Tribal ticketing stops, sheriff says |

Tribal ticketing stops, sheriff says

by Christy Chalmers

Two weeks after Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini challenged the Washoe Tribal police for writing tickets on Highway 395, attorneys for both sides have met and Pierini says the practice appears to have stopped.

“I haven’t heard of any more activity,” Pierini said Thursday. “Nobody has called me or given me any information it’s going on.”

Pierini was alerted to the practice by one of his officers, who was stopped in a private vehicle on Highway 395 near Plymouth Drive in the Indian Hills area and warned about speeding.

A dispute over jurisdiction emerged, with Pierini saying the tribal officers have no more power than a regular resident to stop motorists on non-reservation land and Tribal Police Capt. Rick Norris saying it’s a safety issue on a road that passes over tribal land. He said the tribal officers would continue to write tickets while the issue was discussed.

Pierini sought advice from the Douglas County District Attorney’s office and was told tribal officers should not be enforcing traffic laws on non-tribal land. He informed the tribal police Aug. 21 the Douglas County jail, which houses suspects arrested by the tribe, would not accept any tribal arrestees picked up on non-reservation land.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Chally, who wrote the opinion saying tribal officers should not be writing tickets, said he and deputy attorney general Wayne Howle have traded case law with tribal attorney Tim Seward, but no formal talks have started.

“We’re at the stage where we’ve got three lawyers swapping cases. We’re trying to come to an understanding of what each side’s position is,” said Chally. “Nobody is committed to anything.”

Seward characterized the discussion as “in progress,” but declined to comment further. Chally and Howle estimated the discussion would probably take a few weeks.