Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly released the department’s self-audit, including a corrective action plan for issues she believes need to be addressed.
Nye County Sheriff’s Office 2015 Audit Report was conducted to determine the command structure and the standardization of policies, processes and procedures, including the level of employee training and performance: feasibility, workability, and interaction, according to the documents.
“This audit is facts, that’s all we were after, looking at various things and weeding the facts out of them, trying to determine what we needed to change, if there was something that fell through the cracks in any prior administration that we could fix those (things) immediately and move on,” Wehrly told Nye County commissioners.
Prior to taking the office in early 2015, Wehrly had multiple conversations, orientation sessions and discussions concerning the status of internal operations with outgoing Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo.
Wehrly said she made assumptions about the condition and status of operational capabilities and level of services, facilities, and programs provided to or supporting the public and staff of the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.
Included in the presentation were 11 audits on the Pahrump Detention Center, patrol, equipment and supplies, training, evidence, administration, SWAT, K-9, Sheriff’s Auxiliary, search and rescue and the grant program.
A number of corrective actions were undertaken at the Pahrump Detention Center. Some of the changes included providing inmates with an access to the law library, a computerized system; revising the detention center Policy and Procedure Manual; moving personnel and restructuring the duties; implementing a new menu at a cost of $1.76 per meal.
Additionally, every person assigned to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office was placed on an annual evaluation schedule.
A detailed and complete pass inventory of NCSO Pahrump Substation equipment and supplies was conducted to establish a “known” base of available resources. Brand new equipment worth thousands of dollars was discovered in storage and issued to patrol and SWAT staff.
In her report, Wehrly said there was no complete inventory of equipment and supplies stored in various buildings, bunkers, transportainers, warehouses, and rooms within Nye County Sheriff’s Office substations throughout the county.
Supplies and equipment storage locations were found in various places throughout the county. There were no current or older supply/equipment listings found. It was unknown what was stored in most locations, when it was stored or where it was stored. Police equipment worth thousands of dollars was found in Pahrump in shipping packages with 2008, 2010 and 2011 shipping dates, according to the report.
Inventories are generated to account for the equipment and supplies that have been located and Wehrly said the NCSO will continue adding to the inventories as it continues to audit NCSO storage sites. There have been multiple sites located in Beatty, two located in Mercury and at least two in Tonopah, according to the report.
Several weaknesses and opportunities for development have been identified in the evidence audit.
According to the findings, the evidence section lost personnel and there’s never been a full-time evidence section supervisor to oversee the management of the three separate evidence locations in Pahrump, Beatty and Tonopah. All tasks throughout the evidence section in various locations are currently overseen by an evidence/supply sergeant.
It has been discovered that items were destroyed with no explanation, the report said. A more detailed process is in place explaining items being boxed for destruction or how the item was destroyed and by whom.
The Pahrump evidence section has property/evidence which was not packaged in accordance with policies and procedures when it was submitted to the evidence vault. The Nye County Sheriff’s Office Evidence Section has submitted a Policy and Procedure Evidence Manual to the sheriff for review and approval.
The Pahrump evidence section did not have a current inventory of the three major areas requiring control, firearms, narcotics and currency. In August 2015, a physical inventory of the firearms and currency storage areas was completed, according to the documents. Discrepancies are currently being researched.
The Nye County sheriff’s budget had not remained within approved levels and those overages were not justified as reasonable expenditures by county commissioners, according to the documents.
Six months of corrective action budget alignment included a cursory audit identifying basic required services, number, location of employees, monthly payroll and overtime expenses and resources. The projected overage without the corrective action would have been approximately $13,455,750.
The final budgetary number for this administration after implementing the corrective action is $12,940,259.
The audit process was supported by several teams. Wehrly said Nye County Commissioner Frank Carbone followed the audit process from the very beginning.
Carbone said he was aware of the findings and most of the remedial or corrective actions as they were developed and acted upon.
“I confirm the findings were not embellished in any manner,” Carbone said.
In his written statement, Carbone said that he believes the audit will help bring Nye County management and the Nye County Sheriff’s Office together while building a stronger partnership.
“And that was one of our goals,” Wehrly said. “We wanted to bring everybody back together.”
Former Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo offered a different outlook on Wehrly’s audit. He said some of the assumptions made by Wehrly in the very beginning were not true.
He said that he read Wehrly’s report and was “stunned by the misrepresentation and inaccuracies presented in it.”
In his comments, DeMeo mentioned the Nye County policy manual, detention academy training, inventory lists, firearms and ammunition.
“My administration completed inventory of all equipment supplies in all substations to include the various bunkers, buildings, containers, et cetera,” DeMeo said.
“In my 12 years as sheriff, it has never been a problem assessing required needed supplies or ammunition,” he said.
He also added that during his time in the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, they conducted category one patrols and graduated over 100 deputy sheriffs.
“If she had any questions, I offered my assistance to the sheriff time and time again, and she never ever gave me a phone call. So, if she wants to run an open transparent office, she is not,” DeMeo said.
“The audit process is ongoing as we endeavor to bring the Nye County Sheriff’s Office into compliance with the (state law) and other requirement documents,” Wehrly said.
The 2015 audit will be followed by the 2016 Nye County Sheriff’s Office audit.
Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77