After a good deal of time and controversy, the Nye County Sheriff’s new impound lot is finished and already in use.
Sitting on just the other side of the road from the county’s animal shelter and nearby where the new jail is being constructed, the new lot is much more secure than the temporary lot used before.
It has high fences covered with razor wire all around the lot and multiple light posts with cameras lining the perimeter for security.
The new impound lot also has a freshly paved blacktop with lined parking spaces so impounded vehicles have a designated spot to be parked.
And the space has two large metal storage garages and one large metal storage container that the department can use for various needs.
Currently, some of the space in the storage areas is being used to store toys that the D.A.R.E program and other members of the department can donate to needy children.
The lot will mainly be used, however, for storing vehicles and some evidence from investigations officers are working on, as well as some department equipment, such as training cars, that won’t fit anywhere else.
The vehicles brought into the lot are mainly those seized or recovered for investigations.
The new impound lot fixes many of the problems the department faced when attempting to securely store seized vehicles.
The temporary lot had no security system in place and was surrounded by only a short fence — car burglaries were called a “weekly occurrence” by one top official.
And while this new lot is an improvement on what the department has had in the past, it isn’t without its flaws.
There is no razor wire, for instance, over the gates into the compound. The way the cars are parked makes towing them in and out difficult. Some of the lights are already burned out and the wheels on the gates are defective.
Payment for the new impound lot is being lumped in with the jail construction budget.
In October the county commissioners approved a $429,878 change order to the new jail budget to pay for the impound lot.
Though it took only around six months to construct the lot, a new one was supposed to be in the works as early as October 2010.
During that time the sheriff’s office was given about a week to move all of the property stored at the old impound lot to a new lot owned by private storage company Advantage Self Storage on Lola Lane.
This was supposed to be a temporary move that would last no more than 12 weeks while construction started on a new impound lot.
Those 12 weeks came and went, however, as did almost an entire year, with no progress made on the new lot.
In September 2011 an agenda item came before the county commissioners asking them to approve payment for an additional 25 spots that the sheriff’s office was already using at the private storage area.
Commissioner Joni Eastley reportedly scolded Sheriff Tony DeMeo on the item and wondered if he had set the county up to pay for something that the commissioners hadn’t approved.
DeMeo responded that he hadn’t known about it until after the fact and told commissioners a sheriff’s department volunteer had approved the extra spaces.
By September 2011, the county had spent approximately $43,000 in storage fees and the monthly cost for storing the cars was going to go up to $2,375 per month with the increased amount that needed to be stored.
Now that the lot is finished, members of the department seem glad to have the new, more secure lot that they can call their own.