Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto meets with local law enforcement to discuss community needs

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto meets with local law enforcement to discuss community needs and announces funding
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 8:18 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - On Thursday morning, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto met with leaders of our local law enforcement agencies at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office to discuss and find solutions to some of the issues facing our region. One major issue discussed was mental health.

“To actually, truly address mental health its not police officers that are going to fix this challenge that we have in front of us, its professionals,” said Chief Jason Soto of Reno Police Department.

“We need more clinicians, we need them out in our streets riding around with our patrol personnel, and we need them in the facility,” said Deputy Darin Balaam of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

At the discussion the senator announced $2.3 million in funding to help upgrade and expand medical and mental health services at Washoe County Detention Center.

Currently, at Washoe County Detention Center there is an average daily population of nearly 1200 inmates, of those about 60-70% of them have a confirmed mental health diagnosis, according to WCSD Sheriff Balaam.

“Our jails should not be a place where people seek mental health treatment, that’s not where it should be, we have to build that out in this community,” said Sen. Cortez Masto (D) NV.

The senator also announced $1.4 million going to Sparks Police Department for new radios and protective equipment they need.

“Imagine a major critical incident, a mass casualty incident, you need the best communication possible and what the senator did with this $1.4 million, we’ll be able to go to the project 25-radio system, that’s a new generation, that’s going to last us 10 to 25 years,” said Deputy Chief Clinte Bellamy of the Sparks Police Department.

All of the funding is allocated from the Byrne JAG grant, which was created to support law enforcement agencies. The senator also discussed her bipartisan legislation, the Invest to Protect Act which aims to support the needs of smaller departments in our area and around the country.

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