “It’s important for me to be able to look at myself in the mirror” (again, corny, but cops truly believe this). I wonder if County Manager Eric Brown, Sheriff Darin Balaam, or the folks at CCMSI can look themselves in the mirror if or when they ever think about the Frankel family. I wonder if they still tell county employees, including sheriff’s deputies, “We’re a family?”
David said he feels the public may not know what kind of people he and Kim are because, if they’re not some sort of scofflaws, then why would the county treat them so callously? I mean, who does this kind of thing to their own employees, especially a sworn deputy injured on duty who is married to a now-retired deputy from the same agency? I asked David if there was anything specific he wanted people to know about them.
He answered, “What I want people to know is that both Kim and I worked hard for the community. We took our oaths seriously and always put the community first. I think at the end of the day or career you are judged by your body of hard work and how you treat people. I have many commendations, meritorious service, officer of the year, officer of the month, medal of valor, and was promoted to master deputy.
“I am most proud of the master deputy because it was a selection by my peers. I was fortunate to work in the jail, district court, patrol X2, detectives, SWAT for 17 years, undercover, and as a tactical flight officer.
“Kim and I still miss our jobs but also realize that there’s a time to start the next journey. Unfortunately, Kim didn’t get to make a choice when that happened like I did. I have much gratitude to you and the NPA for helping with Kim’s situation as at times we have felt helpless.
“But we are warriors and will see this fight through to the end and use it to empower and help others to win the good fight as you are doing.”
There’s still little significant contact to report from Washoe County, the sheriff’s office, or CCMSI. Although, CCMSI’s state director, Brigid Reyes, who was CC’d by a helpful CCMSI employee on my email request for comment on Nov. 26. However, I have no record of a response from her and have recently contacted her at her email. Understandably, an auto reply indicated she’d be out of the office until after Christmas.
I have heard back from one (of five) Washoe County Commissioner, Alexis Hill, who said she was “advised” to refer me to their public information officer (PIO), Nancy Leuenhagen, whom she said she had CC’d. Ms. Leuenhagen simply acknowledged being CC’d with, “Thank you” and no specific response to us.
X Link Alexis Hill, Jeanne Herman, Michael Clark, Mariluz Garcia, Clara Andriola
So, there’s still not a lot of “public information” coming out of the county about their leaders’ actions toward Kim and David Frankel, this husband-and-wife cop couple, who served the citizens of Washoe County loyally for a combined 41 years.