(Karen Gray/NPRI) – A Legislative Counsel Bureau opinion, requested by Assemblyman Richard “Tick” Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, and obtained exclusively by Nevada Journal, has determined that the Clark County School District Police are overstepping their legal authority by enforcing traffic laws in areas beyond school property.
Subsection 2 of NRS 391.275 gives school police officers authority on streets adjacent to school grounds, but CCSD-PD officers regularly participate in “Operation Joining Forces,” a partnership with other Clark County police units, and issue tickets far away from school grounds.
Last year, a video obtained by Nevada Journal showed CCSD-PD officers issuing tickets on Boulder Highway, far away from any schools.
“With respect to the enforcement of traffic laws and ordinances,” states the LCB opinion, “it is clear that the Legislature did not intend for the jurisdiction of school police officers to extend beyond the streets adjacent to school property.
“Therefore, based upon the plain meaning of the language of NRS 391.075 and the legislative history of the statute which supports that plain meaning, it is the opinion of this office that a school police officer does not have jurisdiction to engage in, and issue citations as part of, multi-jurisdictional traffic enforcement programs on state highways which are not located near a school.” (Emphasis in the original.)
Assemblyman Segerblom applauded the LCB opinion, telling Nevada Journal, “It’s clear that the CCSD police should be spending their time and energy protecting our children and schools and not chasing down otherwise law abiding taxpayers and citizens who happen to be driving 5 mph over the speed limit.”
Gina Greisen, a CCSD parent who, in 2005, organized Look-Out-Kids-About, a coalition of public officials, community partners and parents that is focused on school-zone safety and that initiated the idea of granting school police legal authority to issue traffic tickets in school zones, says she is also happy to hear of the LCB’s decision.
“Hopefully,” said Greisen, “this decision will send a strong message to school police to get back to the business of protecting our children.”
A call to CCSD-PD for comment was not immediately returned.