Las Vegas Sun

August 19, 2014

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Turf-war measure pits police agencies against one another

CARSON CITY -- Nevada's "limited jurisdiction" police would see their authority restricted under a plan prompted, in part, by turf wars between state university officers and local police.

"Investigations of violent crimes -- murders, sexual assaults -- are for people who've been working in those areas for a long time," Metro Police Undersheriff Richard Winget told the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

"It's a public safety issue. It's about doing what's right."

"Specialization has become a requirement, not a luxury," added Metro Lt. Stan Olsen.

"This is a victim's issue. The victim has the right to have the most qualified specialist to handle their crime."

Winget, Olsen and others turned out to support Assembly Bill 220, giving main police agencies in Washoe and Clark counties clear jurisdiction in felony cases.

AB220 would require university officers to notify the primary police agency of any felony offense that occurs on university property, and then step aside once those officers arrive.

The same standard would apply to officers with traffic enforcement, jail, animal control, airport or park security responsibilities.

Judiciary Chairman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, said disputes over jurisdiction are "no-win fights."

"There's an ongoing concern about jurisdictions," Anderson said. "We are worried about the crime scene being protected. There are some agencies whose jurisdictions have expanded. The departments are in a turf war."

Opponents of AB220 said there's no reason to involve the state.

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