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Sheriff: Cuts affect jail intake and public safety
by Tribune Staff
Apr 12, 2012 | 444 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) said Wednesday that deputies and other regional law enforcement personnel are now required to spend more time off the streets when processing arrests at the Washoe County jail because of significant reduction in Detention Facility staff under county budget cuts.

“Fewer personnel make for a slower process,” Assistant Sheriff Lisa Haney said. “If our patrol deputies are required to spend more time in the Detention Facility as part of the booking process, that means less deputies on patrol.”

Over the past five years, the sheriff’s office has eliminated 106 staff positions. These low staffing levels contribute to additional delays at the intake station as supervisors must prioritize in favor of covering more critical positions within the Detention Facility.

“We’ve already been pushed to the tipping point,” Haney said. “Additional cuts to the sheriff’s office budget will seriously jeopardize our ability to meet federal mandates that require us to operate a safe and secure detention facility, and continue to decrease the amount of time our deputies are on the street fighting crime.”

The intake process ensures inmates are legally, securely and safely booked into the Detention Facility. The process includes positive identification of the arrestee, fingerprinting, background checks, a medical examination and review of the deputy’s arrest report and proclamation of probable cause.

Arresting officers may be delayed up to two hours depending on the number of arrests being processed at any given time, a WCSO release said. Factors such as uncooperative or combative arrestees and unscheduled changes to daily staffing levels lead to additional delays.

Officers must remain at the jail to assist with the accurate completion of the intake process.

“As budget reductions continue and staff is required to take on even more additional duties; it creates an environment ripe for mistakes” Haney said. “Our resources will be spread so thin, that it will create a domino effect that will negatively impact all law enforcement and increase liability to the taxpayer.”

Residents with concerns are encouraged to contact their county commissioner or the Washoe County manager’s office.

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