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NYE TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Sheriff’s office to get new breathalyzers, body cams, more

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office is poised to see an influx of a variety of new technology thanks to the funds generated by the Public Safety Sales Tax.

Assessed at a rate of a half-cent per dollar, the Public Safety Sales Tax was established just over nine years ago and now regularly generates over $2 million per year. Nye County Sheriff Joe McGill went before the Nye County Commission this month to provide an overview of what his department would like to do with the money in the coming weeks, plans which include the purchase of new software, breathalyzers, body and dash cameras and more.

One of the innovations that will be coming to NCSO is the ability for law enforcement to view what is occurring at a scene while speaking with the reporting party. This is facilitated through software known as “Prepared Live”.

“What happens when you call 911 from your cell phone is, the dispatcher will be able to send a link to your cell phone from his or her dispatch terminal that can activate the camera on your phone,” McGill detailed during the commission’s May 16 meeting. He emphasized that the camera can only be turned on if the caller positively acknowledges the action by clicking on the link and giving permission.

“That opens the camera and then the dispatcher and responding deputies can see exactly what is going on around you when you are on the phone with us. That is a very good tool, number one because we have firsthand information, we have eyes on what’s going on. Secondly, it also records for future data entry purposes,” McGill said.

Upgraded preliminary breath test devices are on the list, too, bringing greater safety to deputies who are using a breathalyzer. As McGill noted, the devices currently being used exhaust a driver’s breath into an officer’s face, and many of them are quite old or even unusable.

The contract NCSO had for body and dash cameras has recently expired and McGill said his office had decided to look into the possibility of a new provider. “We have found much better technology in the five, six, seven years that GETAC has been used here. Things have changed and really, in all honesty, GETAC has not caught up… So we chose to go with LensLock,” McGill stated.

He reported that LensLock’s systems allow for more and better storage as well as increased ease-of-use. Additionally, the new dash cameras will act something like a smart camera, in which data can be shared with other agencies.

NCSO is also aiming to update its internal policies, with the private company Lexipol selected for the purpose.

“Lexipol is a nationwide organization that contracts with law enforcement agencies across the country,” McGill stated. “And what they do is, they will take our policies and procedures and they can either revamp them based on what is the best practice in the law enforcement field, or we can purchase a package from them, which is basically a whole new policy manual and what you get is based on best practices as well as local legislation… It’s a really good program and it also provides for training online.”

The Public Safety Sales Tax spending plans cover five separate areas, including Pahrump, Beatty, Gabbs, Manhattan and Nye County. Supplies for the department’s jail property sealer, reoccurring costs and the previously approved purchase of new radar equipment were included in the plans, as was a $1.23 million expenditure for payroll in the Pahrump area specifically. With all costs factored in, the total comes to approximate $2.27 million, which is to be borne proportionately across all five areas.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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