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October 1, 2014

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Inmate release part of new North Las Vegas plan to reduce jail staffing

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Justin M. Bowen

One of many billboards put up by The North Las Vegas Police Officer Association is displayed on the corner of Craig Road and Bruce Street Thursday, July 7, 2011. The signs were put up by the North Las Vegas Police Officer Association in response to the city lawmakers attempt to lay off 17 officers and three supervisors. A district judge put in a restraining order to prevent the layoffs, which were part of a budget reduction plan by the council last May reduce a $30 million gap in the 2012 fiscal budget.

North Las Vegas released 70 inmates from its jail Thursday, part of a plan to reduce the size of the facility brought on by a rash of correctional officers calling in sick last weekend, a city official said Friday.

The release of inmates — all of whom were nonviolent offenders — comes days after city leaders told corrections officers their jobs were in jeopardy as the city tries to balance its budget.

Nearly 50 shifts were not covered for three days last weekend due to correction officers calling in sick, he said. The sick calls forced the city to cover the shifts by paying overtime to officers.

Leonard Cardinale, president of the Police Supervisors Association, criticized the city’s move.

“Rather than pay overtime, they would release 70 inmates into the city of North Las Vegas,” Cardinale said.

Cardinale denied any suggestion the sick calls were orchestrated as part of a work action by union members.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a strike at all,” said Cardinale. He said talk of impending layoffs was creating undue stress for many officer worried about losing their jobs and what will happen to their families.

“There will be layoffs,” Bedwell said. How many, he said, depends on ongoing talks between the city and its police unions.

Bedwell defended the downsizing in light of the sick calls.

“We cannot make our officers work all the time,” Bedwell said. “It’s not efficient.”

A city judge had ordered the release of the inmates. Those released were close to finishing their sentences for nonviolent misdemeanor crimes like not paying speeding tickets, driving on a suspended license or shoplifting, Bedwell said.

The releases are part of a plan to shut down a wing of the jail, Bedwell said.

About 150 employees work at the jail, which holds about 200 inmates at any given time serving sentences of no longer than six months.

Cardinale said police department heads and city officials are in talks with Metro Police and Henderson Police about possibly using jails in those jurisdictions to house North Las Vegas criminals. He criticized that idea, too.

“That’s not an efficient way to use the taxpayers’ money,” he said.

North Las Vegas leaders say a down economy and high foreclosure and unemployment rates have caused revenue streams to dry up and left the city with a $33 million budget gap to plug. Part of their plan to trim expenditures is to win additional concessions from the city’s police and firefighter unions. Those unions say they’ve made substantial concessions in past years.

North Las Vegas city leaders have until June 1 to present a balanced budget to the state.

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  1. "Low level criminals can easily morph into more serious offenses (and probably will) when they are released. Nice job NLV. You've unleashed 70 more undesirables back into your community."

    TomD -- your lynch mob has convened at the NLV Commons and wants to know who to string up next

    "Although the most clear-sighted judges of witches and even the witches themselves were convinced the witches were guilty of witchcraft, no guilt in fact existed. So it is with all guilt." -- Friedrich Nietzsche 1882 "Gay Science"

  2. Could we get the State to release non-violent offenders like people convicted of possession of SMALL amounts of controlled substances and uncontrolled illegal substances? Could we get the State to release for deportation the illegals in our prisons costing us $50,000 A DAY according to the Nevada Supreme Court? Can we end the focus on simple possession offenses (save the law enforcement and court costs) by Americans so we can focus on the RECURRING CRIME by illegals stealing from American victims AND stealing from our government agencies?

  3. America incarcerates a larger portion of it's people than any other "civilized" country. Could be refocus on those who are dangerous instead of technical violations? End mandatory sentencing for non-violent crime.

  4. The real issue here is if the citizens of NLV are going to continue to allow the police/union to use intimidation, extortion and other tactics to get their way while claiming the city is the problem. If the police have a realistic suggestion on where the money to pay these increases is going to come from, I'd like to hear it. Taking into consideration their ranking on the national pay scale as reported I'd think they'd be a little more careful about stirring a pot they may not be able to drink.

    Their spokesman posted a response last week claiming that they have never refused the requests by the city for concessions on pay raises and uniform allowances, yet they still haven't signed an agreement. How stupid do they think the public is? Evidently they think we are easily duped.

    I don't know about you but I don't see patrols in my neighborhood and the same crimes continue to repeat at the same locations as reported by Crime View. Now I know that's not the only measure of effectiveness but in the face of this lack of fidelity to their oath as demonstrated by these tactics - the blue flu - and the insult of actions like the signs, I'm beginning to wonder who's on who's side.

    I'm wiling to listen to both sides but I don't take well to threats and intimidation tactics. It seems that it's time for our citizens to begin to take a more direct involvement and apply pressure where needed.

  5. This action brings to the light of day a system that is very broken. When a person is tried and sentenced to jail, it is supposed to serve either these purposes: 1-to REHABILITATE that individual,2-to punish an individual for an act violating the laws of the land, and or 3-to keep a danger to society off the streets and out of society.

    The Judge made a difficult, but good call. To go further, our society should be looking at the purpose and goals of incarceration and carefully form an evaluation of our current positions on them. As society does that, it would determine whether or not a practice is effective and an efficient use of taxpayer resources. This analysis is a healthy way to decide how well laws are working and if the laws themselves need revisiting due to our ever-changing world.

    It is hardly efficient to wherehouse traffic ticket offenders, jay walkers, etc. as they pose no real danger, just an attitude and behavior check, which attending rehabilitative sessions may encourage them to change for the better. Think REHABILITATION. Many can change, and in the process, we can determine those who are "hard wired" towards destructive criminality and weed them out of the masses into more permanent confinement.

    Having worked with juveniles who commited felonies, and witnessing more efficient uses of resources,I have come to this opinion.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  6. People....save yoursef a lot of time, disappointment and discuss. Our so called leaders are going to do what they want and you can bet there will be little, too no logic. They have No Common Sense. Half of them wouldn't know what binders are, or what they are for. Although, you can bet, they put them on, before making a decision that effect all of us.

  7. "America incarcerates a larger portion of it's people than any other "civilized" country."

    Roslenda -- funny how that little factoid escapes so many here in "the land of the free and the home of the brave"

    "It is hardly efficient to wherehouse [sic] traffic ticket offenders, jay walkers, etc. as they pose no real danger, just an attitude and behavior check, which attending rehabilitative sessions may encourage them to change for the better."

    star -- "efficient" is not the operative term here, "just" is the standard ALL government acts are required to measure up to. All these minor offenses are crimes only because stupid and clueless lawmakers violated their oaths and made them so. All that is finally coming back to bite everyone. And show how broken government really is.

    It's not just happening here. Check out what happens when the people get fed up @ http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/in...

    Imagine that -- government getting off the people's backs, just like the Bill of Rights promised.

    "Where once the criminal law might have stood as a well-understood and indisputable statement of shared norms in American society, now there is only a bloated compendium that looks very much like the dreaded federal tax code. The end results can be downright ugly: a soccer mom thrown in jail in a small Texas town for failing to wear a seatbelt; a 12-year-old girl arrested and handcuffed for eating french fries in a Metro station in Washington, DC; and defendants serving 25-year to life sentences in California prisons for, among other things, pilfering a slice of pizza." -- "Overextending the Criminal Law" @ http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/v...

  8. "You seem to have no problem at all with wanting to rip-up legally negotiated and binding contracts involving public employees..."

    smartone618 -- no, whoever represented the public making those contracts must take part of the blame. Contracts are hardly carved in stone -- they involve principles of equity, including unconscionability, frustration of purpose, mitigation, acts of angry gods, etc.

    "Do something illegal...face the consequences without complaint ( if you don't know what the potential consequences are..your loss)."

    TomD -- according to your "Common sense 101," do you see anything wrong with meeting someone in Kingman to buy something from you, he pays you the agreed price of $5,001.00 cash, and you come back to Vegas with the cash in your pocket?

    "I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least'; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically." -- Henry David Thoreau 1849 "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience"

  9. "I've known for years you cannot carry large sums of cash on an airplane without declaring it. I would surmise the same for going over any state line."

    TomD -- you win a cookie. It's a federal felony to do so without first filing a certain IRS cash declaration.

    My point is laws are intentionally designed to be tricks and traps without any consideration whatsoever of their Constitutional authority. They have little to do with common sense it all, and even less with one's rights. Like being deprived of your property without that law complying with due process.

    "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rulemaking or legislation which would abrogate them." -- Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491 (1966)

  10. TomD: property crime is violent crime unless someone left something on a sidewalk. Breaking and entering is violent as is home invasion.... Biggest issue of Americans in jail / prison is possession. Mandatory sentencing. Haven't you heard about the 20 years for personal-use size grass?

  11. Since most cannot hold a job, cannot rent an apartment, cannot afford transportation they will be headed back to jail soon. If the city wanted to save money, it would try to train these people to do something constructive, like painting and see if they can handle a part time job. Without the skills to remain out - they will return.

  12. TomD

    We are allowed to carry upto 10,000 usd without having to report it. It's not 5. A person should be able to have as much cash as they want. It's a silly law and used to confiscate money from the people for the governments growth, plain and simple.

  13. I'm not sure how true this is, but based on my life experience, it's the criminals and uneducated that produce more offspring than those higher intellect.

    If that hypothesis is correct then isn't North Las Vegas more or less a potential indicator of the future of near by communities?

  14. TomD1228...I was wondering if you have adequately researched the Federal Laws regarding posting information under anything other than your true and legal name. Something tells me you haven't.

    @Killer B...Let's not forget the 17-year-old Texas HONOR STUDENT sent to jail for missing too many days of school while holding down both a full and part-time job in order to support her and her younger sister without any public assistance. Oh yeah, she was also taking both advanced and college level courses.