Budget cuts force sheriff to eliminate graffiti investigations

WCSO NEWS RELEASE

Washoe County Sheriff Michael Haley announced last week that he has been forced to immediately eliminate graffiti investigations conducted by his office due to budget cuts instigated by the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners.

“This action is counterintuitive to the philosophy of my office and staff and was made only after careful analysis of the impact of the board’s reductions on our operations,” Haley said.

To help meet the latest reductions, a sheriff’s support specialist who had been dedicated full-time to documenting graffiti incidents and violators will be reassigned. In addition, a deputy sheriff who was dedicated to full-time investigation and enforcement of graffiti reports will also be reassigned to the Patrol Division.

Haley said that current graffiti abatement efforts using inmate and community service work crews would continue. However, the sheriff expressed concern that graffiti would increase across the region.

“When funding was available for enforcement, education and abatement, graffiti decreased,” Haley said. “But when funding ceases, the offending vandals will claim victory because we are no longer able to investigate, educate or abate graffiti vandalism in Washoe County.

“This is an extremely difficult decision to make after seeing the improvement in our region, but I was given no choice under the board’s current budget mandate.”

Residents with concerns are encouraged to contact their county commissioner or the Washoe County manager’s office.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 24th person elected to serve as the sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process, traditional street patrols and Regional Animal Services.

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