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Sheriff’s department to begin new programs, fine-tune existing ones

by F.T. Norton

Freshman Sheriff Kenny Furlong’s goals for 2004 seem like a piece of cake when you hear how enthusiastically he details them.

“I am committed to continuing our thrust at bringing our community and the Sheriff’s Department as close together as possible in the coming year,” he said.

One of the biggest goals, he said, will be to implement effective substance-abuse and violence-prevention programs.

“The volume of offenses committed in this community are drug- and alcohol-related,” said Undersheriff Steve Albertsen. “With the right program in place, we may be able to prevent kids and young adults from getting involved in activities that are very hard to pull away from.”

The department’s substance-abuse coordinator, Mary Wolkomir, has spent the past six months researching drug-resistance programs across the country. Wolkomir will take from those programs the elements to help her to create a curriculum tailored specifically to Carson community, Albertsen said.

“The Sheriff’s Department’s role in the community demands that we provide not only law enforcement support, but that we lend appropriate assistance to the education of the community regarding substance abuse,” Furlong said. “We hope to position the Sheriff’s Department as a role model at every venue in the community.”

In addition to furthering the campaign promise of “community-oriented law enforcement,” Furlong said, traffic enforcement will be stepped up in response to residents’ concerns.

“Traffic issues continue to draw the highest concern from the public and cause the most deaths,” Furlong said. “We have increased the amount of traffic units dedicated to enforcement; traffic citations are up. I am absolutely committed to the reduction of traffic incidents in the city, and I should say very proudly, they are down.”

Furlong said another goal of the department will be to find the funding for new administrative offices.

“I do not believe that the current facility offers the community the resources that are necessary for law enforcement to meet their needs,” he said. “We have inadequate facilities. If a rape victim comes in to talk to an officer, she has to do that at the front counter in front of everyone. That’s wrong.”

Furlong said, internally, the department will improve its vacancy rate to lessen overtime hours, begin a program to reward valued employees, reduce duty-related accidents, and increase job-related training.

In the past year, with the beginning of citizens’ academies and a volunteer patrol, Furlong said, the tasks have increased, but the resources have stayed the same.

“I am tremendously excited about next year. We will literally be doing more with less and will accomplish everything we strive for,” he said.

Contact F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.