Nye County commissioners Frank Carbone and Donna Cox Tuesday voted against applying for a U.S. Department of Justice grant that would pay sheriff’s deputies overtime for highway drug interdiction and won’t require any county money.
The application still passed by a 3-2 vote. The $21,399 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant would last for two years.
Carbone asked if there were any statistics to show the effectiveness of the drug interdiction.
Paula Cooper, administrative technician and grant administrator for the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, said the program prevents drugs from coming into the community and accounted for the seizure of $750,000. They concentrate on areas outside of Pahrump, like Highway 95 and Highway 160, where people may be bringing drugs into the community, she said.
“We believe with our current law we have the ability to random stop. What’s the process we use to stop an individual and ask if there’s narcotics there?” Carbone asked.
Cooper said he would have to ask the deputies with the training; sheriff’s officials weren’t at the meeting.
Cox said just because the grants are available Nye County shouldn’t always be jumping on board.
“I don’t know why we would hve officers going up there doing overtime. At some point officers have to sleep also. If they’re working their standard shifts that should be enough. We shouldn’t be putting them on overtime every chance we get,” Cox said. “This is a grant that maybe should be going to the highway patrol.”
Commissioner Dan Schinhofen noted if the application is approved, the grant will still have to come back to commissioners for approval.
In March, Cox and Carbone voted against applying for a $140,582 Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant to continue paying the salaries of two full-time drug detectives, a part-time office assistant and drug buy money. That grant requires a $151,660 match from Nye County. At the time, Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall said not applying for the grant would dissolve the narcotics team. Cox questioned whether hiring the detectives did any good in combating drug use and asked for statistics.