Actually, we’ve been leading the way in community policing for years.

September 6, 2014

A major part of my candidacy is the idea that we need to be tough on crime to keep our community safe but that we can also be smart about how we fulfill that mission. Working smartly means that we should look for ways to leverage our existing resources with private partnerships, while never losing sight of the fact that the sheriff’s office is primarily a public safety agency. Long-term partnerships with private resources opens the door to providing services which are more flexible and more targeted towards problematic behavior that results in inmate recidivism.

The truth is, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office has been leading the way for years in forming partnerships through community policing.

One example of this is the use of therapeutic courts. The sheriff’s office has long partnered with our county courts to provide therapeutic courts for offenders with drug issues, mental health issues, and for our veterans who suffer from service related injuries. Therapeutic courts have shown success in reducing recidivism, both locally and nationally. These courts work with a variety of resources to customize a court resolution that brings the offender into contact with resources which can help the offender deal with the underlying issues in his or her life which may be contributing to their criminal behavior.

Another example of this, and one which you’ll hear more about in the near future, is our jail re-entry program. Sheriff Lucas tasked his corrections branch with developing a program in which inmates in the Clark County Jail could connect with resources they’ll need upon their release from custody, while still serving their sentences in the Clark County Jail. Over the last year the corrections branch of the sheriff’s office has developed what appears to be a very effective program of matching inmates with services they’ll need upon their release.

Another partnership that we’ll further develop over the next four years is with our retailers who suffer from organized retail theft. Organized retail theft groups often target large retailers with a variety of scams, ranging from simple theft to complicated fraud schemes involving identity theft and gift card fraud. When these types of organized crimes occur, the evidence needed to discover the crime and prosecute the offenders often resides on the retailer’s computer servers and on their store video surveillance systems. Patrol deputies and our detectives don’t have the time or the resources to conduct the long-term investigations necessary to dismantle these types of organized crime rings.

This is why I will partner with groups like the Northwest Organized Retail Crime Alliance (NWORCA). NWORCA is an alliance of industry-based investigators, often retired law enforcement officers, that conduct their own long-term investigations of organized retail crime rings. As industry investigators, they have the time to devote to these investigations, access to the equipment and surveillance systems of the retailers, and the ability to document their investigations in a way that meets our needs for later prosecution. To be successful, NWORCA needs the support of local law enforcement agencies so they can partner with local detectives to do the work that requires a sworn law enforcement officer. Our role in these types of cases is to review their investigations, author and execute search warrants for evidence, make arrests, and eventually forward the cases to the prosecuting attorney’s office for prosecution.

There are many more examples of community partnerships I could mention. All of them are important and all of them contribute in one way or another to providing a higher level of public safety. This, of course, is the lens through which we should view all of our community partnerships; do they help contribute to an increased level of public safety. That, after all, is our primary mission.

I’d like to make one more comment on community policing and partnerships, and this is really directed towards my coworkers at the sheriff’s office. Unfortunately my opponent has made statements that would cause one to think you or I have never heard of community policing or partnerships. Perhaps it is unintentional, but he’s giving people the impression that you and I have not been doing community policing. I know from my own 35 year career with the sheriff’s office, and from working side by side with many of you on these long-term issues, that you have been community policing leaders in this state for many, many years.

Community policing, partnerships, finding innovative solutions, are not new ideas. You and I have been innovating for the last two decades and we will continue to innovate in how we provide public safety services to the citizens of Clark County. Experience, integrity, and leadership matter when it comes to leading a large law enforcement agency. I will never take credit for your hard work and I will always remember who is really responsible for the success of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

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