Updated December 18, 2019 - 2:54 pm
Eight months after opening a satellite office in southeast Las Vegas, the Nevada Department of Public Safety is looking to expand services for residents on parole or probation.
The agency’s Division of Parole and Probation opened the 9,201-square-foot office on East Tropicana Avenue in April.
Officials say the office allows for more convenient service, making it easier for those who live nearby to comply with mandatory reporting requirements — especially for those who don’t have a vehicle. Parole refers to when a prisoner is released under supervision prior to the end of a maximum sentence. Probation essentially means avoiding incarceration as long as the person is supervised and meets certain requirements.
The new office also is a benefit for law enforcement officers, said Lt. Michele Jackson, who oversees the Tropicana office and the 34 people who work there.
“We’re in the community,” she said. “We see what’s going on.”
Prior to the economic recession about a decade ago, Parole and Probation had four satellite offices in the Las Vegas area, Jackson said. Now, the Tropicana location is the only satellite office in Las Vegas, but the division partners with the Metropolitan Police Department to provide community-based supervision in other areas of the city, said Kim Yoko Smith, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety.
Parole and Probation held its third community-based reporting initiative in the new office Nov. 9. The nine-hour Saturday event allowed those who work during traditional business hours to access services such as monthly reporting, drug screenings, referrals, paying fees and meeting with officers.
The majority of those on probation or parole are required to check in once a month or every three months, Jackson said, noting that can be a challenge.
“Not all employers are amenable to that,” she said.
The monthly community reporting initiative alternates between Parole and Probation’s East Bonanza Road and Tropicana offices. Jackson said the agency is trying to branch out to offer more services — such as counseling and General Educational Development (GED) test preparation — during the Saturday events.
What’s at the Tropicana office
At the Tropicana office, there’s space for officers to meet one on one with people on their caseload. Currently, officers supervise about 1,800 people who’ve been convicted of a gross misdemeanor or felony offense, Jackson said.
“If they’re sentenced to probation, we receive them right away,” she said.
For a couple of years, Parole and Probation had a community reporting location for southeast Las Vegas residents at the Metropolitan Police Department’s Southeast Area Command on East Harmon Avenue.
During the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers appropriated $438,695 for 2017-19 to allow the agency to open a satellite office, Yoko Smith said.
The state agency is leasing office space that used to house a radio station and was vacant for about nine years, Jackson said. The lease amount is nearly $2.8 million per term, which expires March 31, 2029.
The office is near bus lines and a 7-Eleven where people can withdraw money to pay their $30-per-month supervision fee, she said.
Plus, the office is in the same building complex as UNLV’s Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach, which helps those working toward a GED certificate.
“We tell them to walk across the parking lot, and we watch them as they go into the building,” Jackson said.
It’s helpful because the farther people have to travel to access services, she said, the more likely they are to stray.
It’s unknown whether more Parole and Probation offices will open in Las Vegas. That depends, Jackson said, on whether the Legislature appropriates funding.
The Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Division of Parole and Probation has a satellite office at 1455 E. Tropicana Ave., Suite 800.
By the numbers
Following are statistics from the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Division of Parole and Probation’s third community reporting initiative at its Tropicana satellite office, held Nov. 9:
Drug screens conducted: 78
Arrests made: None
Day reporting center referrals: Seven
Restitution and fee collection: $9,245.03
Supervision fees: $5,735
Counseling referrals: 15
UNLV Trio referrals: Three
Monthly reports (total): 211