Sheriff’s Message, Week of September 24th
Nevada, like every state government, has volumes of laws and regulations. Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) and Nevada Administrative Codes (NAC) are its laws, which also govern county and sheriff offices. NRS has 59 Titles with 721 chapters, while NAC has almost the same amount of corresponding chapters. The Sheriff’s Office primary concern is Title 15, Crime and Punishment, which contains 16 chapters.
Although NRS contains criminal offenses, it also has civil offenses. NAC is administrative in nature, but does contain some offenses. Are you confused yet? Now add Lyon County Code (LCC) or Fernley Municipal Code (FMC) if you live in Fernley. With their fourteen or so titles, these codes have lumped together criminal, civil, and administrative offenses.
This is a lot of information that we expect our deputies to know and memorize. Citizens want action taken when they call and deputies are bound to take action only in criminal incidents. They cannot, by policy, law and training take enforcement action in civil and/or administrative issues. Unfortunately, citizens become frustrated because they don’t understand the differences.
As an example, we receive calls for service concerning an unsightly abandoned vehicle. When called, the deputy determines if the vehicle is reported stolen. If not, they then determine whose property they are on. It is the property owner’s responsibility to remove it, if they want it removed. Many times, property owners do not live in the area, and may not take an active interest in their property, which is their right. So the vehicle continues to sit as an eyesore.
Highway patrol removes vehicles off state right of ways; the LCSO removes vehicles off county and Fernley right of ways; and BLM or other federal land owners are responsible for removing junk vehicles off their property just like any other private property owner. Although there is a criminal offense of abandoning the vehicle on someone else’s property, the challenge is proving who did it; especially when DMV records no longer exist after five years and the vehicle has been passed from one person to another without any record of sale. Nonetheless, the removal of any abandoned vehicle from private property is a civil issue.
We are seeing vehicle accident increases on the USA Parkway, the Hwy 50 roundabout, and horse versus vehicle on Hwy 50. The Storey County Sheriff informed me they have responded to over 100 vehicle accidents on their section of the USA Parkway prior to the highway fully opening. We will be asking NHP to get a greater presence in this area. Also alarming is the number of horses were are seeing on the wrong side of highway fencing. Sadly, if the federal and state governments do not begin implementing a viable management policy to control excessive herd populations, we will continue to experience additional accidents and potential loss of life.
And finally, the LCSO hosted a 40 hour Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) course this week. CIT is a community policing model that brings together law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency departments and individuals with mental illness and their families to improve responses to people in crisis. This type of training is supportive of the Presidential Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The student from Humboldt and Churchill Counties included deputy sheriffs, police officers, and ambulance crews; and included employees from the LCSO, Lyon County Human Services, and Department of Corrections staff. Congratulations to all of those graduates.
As always, keep the faith.