Dave Maxwell  New 2014 inmate transport van at Lincoln County Detention Center.
Dave Maxwell
New 2014 inmate transport van at Lincoln County Detention Center.

A new 26-passenger 2014 Freightliner transport van has joined the motor pool at the Lincoln County Detention Center.

At the Dec. 17 county commission meeting, Sheriff Kerry Lee reported that, as the inmate overflow contract with the City of North Las Vegas has continued, “occasionally there, for a while, we were having to take over 30 inmates on the list on each transport day from Vegas to Pioche. We were taking three 10-passenger vehicles and had to take a fourth vehicle just for the properties, and having to involve four officers and four vehicles.”

He said, “I have been looking around and found this bus that had been on a lease which had since expired, and was able to purchase it for our use for about one-quarter of what it would normally [have] cost had we bought it new.”

The van was taken to St. George, Utah, to be refitted for the detention center use. “It’s pretty impressive,” Lee said. “It’s all screened in with Plexiglas screens with reinforced steel and has cameras to record the entire trip in case there are any issues and monitors for the officers to watch. It is separated out into male and female sections, and even one seat for an inmate who might be acting combative. All the windows are also screened Plexiglas, and it has seating for the officer behind the driver. And all the refitting was included in the price that we paid for it.”

Lee said it was his understanding the van had been used as a shuttle bus for one of the tourist resorts in Orlando, Florida.

He said, at present, he intends to have at least six drivers obtain their specialized license certifications to be able to drive the bus.

In connection with obtaining the van, Lee also told the commission board he has been holding talks with Moapa Tribal Police and Boulder City about taking inmates from those agencies. “I look to hopefully have a contract with Moapa Tribal by mid-January and hopefully with Boulder City by early March.”

He said, “Neither Moapa Tribal Police or Boulder City have a jail and have need for someplace to send an inmate who might receive a sentence of six months or more, and are needing to find a closer facility.”

He noted Boulder City has been working with Mesquite, “but Mesquite is just full, and Moapa Tribal has been having to take some of their inmates to Owyhee.”

Lee said the number of inmates likely to come from these other agencies “are probably not going to be a huge amount, maybe two to four a month, but beneficial to us, nonetheless, to help us fill a little bit of a gap. I think, in the long run, the new van is going to save us time because we can utilize less officers and haul more inmates with a single vehicle rather than having to put long miles on several vehicles. It’s in great shape and can give us service for the next 10-plus years.”

One of the stipulations for completing a contract with Moapa Tribal and Boulder City, Lee said, “would be that they would be responsible for transporting to Pioche as well as covering major medical issues that might arise with their inmates.”

“However,” Lee added, “if we are already on a transport with North Las Vegas on a given day and have the extra room, we would allow Moapa Tribal and/or Boulder City to bring their inmates to our pick-up point in North Las Vegas.”