Pubdate: Sat, 15 Feb 2003
Source: Nevada Appeal (NV)
Copyright: 2003 Nevada Appeal
Author: Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau 


Police chiefs and sheriffs say Gov. Kenny Guinn's plan to eliminate
multi-county drug task forces would open the door to drug traffickers --
especially in rural Nevada.

Guinn's plan would eliminate state support for drug enforcement operations
including TriNet, which operates in Douglas, Lyon and Carson City.

Philip Brown of the Nevada Division of Investigation told legislators the
budget would reduce authorized staff from 79 to 40. Deputy Public Safety
Director Dave Kieckbush said Guinn believes sheriffs and police have primary
responsibility for drug-busting efforts and the state should not duplicate
their efforts.

On the drug-enforcement teams, state investigators work with local officers
from several agencies.

Lt. Stan Olson of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said there is no duplication
because the state officers working with local officials on those drug cases
have special training and often work under cover.

He said the cuts "would be devastating to law enforcement, particularly in
rural Nevada."

White Pine County District Attorney Richard Sears said the cuts would
eliminate two state investigators in eastern Nevada, which would make it
difficult to find and knock out methamphetamine drug labs.

"I don't know how we can prevent the cooking and transporting it into your
county," he told Clark County lawmakers.

Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said the cutbacks would "put the
welcome mat out to all drug dealers."

He was joined by Republican assemblymen John Carpenter of Elko and Tom Grady
of Yerington.

Brown acknowledged there would be consequences to the cuts. If they are
approved, he said NDI would be cut to six officers in Clark County to cover
the southern half of the state, two in Elko for the east and the rest in
Carson City to handle the rest of rural Nevada and Washoe County.
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