The past two months have been spent reviewing and preparing our fiscal year 2018-2019 budget requests, which was finalized and submitted this week. This budget request analyzed three years of crime trends, workloads, demands for services, response times and officer safety factors for patrol, jail, dispatch, and investigations. While our past three budget cycles were equipment and technology focused, our primary focus this year was staffing increase requests on identified critical shortages in anticipation of county growth.
The jail’s average daily prisoner population (ADP) increased by 26-percent last year from 77.75 to 98.36. Two mandated jail functions were identified with critical shortages: court & prisoner transport services and control tower & intake observation. With only two deputies assigned to court & prisoner transport services, they provide support to three justice courts, one municipal court, district court, specialty courts (i.e., drug court); prisoner transports for out of facility emergency medical treatment and routine appointments; and regional and intrastate prisoner extraditions. Additionally, control room operators are at minimum staffing levels for 12-hour shifts to operate the facility control tower and staff the prisoner intake observation area. We make things work by a lot of mandatory overtime.
We asked for an increase of three jail deputies for court & prisoner transport services to provide scheduled services for twenty hours a day, seven days a week. When these deputies are not actively engaged with primary duties, they will transport north county arrests from the Dayton, Fernley, and Silver Springs substations to keep patrol deputies in their assigned areas longer. We also asked for two more deputies to change control room operators shifts to an 8-hour schedule instead of mandated 12-hour shifts. When we increase patrol staff, we increase the number of arrests. Therefore, we first need to increase jail staff to support prisoner increases. This is has to be our primary focus.
Our secondary focus is dispatchers. On average, the telephone rings every 4 minutes and 45 seconds and they are processing an ambulance, fire, or police call every 11 minutes and 40 seconds. Even on mandatory 12-hour shift, sometimes they are doing it with only two trained dispatchers in the center. There should be one shift supervisor and three dispatchers (one call taker, one on the fire/ambulance radio, and one on the law enforcement radio) in the center at all times based on the number of incoming telephone calls and processing public safety calls for service. To have one shift supervisor and three trained dispatchers for each of the four 12-hour relief shifts requires sixteen budgeted dispatchers. Currently, there are just a total of thirteen budgeted dispatcher and shift supervisor positions. This is unacceptable for all of Lyon County’s public safety needs. We have asked for an increase of one shift supervisor and two dispatchers to meet the minimum mandatory staffing level for the mandated 12-hour shifts.
Our patrol and detectives have done a phenomenal job with their allocated staff. Initial data shows our violent Index Crime Rate (Type I crimes) dropped again in 2017 because of the job they did in proactive policing that targeted the less violent crimes (Type II crimes). Two years ago we restructure our shifts and staffing and it significantly reduced workloads for greater community policing. In order to sustain it, we need two additional deputies. We also see the county’s greatest vulnerability threat in the time/space between Silver Springs and Dayton. We asked for an increase of two deputies to add ten additional hours of coverage in Stagecoach to reduce response times for citizen calls for services and improve officer safety requirements.
We will have to wait on final numbers to see if our request are approved. Realistically, we know that county’s economic growth will not support all of our requests, but it is accurate assessment of what is “needed,” not what is “wanted.”
And finally, it was humbling to be awarded the 2018 Silver Thistle award last night by the Nevada Society of Scottish Clan at the annual Robert Burn’s Dinner in the GSR. Thank you!