Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo on Tuesday adamantly denied requesting any money from the town in exchange for providing security during last weekend’s inaugural biker rally at Petrack Park.
Earlier this week Town Manager Susan Holecheck and Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan said they were both surprised that the sheriff made the request after informing the town that security for the event will be the town’s responsibility during a special meeting regarding the proposed event last year.
Holecheck said town officials wanted the sheriff’s department involved, but DeMeo did not express any interest in partnering with the town until one day before the rally when he inquired about security.
The town manager said DeMeo requested $10,000 to provide additional deputies for the event.
“We could have determined how much security we would have needed but the sheriff shows up on Thursday morning to ask where’s your security?” she said.
On Wednesday of this week, DeMeo said nothing could be further from the truth.
“That’s not what happened and I don’t think they even knew what they were doing. I went to the park on Thursday to find out where all the venues that are participating in the event and what security measures were being taken,” he said.
According to the town’s contract with Roadshows Inc., the town shall staff and operate parking areas utilized for the event as well as be responsible for the retention of individuals to provide security for the event.
DeMeo noted that when the town board approved sponsoring the event, they enlisted crews from Nye County Search and Rescue to assist with parking and security.
“The people that they were using for the parking lot and security did not have any authority to provide security. I then told the promoter, Randy Burke, that the Town of Pahrump was in violation of the contract they signed with him. That being the case, if anything happens I told him that he would probably be a party in a lawsuit with the Town of Pahrump and I left it at that,” DeMeo said.
The sheriff also said he was contacted by the town later that day where a meeting was scheduled to discuss the security issue.
“I got a call from the town’s Finance Director Mike Sullivan who requested a meeting with me the next day to talk about security. I can tell you this, I didn’t go down there asking for any money. I told the promoter that the Town of Pahrump was in violation of the contract and if anything happened in reference to the event, the town would be fully exposed to litigation. They came to me with money and I was kind of surprised,” he said.
Additionally, DeMeo said he and other officers worked extended hours to display a physical presence at the park for the duration of the rally.
“I worked 27 hours straight from Friday night into Saturday morning and I’ll bet none of those individuals lost any sleep. Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall was out on both nights as well. If it was only one location, we would have been okay but it was all hours of the night, all over the valley and that was part of the problem. I know what public safety is and they were not providing it for this event,” he said.
Though no serious problems were reported throughout the weekend, DeMeo said one incident at a local bar prompted him to respond personally when a deputy was denied entry to perform a routine bar check.
“They told my deputy that she could not check the bar and that’s part of the problem. Motorcycle clubs are not the law enforcement in Nye County. We are and that’s the bottom line. I had to advise that individual of the error of his ways. I was very direct in straightening him out. I was Brooklyn direct,” he said.
As town officials determine if any profit will be seen from the rally, the total cost for the event was just shy of $50,000.