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Sertoma gives top award

Staff Reports

At its annual awards dinner held March 12, the Carson Valley Sertoma Club awarded Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini the club’s Service to Mankind award for 1998.

In presenting the award, President Ray Lummus acknowledged Pierini’s “exemplary public service record” with 24 years of full-time law enforcement experience. However, Lummus noted the Carson Valley Sertoma Club was giving special recognition for Pierini’s extraordinary commitment to the community.

“Douglas County enjoys a lower overall crime rate due, in large part, to Sheriff Pierini’s program of zero tolerance for gang and drug activity, enhanced training programs for sheriff’s personnel, improved communications with the school district and providing youth with DARE and GREAT programs.” Lummus said.

In addition, he said, Pierini has successfully formulated new and innovative partnerships with volunteers and community organizations. Over 200 trained volunteers assist the office by staffing neighborhood substations, enforcing handicapped parking violations and supervising the youth Law Enforcement Explorer Post. A special volunteer force was created to implement the county’s Search and Rescue team which is regularly involved in high-risk operations.

With the help of service organizations, including the Carson Valley Sertoma Club, Pierini raised more than $25,000 to purchase two enforcement K-9 dogs to assist in patrolling high-risk areas.

Lummas also said Pierini has worked diligently to support the senior community in Douglas County and he believes that knowledge of the department and the criminal justice system will assist seniors in crime prevention and reporting.

In September 1997, the sheriff’s department started the first Senior Law Enforcement Academy, and 45 people have graduated from the eight-week program. The Douglas County TRIAD organization has developed senior programs, and Pierini is personally involved with its regular operations. Recent TRIAD programs include the dementia victim photo identification program, RUOK (a systematic check-in program for seniors), file of life and the disabled-person disaster evacuation program.

“Too often, law enforcement officials get trapped in the bureaucracy of their operations and fail to respond to the ‘people’ side of their responsibilities,” Lummas said. “Sheriff Pierini has been successful in balancing his official duties with a strong commitment to open communication and community involvement.”

In January 1998, he formed the Professional Standards Unit within the department to review citizen concerns and report personally to the sheriff to ensure that this community balance is maintained.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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