For the first time in 30 years, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office will open its doors for a public open house this weekend, offering behind-the-scenes tours into the jail, indoor firing range and other areas of the department.
The Clark County office will be the only law enforcement agency offering an open house in the state as part of the international Police Station Visitors Week. Opened in 1980, the sheriff’s portion of the public safety building at 120 N. Fountain Ave. cost $8.2 million to build. Within it’s 96,000-square-feet is a full-service jail, firing range, local law enforcement museum and investigation units.
The idea behind the tour is to promote transparency, said Sheriff Gene Kelly. Following the tour, a survey will be offered to some participants to rate the department’s physical conditions, transparency, accountability and jail conditions.
“It’s going to be a real opportunity to tell people where their tax dollars go, what their used for and how we’re trying to serve this community,” Kelly said.
The office is home to one of the largest collections of law enforcement gear, photos, equipment and memorabilia. It’s all housed in the Raynor Room, dedicated in the memory of Deputy Gregory Raynor, who was killed in the line of duty in 1978. Chief Deputy Carl Loney added many pieces to the collection, including badges from Clark County officers spanning 200 years. He will explain the items, and how law enforcement has changed through the decades.
“It’s a walk back in history,” he said.
Groups will participate in the tour, but it’s also open to individuals. The event will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Free parking will be offered downtown. Kelly said he is hoping for a large crowd and will provide tours until the last person goes through.
“If we have to stay here until 9 o’clock because we have such long lines and crowds, we’ll do that,” Kelly said.