Supervisors appoint Bruketta, review jail stats, airport plan

A table from Carson City Sheriff’s Office showing inmate incidents for May and April and year to date in 2024.

A table from Carson City Sheriff’s Office showing inmate incidents for May and April and year to date in 2024.

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Starting Aug. 5, Carson City will have a new Justice of the Peace in Justice and Municipal Court Department 2 – Melanie Bruketta.

Wednesday, the Carson City Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a temporary appointment of Bruketta effective Aug. 5 through Jan. 5, 2025, until Bruketta’s new full term begins.

The appointment will fill the seat vacated by First Judicial Court Judge Kristin Luis, who was temporarily appointed by Gov. Joe Lombardo and will compete with attorney Mark Krueger in the general election in November.

Bruketta won the June 11 Primary Election with more than 50 percent of the vote and will not go to the general election. She was among three candidates interviewed by supervisors on Feb. 1 for a temporary appointment, but the board ultimately postponed the appointment to after the June primary.

“At this point in time, I would like to thank all of my supporters,” Bruketta said Wednesday.

Bruketta is a former deputy district attorney and human resources director for Carson City. Applause erupted after the appointment, and supervisors congratulated Bruketta on her new role.

“I have spent a lot of time over the years working with Melanie, you know, as the fire chief and then in the DA’s office and finally at human resources, and I know her dedication to this community and to the citizens of the community, and I know she will make a fantastic judge,” said Supervisor Stacey Giomi.

Melanie Bruketta


In other action:

• Supervisors reviewed the biannual report on any jail deaths and jail conditions as required by state law.

There were no deaths in the Carson City Jail in the six months preceding the report, CCSO officials said Wednesday.

Statistics compiled from the beginning of the year through May show total bookings from all agencies (the majority from CCSO), rising from 1,154 in the same period last year to 1,269 this year, an increase of 10 percent. Jail releases rose 19 percent from 981 over the same time in 2023 to 1,171 tracked so far in 2024. The statistics also show the average stay in jail decreasing 22 percent, from 134 days in the same period in 2023 to 104 days this year.

For inmate incidents, general contraband incidents decreased year over year in the time frame, from 2 to 1, but drug contraband incidents increased from 3 to 4. Strip searches also increased from 16 incidents in 2023 to 19 so far this year; however, overall searches dropped by 48 percent from 1,008 last year to 523 this year. And use of force incidents dropped by 50 percent, from 8 incidents last year to 4 so far this year.

Medical emergencies at the jail increased 53 percent, from 19 last year to 29 so far this year, the report shows. Sheriff Ken Furlong told the Appeal the higher number of medical emergencies reflects conditions of inmates coming into the jail and includes transfers to the emergency room. There is medical staff during daytime hours at the jail, but Furlong believed additional medical staff for evenings and off-hours might be needed.

• Furlong, Carson City Undersheriff Jerome Tushbant and others updated supervisors on the ongoing process to replace outdated computer programs for CCSO jail, records and dispatch operations.

CCSO is investigating vendors, and Tushbant estimated the initial cost of replacement to be $2.2 million, plus projected five-year maintenance costs of $1.6 million. However, costs are subject to change upon negotiations, and Deputy City Manager Stephanie Hicks let supervisors know the replacement project was recently selected by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for federal funding, though it’s not guaranteed funding at this point.

Furlong and Tushbant agreed the replacement project will be an opportunity for any proactive operational changes within the department.

• Supervisors unanimously approved the Carson City Airport Authority’s Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2024-2029 Airport Capital Improvement Plan and two grant submissions to the Federal Aviation Administration for $500,000 with a 6.25 percent match of $33,333 from CCAA.

Mindful of the moving target of federal grant awards, supervisors modified their approval so airport staff could pursue grants in either this federal fiscal year or 2025. If awarded, the grants would fund a runway extension project starting with preliminary design and an environmental assessment. The extension would improve safety during takeoff, according to the city.

“They (aircraft) must reduce their weight to meet safety requirements for takeoff due to our airport having high density altitude,” said Airport Manager Corey Jenkins, “which essentially means aircraft have degraded performance during the summertime. We’re a high-altitude airport, and high temperatures result in what’s called high density altitude.”

Jenkins said available funding for another project, drainage and improvements in the runway safety area, was moved to 2025. The project is important, he said, because mowing vegetation close to the runway is dangerous, and the vegetation is needed to control erosion. Expanding the scope of the project into next year may lead to paved shoulders.

“This is important because in 2023 in Oklahoma, there was actually a fatality in airport operations, and that was due to mowing right next to the runway,” he said. “It’s a very dangerous activity, and our goal with this is to eliminate that risk at our airport, make it a safer operation for all.”


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