I-Team: Constable Turf Wars Erupt - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Constable Turf Wars Erupt

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Constable Jordan Ross, Laughlin Township. Constable Jordan Ross, Laughlin Township.

LAS VEGAS -- A turf war is brewing between some of southern Nevada's elected peace officers following a controversial move by the Laughlin constable. Rather than stay in his own township, he is branching out and his counterparts are none too happy about it.

There are 14 constables in Nevada, 11 of them are in Clark County. While there's currently much debate over who can work where -- historically -- the constables have primarily stayed in their own townships.

Constables are Both Obscure and Controversial: What Do They Do?

Laughlin Constable Jordan Ross is bucking the status quo some 90 miles north of his township. For deputies of the Laughlin Constable's office, the workday begins no where near the township where their boss was elected to serve. Deputies Phil Gervasi and Rick Henry deliver civil court papers this day -- paid by the piece -- to a Las Vegas address. They are representatives of the Laughlin constable's Las Vegas bureau.

"I wouldn't be doing it if the demand wasn't there," said Constable Jordan Ross, Laughlin Township.

Ross is unapologetic about the venture which, at best, breaches a gentleman's agreement between constables and, at worst, may violate state law. Instead, Ross suggests he's providing a higher level of service currently not available to the Las Vegas constable's customers.

"We've had attorneys, law firms willing to testify publicly in support of the work of our Las Vegas bureau because of the dissatisfaction with the quality of service they have up there. I think it's all for good. Competition is a good thing," Ross said.

Ross tells the I-Team his 13 sworn deputies work as independent contractors under the supervision of Michael McDonald who is the current state Republican Party president and a former Las Vegas city councilman. McDonald is also the two-time subject of ethics violations.

Per Nevada law, the office is self-sustaining except for a small budget from the county. Ross assumes the liability and pockets the profits.

"It does affect our bottom line slightly. The problem we have with it is the public's perception," said Las Vegas Constable Deputy Chief Dean Lauer. He complains that Laughlin deputies are regularly mistaken for their Las Vegas counterparts, and not in a good way.

Lauer points to a high-profile service by Laughlin employees last year at a Las Vegas gas station that prompted the Occupy Movement to move in. Further, Lauer questions whether peace officers providing a public service should even be pursuing profits.

"Our job is to provide for the public. It was never, I don't believe the constable was ever designed to be a money-making business," said Lauer.

But on the streets of Las Vegas, market forces are most certainly at play as deputies from down south challenge Las Vegas' long-standing monopoly.

The district attorney's office represents all of the constables and is currently reviewing whether it is legal for the constables to do business outside of their townships. The legislature has also gotten involved. 8 News NOW has been told, under one proposal, the constables have agreed not to open physical offices in each other's townships. Ross says he does not have an office in Las Vegas and has no intention of curtailing his business.

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