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Police log 353 reports of noncompliant businesses after Sisolak order

In the first week after Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered a shutdown of nonessential businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, Las Vegas police logged 353 reports of businesses possibly not in compliance.

Of those calls, 70 percent resulted in no action from officers because the business was essential, it was in compliance or, in some cases, police didn’t investigate.

According to records from the Metropolitan Police Department provided to the Review-Journal, there were 353 “events” generated from March 21 to March 28 regarding businesses reportedly not complying with Sisolak’s order. March 21 was the day Metro announced officers would begin “compliance checks” on businesses that remained open following the order, which was issued the day before.

The Special Investigations Section — the unit performing compliance checks — normally has two sergeants and 10 detectives. Las Vegas News There are now four sergeants and 24 detectives assigned to the team because of the order, Metro spokesman Aden OcampoGomez said Thursday.

According to the records, some of the reports were from people calling police about businesses, while others appeared to be officers investigating on their own.

Data from the first week of enforcement shows that 249 calls resulted in officers deeming the business essential, determining the business was in compliance or arriving at the business to find it closed. In other instances, the call was canceled without explanation.

A canceled call does not necessarily mean that officers did not respond to a scene to investigate. For example, records indicate some calls were canceled after officers reported to the scene and found the business closed to the public.

Business suspensions

There were 93 instances in the log that specified Metro gave written notice to a business that it was to remain closed during the lockdown. This includes calls in which officers gave written notice to businesses but the records didn’t indicate if the official letter was given.

There were also nine instances in which a business license was suspended.

Data from the Clark County Business License Department showed that during the first five days following the order, the county took the most action against liquor stores. OcampoGomez said Thursday that the county’s license department has worked with officers in the past, and they are continuing to work together to enforce the order.

But county officials aren’t always with Metro officers during compliance checks, which could explain discrepancies in the data from the two agencies.

While county data shows that 14 emergency suspensions were issued during the five-day period following the order, Metro data shows only eight emergency suspensions given in the first five days of enforcement and an additional emergency suspension given March 27.

The emergency suspensions are effective until Sisolak’s order ends, county spokesman Dan Kulin had said before Sisolak extended his closure order from April 16 through April 30. It was not immediately clear Thursday if the emergency suspensions would also be extended.

“We will reassess the license status of these businesses before (April 16) to determine whether to extend the suspensions or not,” Kulin has said.

Some of Metro’s data indicated that the county handed out the emergency suspensions, while other times a Metro lieutenant issued it. Eight emergency suspensions detailed by Metro were handed out to liquor stores, with three suspensions given to three Total Wine & More locations. Another emergency suspension was given to a barbershop.

Police had to be called more than once to the Curacao department store at the Meadows mall. Press Release Distribution Service  Police were called to the store on March 21 and 22, and warning letters were given on both days after the store was “uncooperative” March 21, according to the records.

A large red banner reading “We Are Open” was seen hanging outside the store’s door March 21, and a manager inside the store said she was directed to read from a company statement when approached by a Review-Journal reporter.

The data showed that police gave written notice to 18 liquor stores and 22 smoke shops or dispensaries.

Records also showed that during the first week of enforcement, six restaurants received warning letters, along with an adult video store and a store offering psychic readings.

Data on compliance checks conducted since March 28 was not available Thursday.

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