Attorney general, staff take the hard questions
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt visited Fallon yesterday for a first-time community meeting as part of the office’s “AG for a Day” tour.
Fallon was the group’s first stop in Northern Nevada.
“He thinks like we do, and we think that’s a big step in the right direction,” said Arthur Mallory, Churchill County district attorney, as he opened the meeting for Laxalt and his team.
Laxalt’s grandfather, Paul Laxalt, is the former Nevada governor who inspired the meeting series idea with his “Capital for a Day” tour in 1968.
“I’m here and ready to receive,” said Laxalt, who visited Naval Air Station Fallon earlier. Laxalt served as a U.S. Navy officer and had a tour in Iraq.
Keeping tradition, both Laxalt and his staff, who represented major state government divisions, are taking their office directly to residents. The aim gives individuals in each county the opportunity to voice their concerns, ask questions and receive first-hand responses, as well as help for Laxalt’s office to construct targeted solutions.
About 40 attendees, varying from civilians to law enforcement, also learned more about the office including its programs and resources that operate with its 400 employees and $100 million budget. Laxalt’s senior leaders present were experts in the state’s military legal assistance program, state agency services and issues related to domestic violence, guardianships and elder abuse, consumer fraud trends, open government and federal overreach.
“Nobody really knows the breadth of the office,” Laxalt said about why he brought a cross-section of senior management.
Arlene Rivera, the office’s domestic violence ombudsman, said Nevada is one of the top five states in which women are killed by men. Last year, their office provided 41,000 individuals with support, 49,000 sheltered nights and 137,000 referrals. She can be reached at 702-486-5714 or email@example.com.
Shawn Bowen, the office’s deputy chief investigator, stated how they investigate cases ranging from human trafficking to consumer scams. They have started using new software to increase agency-to-agency communication. Bowen also said they focus on keeping 100 percent compliance with the sex offender sentencing, monitoring, apprehending, registering and tracking (SMART) grant that originated last year.
Daniel Westmeyer, senior deputy attorney general, discussed recent consumer and insurance fraud cases. Many recent scams center on giving out financial information over the phone. Westmeyer cautioned individuals against doing this even if the caller ID says the source is from the Internal Revenue Service, a reputable charitable organization or a law enforcement facility holding a relative. There have also been cases related to unloading timeshares.
He advised people to take down the caller’s information and phone the official organization to confirm. He also suggested having a family safe word in case emergencies arise.
Nic Danna, special assistant to the Attorney General Office of Military Legal Assistance, shared information on the state’s military legal assistance program, the country’s first. The program offers service members free representation, from judgment to filing, for those who can’t afford an attorney, or for those families in need of additional assistance with wills, powers of attorney and legal advice. Danna said many times a service member is deployed when things such as housing or former employment go awry.
“Hopefully, you’ve noticed how seriously we take this job and how hard we’re working,” Laxalt said at the end of the presentation, mentioning how his office is doing things that haven’t been done in the past. “The amount of things we can do to help the state is virtually limitless.”
Laxalt said how being an active, effective office is a principle he promoted during his 2014 election.
“We couldn’t do what we do without all the senior leadership we have,” he said.
A time for questions as well as post-meeting discussions was given with residents who asked about land use and personal issues. Laxalt discussed how the East Coast has no idea how much federal land there is in the West, particularly Nevada. He also said he’s happy to look at any proposal that comes across his desk and offered to meet one-on-one with attendees before leaving.