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Reno Police Department credits new initiative for ‘substantial decrease’ in crime 

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Reno Police Chief Kathryn Nance told Reno City Council members on Wednesday that the department’s new policing initiative, D.E.E.D.s, is a “new way of policing.” D.E.E.D.s stands for Directed Engagement, Enforcement and Deployment Strategy. 

Nance said the initiative has focused on deploying officers to specific areas within the downtown area to prevent crime through increased visibility and to decrease crime through officer-initiated interactions within the community. 

Teams from more than a dozen different areas within the Reno Police Department spent thousands of hours over the past seven months within the D.E.E.D.s area, which, according to Nance, led to a decrease in crime. 

Kathryn Nance
Kathryn Nance

Nance said D.E.E.D.s teams conducted 18 encampment cleanups, three warrant sweeps at “hot spot” local motels where crime was high, 992 graffiti abatements, 1,189 arrests and seizure of more than 500 grams of controlled substances, which Nance said included a large amount of fentanyl. 

Comparing the recent numbers to 2022-23, officer-initiated checks and stops rose significantly, Nance said, with 72% more area checks, 63% more traffic stops and 166% more vehicle checks.

She also said calls for service dropped by 12%, indicating that fewer people in the area were calling 911 for help. Other decreases include traffic accidents (-28%) and pedestrian accidents (-55%). 

More serious criminal activity, such as commercial burglary, vehicle burglary, gunshot reports and physical / sex crimes, were also reduced. The next steps, Nance said, include a dedicated downtown police team and evaluating the program to see what is working and what can be improved. 

“Change doesn’t happen overnight,” she said. “It takes a while to hire officers, which is the largest challenge. It takes about 18 months to get them on the street on their own.” 

Nance said she believes the new downtown team may be able to deploy this summer. 

City seeks partners for recreational fields project

Council members also heard an update on the Pembroke Flat Field project. The plan is to construct 10 recreational fields within a 90-acre floodplain area on Pembroke Drive east of Veterans Parkway. In March 2023, the council approved $2 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support the project.

City Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Ullyot said the city owns 19 multi-purpose fields or “flat fields” but would need to add 35 to 45 more fields to serve the current population. The city’s parks and recreation master plan set a goal for one flat field per 5,000 residents. 

The city-owned parcel on Pembroke Drive was identified as an ideal location for the project, which is located within flood zones. Ullyot said the $2 million the city set aside would only cover the project’s design and construction of one of the 10 proposed fields. He said more than $10 million is estimated to complete all fields. 

Ullyot recommended the city look for partners to help cover the cost of developing the fields. Great Basin Youth Soccer League has already indicated interest in constructing, operating and maintaining the multi-use turf flat fields on the city’s behalf. The council voted to direct staff to advertise for proposals to identify additional potential partners. 

Regional Traffic Management Center slated for 2028

Council members approved a partnership with the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) to create a Regional Traffic Management Center as part of the proposed regionalized transportation system. Dale Keller, director of engineering for RTC, gave council members an overview of the project. 

“This is the smart side of transportation,” Keller said. “Right now, we’re operating reactively due to separate networks and inconsistent standards.” 

To have “active and proactive operations” means consolidating transportation networks is imperative, he added. If approved, a Regional Traffic Management Center will see the operation of the regional traffic signal network as a consolidated entity. The proposal has already been approved by the RTC board, the City of Sparks and Washoe County. Once approved by the City of Reno, it will move to the next step for final approval on June 30. 

Council member Naomi Duerr expressed concern that with a consolidation of the agencies and the center no longer under the city’s purview, it would be more difficult for council members to discuss traffic or road issues with public works. 

“You work for us, and so you tend to be very responsive to us—you care,” Duerr told Public Works Director Kerrie Koski. 

Keller said that creating an oversight commission with members from the city and the county should help alleviate any communication concerns. Overall, council members appeared optimistic about the proposal. 

“Thank you so much for working together… This is going to provide the infrastructure needed to better serve our constituents,” Council member Kathleen Taylor said. 

A fully functioning Regional Traffic Management Center is slated for 2028. 

Kelsey Penrose
Kelsey Penrose
Kelsey Penrose is a proud Native Nevadan whose work in journalism and publishing can be found throughout the Sierra region. She received degrees in English Literature and Anthropology from Arizona State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing with the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe. She is an avid supporter of high desert agriculture and rescue dogs.

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