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Future of constable offices could be hands of Clark County Commission

Clark County commissioners are preparing to again scrutinize constables offices following accusations of misconduct against another one of the elected officials.

Mesquite Police Department records released this week show that city police twice investigated Mesquite Constable Duane Thurston since May 2017 after four people accused him of inappropriate behavior on and off the job. None of the accusations have resulted in criminal charges.

Last month, Metro officers raided the office and home of Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell as part of theft investigation spurred by a Review-Journal investigation into his spending of office funds. North Las Vegas Constable Robert Eliason has also come under fire for never getting the required law enforcement certification.

Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said Thursday he plans to ask for audits of each constable offices’ operations and finances.

“The conversation is not over,” he said. “We need to make a decision based on the individuals that are in there and any inappropriate conduct of those individuals. Second, we need to make a decision whether those offices are necessary.”

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani was more blunt.

She said that Metro could handle the constables’ duties of carrying out evictions and serving civil court papers such as subpoenas, wage garnishments and property liens. The police department has overseen the operation of the Las Vegas constable office since 2015.

“Why have a duplication of services when you have a potential of money being abuse or people abusing their position?” Giunchigliani asked.

Commissioner Jim Gibson said he is not prepared to go so far as abolishing constable offices, but does want to discuss their operations.

Constables and their deputies can serve papers and collect fees in each other’s jurisdictions. Gibson said he has a problem with that because any shortfall in the operating budget of the North Las Vegas and Henderson constable offices, known as their enterprise funds, would be replenished with county money.

“I think that is something that needs to be looked at really hard and addressed,” Gibson said. “I am concerned of the surrounding constable offices that are absorbing the book of business from the constables with the enterprise funds.”

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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