Top in the state
Getting a ticket is rarely fun but with new hand-held citation devices and a new software system the state is switching over to, ticket-writing time has diminished to a swift five minutes.
The process, of replacing the old hand-held devices with the new hand-held devices has been helped along by a $10,000 grant for equipment that will buy seven new devices.
The sheriff’s office, along with two other counties, won the grant during a drawing with points toward it earned for Joining Forces activities, a program of the Department of Public Safety.
Sgt. Darrin Sloan took charge of the Joining Forces program in 2011 and through his due diligence earned two awards for himself and one for the sheriff’s office.
Sloan was awarded the Joining Forces award for outstanding leadership and coordination and additionally for outstanding performance. Sloan said he expected to get the leadership and coordination award but was surprised to get the outstanding performance award, which Sheriff Ken Furlong nominated him.
“It’s real hard to get,” said a surprised Sloan.
He also made sure the sheriff’s office earned itself the title of the most improved joining forces program in the state. Because the sheriff’s office is the last to be put onto the plaque, it gets to keep it. Sloan does not know where he plans to hang the plaque and awards yet, but he thinks one may go into the display case in the lobby of the sheriff’s office.
Sloan will not settle there, he said. Rather, he wants to earn the title of most improved a second year in a row, which is not an easy task, he well admits.
“This next year is going to be tough,” he said.
The new ticket writing devices are a big improvement over the past series because they work with the new software platform the entire state is instituting. The sheriff’s office, along with the Nevada Highway Patrol, were the testers for the new program.
It was hell before they received the Motorolas, as the officers refer to them.
“It’s been a year and a half of misery until we get these,” Sloan said, motioning to the Motorola NC-75A.
The new Motorolas have the ability to scan the barcodes on the back of new licenses and vehicle registrations. When it does that, most of the fields on a ticket get filled out, reducing the time it takes to write it significantly.
The new software system even allows warnings to be entered so a record of them exists for speeders and red-light runners alike, accessible in other counties, all using the same software.
Before Sloan took over, unspent funds were often being given back to the state. The joining forces grant funds are usually spent on overtime for officers to do additional patrol or operational work.
“He was able to pull us from the bottom of the list to the top,” Furlong said of Sloan.
He was able to do that by putting warm bodies on the road.
“A lot of it is putting workers out there,” Sloan said.
Sloan doubled the grant funds the office gets for its Joining Forces campaign, almost doubling it to $39,000. He has already submitted his application for 2014 and applied for $63,000.
“The more money I get, the bigger activities I can do, especially in these hard times,” he said.
During 2012, 1,700 cars drove through the DUI checkpoints, which are about education, he and Sheriff Furlong said.
“The check points don’t produce a lot of DUI drivers,” Sloan said.
“We’ve promoted not just the enforcement side but also the education side,” Furlong said.
Check points are not the only operation Sloan runs through Joining Forces. He also does saturation patrols, when a high number of deputies work in a certain area, looking for drunk drivers.
One of the areas Sloan said he has been trying to focus on is engagement with other agencies, from the Nevada Highway Patrol to surrounding police departments and sheriff’s offices.
Sloan even made a plan for small DUI checkpoints that can be applied to any street in Carson City.
With only a single fatality in Carson City in 2012, it appears to be working.
“He’s done an absolutely tremendous job,” Furlong said.