Lyon County Sheriff Message – Week of September 11, 2016
Sheriff’s Message, Week of September 11th
Finally, after the commissioners approved 1.5 million dollars a year and a half ago for our communication infrastructure upgrade, the first phase was installed this week. Our communication center (dispatch) has five stations, each with computer hardware in excess of twelve years old. As is common with outdated equipment, one station was inoperable because it was cannibalized to keep other stations working. Why the delay? When there is only one regional vendor with no competition, you are at their mercy.
We began our crisis intervention training (CIT) this week. Normally a 40 hour training session, we modified it to 20 hours due to budget constraints. We focused on mental health illnesses, intervention techniques, and available regional resources. The training was made possible by the Healthy Community Coalition of Lyon & Storey County, who reimbursed our overtime costs through grant dollars. By the end of two more training cycles, we expect to have trained 100-percent of our dispatchers and deputies, a total of 91 employees. The training has produced positive feedback from our staff.
It was extremely enlightening as we used virtual reality googles and headphones to gain insight of the mind of a person with schizophrenia. Our deputies quickly learned that their normal verbal commands may not work with the mentally ill, and they may have to change their approach to attempt to gain compliance. Because of legal issues, we are forced to change our response of entering a private home because someone is threatening suicide, which is not a crime. Law enforcement agencies across the nation are being sued because they end up shooting the suicidal person in their own home with no legal reason to be in the home.
Part of training included techniques aimed at resolving deadly encounters in public places with mentally ill persons armed with an edged weapon such as a sword or knife, or bludgeoning weapons such as a bat or metal pipe. Unfortunately, we do not currently have the required equipment for this type of crisis in our patrol vehicles, which leaves us with a pistol as our only option if the situation goes bad. We can’t get close enough to use a Taser, and if we try to get close, we could easily incite a deadly shooting. At a cost of approximately $16,000, we have been working on some corporation grants to find funding for this important equipment.
And finally, I have spent the last 34 continuous years of my life sweating, bleeding, and crying as I have sworn an oath to protect and defend this nation, its Constitution and Bill of Rights to safeguard the liberties for all its citizens. While it is certainly their right to disrespect every law enforcement officer, these over-paid and uneducated mouthpieces have no idea the challenges we face every day. Until the NFL issues an apology to the law enforcement community and forces these voices of dissent in the locker rooms until after the playing of our national anthem, I will not watch another NFL game, nor will I buy any product that promotes the NFL. That is my 1st Amendment right, one I will exercise.
As always, keep the faith.