81°F
weather icon Clear

Policing grants accepted despite commissioner’s objections

When it comes to accepting state and federal grants for law enforcement crackdowns, Nye County commissioners have traditionally voted in favor, with the exception of first-term Commissioner Donna Cox.

On Tuesday, Cox carried on her tradition and voted against a $21,499 U.S. Department of Justice Byrne Justice Assistance Grant to provide money for sheriff’s deputies to work overtime trying to intercept drugs on highways like state highways 160, 372 and 95. It is good for two years and doesn’t require a county match. Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall, in his request, said the county has participated in the grant program for 15 to 20 years.

Cox also voted against a $20,500 Nevada Office of Traffic Safety Joining Forces grant which covers 80 percent of the cost of statewide, high visibility, multi-jurisdictional traffic enforcement events. Nye County Sheriff’s Office Grants Administrator Paula Cooper said 31 different agencies participate in the program.

Despite her objections, the other four commissioners voted to accept the outside funding.

The state program targets violators of seat belt laws, not buckling up children in passenger seats, driving under the influence of alcohol, distracted drivers and speed laws.

The goal is to decrease traffic fatalities from drivers not wearing seat belts from a three-year average of 71 fatalities to 67 fatalities by the end of a three-year period ending Dec. 31, 2015.

The goal is to reduce alcohol-impaired driving fatalities 10 percent from 93 to 84; to reduce speed-related fatalities 3 percent from 69 to 66; reduce pedestrian fatalities by 10 percent from 59 to 53 and decrease traffic fatalities overall 7 percent from 255 to 237, all during that three-year period.

The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) must be located based on the number and severity of crashes or violations in the past year. A minimum of two officers must work a site for a minimum of two hours, the STEP program highly encourages a minimum of two stops per hour per officer.

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office is planning a crackdown on impaired drivers from Oct. 19 to Nov. 3, a “Click it or Ticket” seat belt campaign Nov. 13 to Dec. 2., another crackdown on impaired drivers Dec. 12 to Jan. 5, 2015 and again Jan. 16 to Feb. 2, 2015.

“It’s not against the law to be intoxicated as a passenger in a vehicle, so we don’t give tickets for that unless it’s violation of the stipulation for probation or parole,” Marshall said.

Cox outlined her opposition vote to the two grants to the Pahrump Valley Times afterwards.

“For one thing they’re grants and most grants come with strings attached and some of the strings are not very good for the public. All these grants come out of somebody’s pockets they’re not free and I also don’t believe in building a police state and I have some real concerns with what direction some of these grants are actually going to go in the future. First it started out with it’s going to be volunteer seat belt law and now look at where we’re at,” Cox said.

“Now we have to have a grant to enforce the seat belt law,” she said. “I think we have too much government control as it is and at some point people are going to have to take control of themselves.”

Cox is president of the Concerned Citizens for a Safe Community, a group originally formed in opposition to the construction of the federal detention center in Pahrump, which holds weekly meetings on a variety of topics. Cox said most motorists wouldn’t want to drive without a seat belt on many roads in Nye County without shoulders where drivers roll over into the desert.

Regarding the drug interdiction program, Cox didn’t think the program was effective.

“They cannot show me after spending all this money we have any less drugs than we ever had.” she said.

Commissioners did vote unanimously in favor of accepting a $5,828 U.S. Department of Justice State Alien Criminal Assistant Program grant for the cost of housing undocumented aliens who have committed serious crimes.

Nye County was one of 857 out of 3,140 eligible entities that successfully applied for the grant. Marshall said it is reimbursement for housing 35 inmatesin the past year for anywhere from one day to six weeks, who were then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
FEMA vaccination clinic shifts to Beatty

Hundreds of Nye County residents braved warm temperatures in order to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations in Pahrump on Thursday.

WGU unveils Essential Workers Scholarship

Western Governors University Nevada announced Wednesday a new scholarship program for essential workers seeking degrees in high-demand career fields including business, teaching, information technology and health professions, such as nursing.

Hospice symposium to focus on equity in end-of-life care

Nathan Adelson Hospice will host its 17th annual Multicultural Symposium virtually beginning at 1 p.m. April 14 with a variety of topics addressing equity in end-of-life care.

State’s tax amnesty period ends May 1 for businesses

There is less than one month left of Nevada’s Tax Amnesty program that began Feb. 1. Business entities that have unpaid tax debt can file/pay their taxes online or download the missing tax returns that are available on the Department of Taxation’s website https://tax.nv.gov/

Fleeing man arrested at gunpoint in Pahrump

One man was arrested and taken into custody following a disturbance at Bank of America just after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Nye County votes to fully reopen, sidestep mask mandate

On Tuesday, April 6, the Nye County Commission, after several hours of public comment and debate, voted 5-0 to approve fully reopening Nye County and its businesses, and to essentially do away with the mask mandate.

Letters to the Editor

Good, bad, and ugly are present in today’s society

Overnight oatmeal is power packed for pennies

When it comes to cheap eats it doesn’t get more frugal and fabulous than oatmeal. It’s a whole grain, packed with fiber and nutrients, the taste is compatible with endless variations, and costs mere pennies per serving. Are you sold yet? How about this: you can literally make it while your sleep. Does that appeal to your inner multi-tasker? Yup. Mine, too.

Drive-thru Senior Fair set at Inspirations in Pahrump

Pahrump Valley seniors should mark their calendars for Saturday, April 17 when they will have a chance to head out to the Drive-Thru Senior Fair at Inspirations Senior Living Center, where there will be a plethora of organizations gathered for an event intended to help educate the older population about the area’s many valuable resources.

Pahrump’s Community Easter Curbside hailed as huge hit

At 10 a.m. on a bright and sunny Saturday morning, a line of vehicles started forming at the NyE Communities Coalition and suddenly it was go-time for the dozens of volunteers on hand for this year’s Community Easter Curbside Pick-up Event.