Sheriff’s Message, Week of March 11th
More than 30 years ago, an interesting public-choice theory was developed by economists called “Bootleggers and Baptists.” The theory holds that for a regulation to emerge and endure, both the “bootleggers,” who seek to obtain private benefits from the regulation, and the “Baptists,” who seek to serve the public’s interest must support the regulation. When Nevada enacted NRS 490.084, fees for issuance of off-highway vehicle (OHV) titles and annual registration in 2009, it created its own bootleggers and Baptists.
Nevada generates approximately $1m in annual registration fees and then awards grants through a selection process administered by a nine member commission panel. Trail improvements, mapping, signage, law enforcement, education, safety training, restoration, and other projects are the broad scope of the grant awards. Four of these commissioners, the bootleggers, represent the OHV dealers and four of them, the Baptists, represent the public. The ninth represents law enforcement.
While unwritten, law enforcement requests have to have a nexus with registering more OHVs, writing registration tickets, or buying OHVs, snowmobiles, and related OHV equipment to be competitive. Three years ago, we received $26k to buy SAR an OHV and trailer. Two years ago, we applied to upgrade a SAR truck and was denied. Last year, we submitted a comprehensive program to improve law enforcement responses into the newly established Walker River State Recreational Area that was endorsed by both Nevada State Parks and the Humbodlt-Toyiabe National Forest.
We were again denied because there was no nexus with revenue generation or benefiting certain private industries. Our VIPs routinely help our citizens complete OHV registration forms through VIN inspections; however, the LCSO cannot place its limited resources into OHV registration enforcement. Additionally, we can’t bring in another piece of OHV equipment into inventory without justifiable reasons and sustain increased maintenance costs.
Dayton’s town hall was very well attended this week. Most of the highway safety issues were directed at NDOT, who like everyone else is limited by funding. Nonetheless, I heard the citizen’s voices: REDUCE the SPEED LIMITS! That message will be carried into all future meetings with the state. It was also interesting to see citizen reactions when informed to use turn signals while driving in roundabouts.
Turn signals inform the next driver waiting to enter the circle, whether the vehicle is going to stay in the circle or exit. Turn signals reduce confusion and accidents. Roundabouts are very common on the east coast and turn signal signs are usually posted. However, to make it really work, vehicles in the circle have to drive slower.
This week, a note was posted on an I-80 truck stop bathroom wall in Fernley claiming a “body” was left at a certain mile marker. The highway or state was not identified. This seems to be a similar prank used in other locations throughout the nation. Our deputies rightfully processed the scene as a crime, but pranks like this tie up police resources throughout the nation as everyone searches a specific mile marker in every state.
And finally, Eric McQeury took the oath of office as our newest deputy. Raised here in Northern Nevada and living in Lyon County, he is an Army veteran of the past 13 years. Welcome Eric.
As always, keep the faith!