Pershing County gun owners complete field certification for their concealed carry permits.
Pershing County gun owners complete field certification for their concealed carry permits.
Pershing County will join a lawsuit against a new state “red flag” law that allows courts to order confiscation of firearms from those considered a threat to themselves or others. Sheriff Jerry Allen asked the county to take a stand on what he calls a violation of second amendment rights.
The litigation was filed late last year by NevadansCAN (Citizen Action Network) to block AB 291 scheduled to become law on January 1, 2020. Last week, Pershing County District Attorney Bryce Shields told county leaders they could participate in the lawsuit as intervenors in the case.
“It’s my opinion that this particular law is egregious and should be challenged,” County Commissioner Rob McDougal said. “After hearing advice and information from the district attorney, I would support the notion of the county joining as an intervenor in the lawsuit.”
McDougal made a motion to direct Shields to contact the attorney handling the lawsuit for NevadansCAN. The action was approved by all three members of the county commission.
“I’m sorry it took us so long but we were concerned about the county’s liability,” County Commission Chairman Carol Shank told Sheriff Allen. “We had our questions answered to our satisfaction and I feel this lawsuit will be successful.”
The county has sufficient litigation funds available to join the lawsuit according to Shields.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome,” Sheriff Allen told the board. “I appreciate the backing. I know that the people I’ve talked to in the community will appreciate that too. I’ve received several concerns, comments and questions. I’m glad that the board has chosen the stance they have taken to go against this and help defend the constitutional rights of the public.”

FIRE DEPARTMENT REPORT
Lovelock Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rod Wilcox said one agency responded to his request for the costs of paid emergency medical services. County leaders requested the feedback months ago after Wilcox sounded the alarm regarding volunteer ambulance services.
A number of LVFD volunteers work out-of-town jobs and are not always available to immediately respond to emergency medical calls in Lovelock or the surrounding area, Wilcox said.
“Have we got anything on possible interest in someone taking over the ambulance?” County Commissioner Robert McDougal asked him last week. Wilcox said the agency that responded had not provided paid ambulance costs but it could be more than the county can afford anyway.
“I think you are going to find that it’s going to be very, very expensive,” he said. “We’re working on the ambulance budget and the fire budget and we’re probably going to have some changes to help the situation. Hopefully, we’ll be able to come to an agreement.”
Commissioner Larry Rackley said volunteer ambulance services had improved recently.
“I was told there has been a lot going on with the ambulance but you are handling whatever is coming along,” he told Wilcox and the board.
Wilcox reminded county leaders of the extensive training required to be a volunteer EMT. New volunteers are joining the LVFD but the roster of 30 members is never filled to capacity, he said.
“The guys have stepped up and we’re getting a few new members,” he said. “To pass the EMT class is 140 hours. They have to take a state test and I know people have taken the test two or three times. It’s a really rough one. We’ve got people who are really working to get finished up.”
LVFD member Mike Heidemann handles grants for the county’s four volunteer fire departments. He’ll apply for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to cover the costs of new SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) units, essential equipment for all fire departments.
“This is something that all the chiefs agreed on. They all need SCBAs,” he explained. “We’re going to go uniform with all SCBAs. The nice thing is North Lyon County mutual aid is going with the same brand and so is Winnemucca. This is a 5 percent (county) match of about $19,000. Clark County is going with the same setup and got them even a little cheaper than this so we can piggyback on their bid.”
To qualify for the $393,250 grant, Pershing County must be in compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), Heidemann said.
“We might need to do some homework to see where we are with that,” he said.
Heidemann said a grant has been awarded for firehouse software to track volunteer training, hose and fire hydrant testing and a smoke training machine for Firefighter One training.
“There’s a little bit of spread the wealth through the county,” he said. “Stacy (Bristow) got me a quote for the remote for Rye Patch and Sean (Burke) is taking the lead on the high visibility jackets. That will take up the two grants the county is allowed per year through POOL/PACT.”
As for commercial fire inspections, that will be discussed again at the next commission meeting. County leaders had considered a business license fee increase to include a fire inspection fee but many business owners are opposed to that according to District Attorney Bryce Shields.
“We sent notifications to business owners and it was overwhelming that they were against that especially for fire inspections,” he said. “They all agreed that their private insurance companies were providing those inspections and that was built into their insurance rates to begin with.”

NEW COUNTY JAIL
Rackley described five county, city and privately owned parcels that he and Sheriff Jerry Allen revisited as potential sites for a new law enforcement center. Each parcel has drawbacks and benefits related to cost, location, law enforcement and public access as well as freeway access.
In response to Rackley’s request for input, Commission Chairman Carol Shank suggested the commission also consider a private lot that’s back on the market and adjacent to the current jail. Some residents have requested that the new jail be in the same convenient downtown location.
“The Windmill property is available across from the sheriff’s office,” Shank said. “It’s $185,000. I don’t know what it would appraise at but the person just wants to get out of what he owes. It’s sufficiently large enough that we could build whatever jail we need. What I have heard from people in the community is they want the jail to basically stay where it is.”
Before new construction, the Windmill warehouse would be demolished and a section of 9th Street could be closed to the public. Sheriff Jerry Allen questioned whether the site will be large enough for future incarceration and law enforcement needs especially if the county grows.
“If we get enough space to start with, we can do a lot more in the future,” he reminded county leaders. “The plans we’ve had so far solve the problem we had two or three years ago. It’s not going to solve the problem we’re going to have in two to three years.”
The Windmill site will be on the next commission agenda for further discussion and a possible decision. For years, county leaders have considered various jail sites and architectural plans.
Shank pointed out the Windmill’s address would be appropriate for a law enforcement center.
“You could still number it 911 Cornell,” she said.