Sheriff Asks Org To Pony Up for More Money and Officers

The Pershing County Sheriff’s office have published their Post Mission Synopsis report for 2017. It’s reproduced at the end of this article, along with a couple of appendices – one which gives an idea of where incidents occurred, which some Burners may find interesting.

Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen. Image: News4Nevada

There was some coverage of this story at the Reno Gazette Journal “Tensions rise between Burning Man and law enforcement, again”, but it’s light on details. We’ve re-blogged a more detailed story from the Lovelock Review Miner in this post. Huge thanks to our source for sending this in.

Some Highlights

Sheriff Allen agrees with me and the USPTO that it’s a festival.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen the size of the annual drug haul, something I’m sure many Burners have been curious about:

grams ounces pounds
marijuana > 639 22.82 1.43
psilocybin > 818 29.21 1.83
Ketamine > 120 4.29
Methamphetamine 13.5
Cocaine > 231 8.25
MDMA > 334 11.93
doses
LSD > 217

It’s interesting to see the population changes.

This is the essence of the Sheriff’s problems with the festival:

He brings up a specific incident where Burning Man didn’t want a particular person to attend a meeting, so they went straight to the Director in Washington DC rather than raising their objections with the Sheriff’s office.

One wonders who this objectionable individual was. Dan Love? Gene Siedlitz? CIA? DEA? FBI? CDC? Humboldt General?

The Sheriff is highly suspicious of the population numbers provided by the Org.

Later in the report he mentions that the gate count may not include all the people arriving via the airline and Burner Express bus. The numbers are key because peak population above 69,999 brings them to a higher payment level, from $240,000 to $275,000.

Reading further, we have BMorg employees wielding weapons in a car chase…

And an RV full of coke and a loaded gun in early entry:

We have already covered the arrest statistics 2017 Crime Scorecard, here is the summary:

“We continue to have negative enforcement” – is this police speak for laws are broken everywhere?

We wish Sheriff Allen luck in his quest to squeeze more money from the $45 million annual event. His requests seem pretty reasonable – the cost of one junket regional festival visit for one BMorg staffer – and his office has to deal with the consequences of Burning Man all year round, not just for a week.

Re-blogged from the Lovelock Review Miner:


Sheriff submits Burning Man budget request

Debra Reid, News4Nevada

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 1:00 AM

Sheriff Jerry Allen submitted his law enforcement budget for next month’s Burning Man while challenging county leaders to “dispose of” the agreement that restricts the budget. Allen is concerned that public safety is at risk due to inadequate county law enforcement at the event.

The 2013 Settlement Agreement between Pershing County and festival organizer Black Rock City, LLC, limits the private group’s payments to the county for law enforcement, criminal prosecution and other services impacted by the massive festival. The agreement sets the reimbursements according to festival attendance and law enforcement command status.

Allen limited his spending as required in the 10-year agreement. His budget request is based on a less desirable but lower cost “integrated” command with the BLM and this year’s expected attendance by 70,000 to 79,999 ticket-holders. The number still doesn’t include the thousands of staff, volunteers and contractors on playa for weeks before and after the nine day event.

With the population and inflation factored in, BRC’s $275,000 base payment pencils out to a total of $299,201.92 that should be paid to the county, according to Allen. Of that, $252,462.88 will cover payroll for up to 24 law enforcement officers and jail personnel plus supplies and permanent infrastructure needed during the event including CAD (Computer-Aided Dispatch) interface, body cameras, trailers and a possible air conditioning unit for off-duty personnel.

That leaves $46,738.74 left over for the county courts and administrative services needed for the event according to Allen’s budget request. Members of the county commission are reviewing the proposal and may vote to either approve or reject it at their next meeting on July 18.

Sheriff Allen also handed out his Post Mission Synopsis on the 2017 Burning Man event. The report explains why, in his opinion, the 2013 Settlement Agreement between Pershing County and BRC shortchanges county taxpayers and event participants.

“The Burning Man Festival has, for several years, far exceeded the resources of not only Pershing County, but the Law Enforcement resources of Northern Nevada as a whole. The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office has had to ‘contract’ with several different Law Enforcement Officers within the State to provide some semblance of law enforcement expected by the participants. This endeavor is becoming increasingly difficult to perform as the population of BRC continues to increase and the payment to Pershing County remains relatively stagnant.”

In 2019, the BLM may issue a ten-year Special Recreation Permit allowing the Black Rock City population to reach 100,000 including ticket-holders, staff, volunteers and contractors. As the festival grows, Allen says a sheriff’s deputy dedicated year-round to the event will be needed.

“This Festival has increased in magnitude to the extent that Pershing County should hire a Deputy to provide for planning, logistics and execution of the plan for this Festival as well as provide for continued investigations,” he said. “The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office continues to receive calls for service long after the active portion of the Festival has concluded.”
Property and personal crime reports after the event, including minor thefts and sexual assault, must be investigated even though the evidence has vanished along with the event, Allen said.

CRIME STATS

Allen’s written report was delivered long after the deadline specified in the 2013 agreement.

“The Sheriff shall, within fourteen days after the Event, provide an After-Action Report. If the information for the AAR is not yet available at that time, then the Sheriff shall provide the information as soon as it becomes available,” states the settlement agreement.

Allen said he’s been busy with important PCSO matters, such as the vacancies for two sheriff’s deputies, but he did comply with BRC’s request for crime statistics on citations, arrests and the “actual expenses incurred in connection to the event” during the 2017 Burning Man event.

Allen’s report lists 57 arrests at the 2017 festival, an increase of 11 arrests from the 2016 event. Burners were arrested for FTA (failure to appear) warrants, sexual assault, domestic battery, possession of illegal controlled substances and trespassing.

There was a total of 125 misdemeanor citations for assault, battery, reckless driving with 121 of those citations for minor illegal drug possession “not amounting to sales or trafficking.”

Drugs seized by the PCSO at the 2017 festival included more than 639 grams of marijuana, 818 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, over 120 grams of ketamine, 13.5 grams of methamphetamine, more than 231 grams of cocaine, over 334 grams of MDMA and more than 217 doses of LSD.

POPULATION IN DOUBT

Allen says he’s skeptical of Black Rock City’s daily population reports issued electronically by Ticket Fly. The number of ticket-holders is restricted by the BLM’s Special Recreation Permit.

“I am highly suspicious of these population numbers as there is no independent verification or audit system in place to perform a quality control check,” Allen says. “From previous Festivals, it appears to the naked eye, as if BRC is well beyond the reported numbers, but at this time there is no way to verify this…There is no reason for BRC to report any number above 70,000 paid participants, due to possible consequences from both PCSO and the BLM.”

Allen said the peak population reported at one point in the 2017 event was above the permitted level of 79,000 and, as a result, Pershing County should be paid more money for the event.

“It is my recommendation that the Pershing County Board of Commissioners submit a bill to BRC for the additional $35,000 plus CPI (Consumer Price Index) for the additional monies as outlined in the 2013 Settlement Agreement,” Allen said in his synopsis.

 

GUN CONTROL

Firearms are not allowed inside the festival by BRC or BLM but, in 2017, a loaded rifle was discovered during set-up and four days before the gates opened, Allen said. The weapon was found in a motorhome where a large amount of cocaine was also discovered by BLM officers. The vehicle had supposedly been searched for weapons and drugs by BRC gate personnel.

“We were contacted by BLM to assist with a traffic stop,” Allen states. “While we were on scene, a rifle was also found with a round in the chamber. This vehicle was allowed into the Festival early as a part of an agreement between BRC and BLM to allow ‘early entry’ participants to assist in setting up the city’s many amenities and large art structures.”

For Allen, the incident indicates that more county law enforcement is needed before and after the event and BRC should hire professional gatekeepers to search for weapons and drugs.

“These types of incidents could also be remedied by requiring BRC to hire an independent company to provide for proper screening of persons and vehicles,” Allen states in his report.

In 2017, a brush fire south of Gerlach created a potential crisis when it forced temporary closure of Highway 447, the primary ground emergency access into and out of the Burning Man area.

“The closing of Hwy 447 shut off the main artery to get people off the playa in the event of an emergency or evacuation,” Allen says. “It also had the potential to significantly delay or stop necessary resources from reaching the playa in case of an emergency.”

Allen said a permanent mountaintop repeater is needed for communications between the PCSO in Lovelock and sheriff’s deputies on playa and, in case of a major emergency at the event, inter-agency radio communication needs improvement between PCSO, BLM, NHP and WCSO.

Funding is needed for “a minimum of 40 Deputies per shift” according to Allen. He also suggested that Pershing County and BRC “dispose of the 2013 Settlement Agreement” and work out a new agreement or adopt a cost-recovery system such as that used by the BLM.

BEHIND THE SCENES

In his synopsis, Allen revealed some of the sources of ongoing tension between the PCSO and BRC. Planning for the event requires numerous meetings throughout the year between various agencies including the PCSO, BLM, BRC, NHP and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. One meeting was cancelled after it started due to what BRC considered an unwelcome participant.

“Planning became very difficult however, when a scheduled meeting was cancelled at the last minute (after the meeting was to have started) by representatives of BRC due to one invitee BRC did not approve of,” Allen states. “This issue was taken by BRC to the BLM director level in Washington D.C. without first attempting to rectify this situation locally and reschedule the meeting. This action further strained the tenuous relationship between BRC and PCSO.”

Allen said local BLM and BRC officials with decision-making authority would expedite the planning process and planning meetings should take place in the county that hosts the event.

“I would offer a suggestion to have all Cooperators meetings in the Lovelock area, since Pershing County is the County in which this Festival actually takes place. This would allow for more participation from other Pershing County entities which are vital for this Festival to operate,” Allen says in his synopsis. “It would be nice to have BRC become accustomed to the area as well as the resources available within Pershing County.”


Here is Sheriff Jerry Allen’s report.

PCSO 2017 Burning Man PMS without Apendixs
Apendix B Cases PCSO 2017 PMS
Apendix D graphs PCSO 2017 PMS
Apendix D Drugs grams PCSO 2017 PMS

 

14 comments on “Sheriff Asks Org To Pony Up for More Money and Officers

  1. Pingback: Pershing County Requests 50,000 Person Limit at Burning Man | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. I would have more sympathy for the sheriff if his concerns had to do with policing violence or sex crimes on playa. The reason Burners don’t see a need to pay additional money to police the use of drugs is we don’t believe anyone needs to police the use of drugs. What one does with one’s mind should be left up to the individual. Prohibition of drugs has been a negative world wide, so why should an event dedicated to human freedom and advancement be supportive of the limitation of what should be a person’s right? As for the searches at the gate, do you honestly support gestapo tactics being used by the people of gate? To do a police level search would take fifteen minutes per vehicle. The event would be over before you got everyone in from opening day. What it sounds like to me is you have a problem with other people’s freedom and you want the sheriff to do your dirty work for you.

    • Also, how small was that RV that was “full of coke”? They only found 8 ounces for the whole event.

    • By appearances, the RV of which Sheriff Allen stated was ‘full of coke’ was 36.7 grams on 22 August. Might I be correct in regards of there were solely ten people with marijuana within the police reports? My belief is of prior burns hundreds of Burners had citations for marijuana. In addendum, Gate does not search for drugs, in despite of Sheriff Allen desiring of them to search for drugs, and Gate does not pinch from vehicles, but Gate desires to accept gifts of beer, and whiskey.

      For the safety of new Burners,

      The police listed many ‘pills’ within the drugs, all pills are of the need to be within the original canisters, and the prescription, from the doctor, must be upon the label. The pills were found in due of the police searches, of vehicles, near to the gate.

      Many of the Burners whom were caught, by appearances, were new to Burning Man. My belief is it is easy peasy of the police dogs, near to the gate, to sniff mushrooms, but of what manner might the police dogs sniff other drugs within peanut butter, frozen meat, and frozen spaghetti sauce? The police reports of 200, to 300, in the main, were near to the gate, and the police reports of 300, to 400, in the main, were near to the EDM sound camps, and the EDM Mutant Vehicles. New Burners must be of the knowledge of that is where the undercover police are, and of the cute Burner desiring drugs is a undercover police.

      • New Burners also need to be aware that most of these busts originate from a traffic stop. Don’t give them a reason to stop you. This means obey the speed limits if it says 5 MPH DO NOT drive 6 MPH. Make sure your tail lights and license plate light are clearly visible even if you have a bike rack.

        To be fair to the Sheriff, the report says “large quantity of cocaine”. YMMV what constitutes “large”, from the Sheriff’s point of view I would guess anything that makes it “felony”.

  3. “BRC Rangers far exceeding their limited authority…” I’ve been seeing that since 2003. Something shifted within that community then and they started thinking they were little cops. I’ve even seen a BRC Ranger participate in a camp turnover along side with LEOs.

    • And the article mentions gate crew. When you fuck up too many times at DPW, you get sent to gate. And that’s saying a lot. These people are worse fuckups than DPW and they are searching through your belongings. They even have little routines to distract the driver while the other toady is in the back of your rig looking for stuff to grab.

    • I wish that reports in the news would somehow differentiate the very real difference between BLM Rangers and Black Rock City (BRC) Rangers. Having volunteered for twelve years as one of the latter (over my twenty one years as a participant) I can say that our role is *not* nor has it ever been to augment the role of LEO except in instances involving sexual assault, domestic violence, lost children. We do not search, we do not snitch, we do not hold, we do not collaborate and we do not enforce any local, state or federal laws. That is not our role.

      Granted, there have been exceptions over the many years of the event where a handful of BRC Rangers have confused their role/position as being more akin to bar bouncers (or mall cops) than representatives of the community. Such behavior is weeded out as soon as senior group leaders are made aware of it – usually by active complaints or reports by those either witnessing or experiencing such behavior.

      Of course I’m only a data point of one and do not speak for the org or the BR Rangers but I will say that years of petty, egregious and legally questionable behavior by law enforcement – particularly by multiple bad apples within the BLM has served only to alienate many of the volunteers from having anything but the most necessary engagement/interface with LEO’s.

      I know that different arguments and perspectives abound that take exception to my opinions and fully except my words here to be challenged but I will say without reservation that the Black Rock Rangers are and will continue to be a cadre of volunteers whose primary focus is on the well being of the participants and the event. Nothing more.

      • I am in agreement. New Burners must know the BRC Rangers are good, they care in regards to the safety of Burners. Might a Burner have any difficulties, go to a BRC Ranger, do not go to a BLM law enforcement officer, or to a Pershing County Sheriff Deputy, they solely care in regards of busting Burners for drugs. And, might a Burner be of the need of assistance in due of medical difficulties, go to the medical tent, or to the Shanti Project, near to the BRC Rangers, even might it be a bad trip dehydration in due of the heat, they will care for you. Discussions in regards of mall cops are minor beside this.

        I am curious, what might be your opinion in regards of the PCSO LEOs in due of Sheriff Allen? Might they properly investigate the assaults, and crimes with a victim, or do they care solely in regards to victimless activities that offend their Mormon beliefs? Sheriff Allen booted the Reno LEOs whom cared in regards of investigating victim crimes, but, by appearance, there were solely a small number of incident reports penned in due of victim crimes within 2017. In addendum, do the BLM LEOs pen citations, most especially in due of marijuana in 2017, or do their PCSO partners pen the citations, and do the arrests?

      • I did not view the Reno Gazette Journal article priorly in due of the paywall. The Pershing County Sheriff Office had twenty two police on the playa, but solely three were permitted to investigate victim crimes. The BLM had fifty three BLM Rangers on the playa, but solely six zero were permitted to investigate crimes, in due of BLM rules state of BLM Rangers are not permitted to investigate crimes, solely BLM Agents are permitted to investigate crimes, and the BLM Agents, in the manner of the prior Agent Dan Love, whom was fired, or quit prior of being fired, in due of illegal behaviour, are the managers of the BLM Rangers. My belief is of the PCSO must hire the Reno police officers, within their twenty two LEOs, for the 2018 burn, in due of they were the sole police whom cared in regards of investigating victim crimes within prior burns.

        The Reno Gazette Journal stated ‘The BLM has not made any arrests at Burning Man for several years’, their PCSO mates make the arrests, ‘though it issued more than 400 citations last year.’ What was the number of citations, by the BLM police, for marijuana? In due of a little marijuana is legal within Nevada, their PCSO mates were not of the ability to make arrests for marijuana. In due of what specific law were the BLM citations for marijuana, or, perchance, did the BLM citations state solely of violating the closure ordinance?

        New Burners must know they do not have while privilege within Black Rock City, they have no more privilege than African American people within Ferguson, Missouri, most especially upon Gate Road, or near to the EDM sound camps, and EDM mutant vehicles. They must know of the proper manner of protection from the most unprofessional police, in due of, in the manner R Russ stated in regards of the police, ‘years of petty, egregious and legally questionable behavior by law enforcement – particularly by multiple bad apples within the BLM.’

        • Be proactive exert your influence by contacting the Reno Mayor with you accolades and recommendation for her to provide Reno Officers to help police Burning Man. It would be helpful to provide a list of the personnel you are recommending, hurry not much time left.

  4. Thank you, burnersxxx, for these reports.

    The BLM is penning a Environmental Impact Statement for the next ten years of the Burning Man Festival upon the playa. Burners might email comments to the EIS prior to 6 August 2018 in regards of their concerns. The BLM notice in the Federal Register, including of the manner to email comments. Burning Man desires a population of near to 100,000 Burners on the playa, of which near to 30,000 might be on the playa prior of the beginning of the festival. Pershing County, and Washoe County, desire to utilize the EIS to gain higher financial compensation for their police.

    My belief is the comments upon the prior Environmental Impact report, within 2011, were of numerous people desired all of the playa to be open during the Burning Man festival, except of the small area of the Burning Man Festival. In addendum, numerous Burners desired to comment upon the most unprofessional behaviour of the BLM, and PCSO, police, of which, the BMOrg stated the Environmental Impact report was not the proper place of comments of this manner. In due of the PCSO police desiring to ‘express concerns over public health and safety, and deputy staffing’ within the EIS, my belief is comments in due of the most unprofessional behaviour of the police is most appropriate. Might the BLM invite the BLM ethics office onto the playa to monitor the conduct of the police? In addendum, might the BLM control the unprofessional behaviour of other police upon the playa?

    From the Federal Register Notice

    The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including alternatives and guide the process for developing the EIS. At present, the BLM has identified the following preliminary key issues:

    With the increase in participants, both the Pershing and Washoe County Sheriff offices may express concerns over public health and safety, and deputy staffing. Associated with this is the question of how the BLM will enforce applicable federal, state and local laws;

    With the increase in participants, increased amounts of airborne dust may be created, with associated air quality impacts;

    Surrounding communities and the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation may express concerns on the amount of solid waste (trash and refuse) generated by participants and how it will be disposed as participants depart the event;

    A variety of groups may want to know how BLM will monitor the event to insure that there is no unnecessary or undue degradation of federal land, and that the BLM receives appropriate financial compensation and cost recovery under the law; and

    With the increase in participants, both the Nevada Department of Transportation and County of Washoe may raise concerns with traffic and load capacity issues on public roads that access the event.

    • I am most curious in regards of the 2017 Crime Scorecard stated of 179 arrests within August, and September, of which near to all of the arrests were in due of the Burning Man Festival, but, the report by Sheriff Allen states of 57 arrests. What might be the rationale in regards to the difference of the numbers? Might the 179 number be in due of 57 arrests, and 125 citations, of which 121 were for misdemeanor citations for minor drug possession?

      The list of 191 police reports shows of the the police were solely near to the Gate for early entry, and for the first two days of the Burning Man festival, and then they moved to the EDM rave camps, and the EDM Mutant Vehicles for the rest of the festival. Might a Burner view the list of 191 police reports, and comment in regards of the little number of busts for marijuana?

      In regards of the most unprofessional behaviour, and lies of omission, of Sheriff Allen within his report,

      He states of the BMOrg, in regards of the BRC Rangers, should ‘have a separate training for their personnel to advise them they are NOT Law Enforcement Officers ….’, in despite of Sheriff Allen knows of they have training upon this subject. In addendum, the BRC Rangers are the group whom cares in regards of public safety of Burners upon the playa, the PCSO cares solely in regards of the number of Burners they might bust for drugs. Sheriff Allen fails to state of there are near to 800 BRC Rangers whom care in regards of public safety.

      In the manner stated within the 2017 Crime Scorecard, Sheriff Allen knows of the payment towards Pershing County is of a fixed amount of cash, and of the BMOrg, and the BLM, has priorly denied payments of a higher amount of cash, but he continues to argue for a higher amount of cash. In regards of this, Sheriff Allen knows of the BMOrg is honest within their reporting of the numbers, in due of scanning of the tickets, in despite of his numerous statements of quite the opposite.

      Sheriff Allen knows of it is a Unified Command of the BLM, and PCSO, law enforcement officers, and he states of the BLM solely enforces U. S. laws, but he knows of the sole desire of both the BLM, and the PCSO, is to bust Burners for drugs, but Sheriff Allen desires to state the PCSO is of the need for more deputies to bust Burners for drugs.

      Sheriff Allen knows of the rationale of the 2013 settlement agreement was in due of Pershing County desired to extort one million dollars of each year from the BMOrg, but a judge stated to them of they were solely permitted to gain a fixed amount of cash each year, but Sheriff Allen desires to argue against the settlement agreement. My belief is of the settlement agreement stated the Pershing County District Attorney was forbidden to be involved in Burning Man matters, might he have been the person for whom the meeting was halted?

      Sheriff Allen desires of housing at the blue pit, my belief it is the next entrance to the playa, where Dan Love desired the expensive camp, and Chocotacos. Dan Love, whom was in charge of the BLM law enforcement, was fired from the BLM in due of that burn, and the prior BLM minister for Burning Man, in addendum, was removed from his position. The BLM, within Washington D.C., then provided ‘adult supervision’ over the Nevada BLM in regards of Burning Man, of which, Sheriff Allen complains, in despite of Sheriff Allen is most in need of adult supervision.

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