Another American festival has come and gone. It was quite fascinating to see many unique and innovative costumes in the City of Fernley’s Spooktacular or at the Vineyard’s “Night of Light.” Both events reported combined attendance in excess of 3,500 people.
This festival has become a favorite annual event for our V.I.P.s, who go out in search of trick or treaters to hand out candy. It does increase our neighborhood presence to deter criminal activities. Several major crime and S.I.U. detectives were out in Fernley and Dayton conducting sex offender home compliance checks on registered offenders. Overall, it was a fun and safe night for our children.
We launched our Sex Offender Watch site this week. There is a quick link on our main Sheriff Office webpage at http://lyon-county.org/17/Sheriff
Pursuant to law, persons convicted of sex crimes are required to annually register with the state through their local law enforcement offices. The state determines their tier level. Tiers II and III are considered high risk for recidivism and are placed on watch lists. During Governor Gibbons’ administration, they attempted to place Tier I offenders on public information lists, but the ACLU fought it. Tier I offenders are required to annually register, but their information is not available to the public. While I personally believe all persons convicted of sex offenses should be placed on public watch lists, we must abide by current laws.
Because imperfect humans work in the system, mistakes are unfortunately made. Recently, an old case was prosecuted through a jury trial. The defendant was convicted three counts of sexual assault on a child, one count of lewdness with a child under 14, and one count of open and gross lewdness, following a week-long trial. Sadly, the initial disclosure was made in 2006. Unfortunately mandatory reporting procedures were not followed and thus enabled the pedophile to commit two additional offenses in subsequent years on another child.
This was one of the last cases I did as a detective in 2014. It is refreshing to see that our DA’s Office prosecuted the case, which was not a “he said, she said,” but a “he said, they said.” In the end, two young women’s stories of being sexually assaulted as children were heard and believed by a jury of their peers. Now they can move on with their lives; hopefully believing in a system, although imperfect, will defend victims of crime.
Last night the 6th annual Awaken banquet was held. Awaken is an organization that combats sexual exploitation and trafficking. In excess of 700 people were in attendance as we listened to speakers talk about local problems. It was absolutely sickening to listen stories of young girls, as young as 11 from Northern Nevada who had entered into this dark world. Awaken volunteers finds these victims and helps them come out of the sexual exploitation and trafficking world.
And finally, we received a message from a citizen whom we arrested more than two years ago in Silver Springs. With over 500 days sober, we again were dealing with another domestic call. This time, he was extremely impressed with the professionalism, extraordinary restraint, and patience our deputies displayed while taking a person into custody. This citizen was “in awe of how deputies were able to take this individual into custody without harming him or having to deploy less-lethal measures,” and that witnessing this encounter “has reaffirmed and restored his confidence in our agency and law enforcement in general.”
How do we change the culture? One citizen at a time.
As always, keep the faith.