Sheriff’s Office offers ‘get into jail free’ card |

Sheriff’s Office offers ‘get into jail free’ card

by Amy Alonzo

Ever wondered what the inside of the Douglas County Jail looked like, but didn’t want to have to commit a crime to find out?

Valley residents had a chance to tour the jail, meet area law enforcement officials and see the equipment they use at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office’s bi-annual open house.

“We want to be open to our community about what our mission is and who we are,” Sheriff Ron Pierini said. “This gives an opportunity for them (the public) to understand who we are and for us to learn about them.”

The department began hosting open houses about 20 years ago, he said. The jail tour is one of the most popular events.

“They don’t want to be in it, but they want to see it,” he said.

Rebekah Crandall, 9, of Gardnerville, and her brother Joshua, 7, weren’t worried about touring the jail — they busied themselves climbing on a UTV and a cataraft.

“This is for really muddy areas and snow,” Rebekah explained as she sat in the seat of the UTV. “There’s walkie-talkies here so you can talk to other policemen.”

The cataraft “is a police officer rescue boat and it solves crime at sea when they find suspects,” she said, as she and her brother prepared to launch an imaginary police chase. “Our destination is Lake Tahoe — there’s been a robbery at the Titanic.”

Various other items were on display at the event, including the county’s Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, weapons used by the SWAT team and the vehicles used by Search and Rescue.

“I enjoy coming down here and seeing what they have new,” said Jay Kapler of Minden, who attended the event with her husband Stan. Stan is one of the sheriff’s department’s roughly 240 volunteers. “This is our town so we like keeping up on things.”

Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, R-Minden, said he appreciated the positive relationship Douglas County law enforcement has built with the community.

“These men and women here — I know that any time I need one of them, they’re right there — especially when I’m speeding,” he said. “If they ain’t there, who you gonna call? It ain’t Ghostbusters.”