Incline Justice Court finds new home, role for constable
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Incline Justice Center has found a new home after a long search since finding out its current location would be sold in June 2021. The location of the court, currently at 865 Tahoe Boulevard, will relocate to 855 Alder Avenue, an existing Washoe County facility that used to house the Forest Service.
Washoe County Assistant County Manager Kate Thomas has been working on the transition with Judge Alan Tiras in order to create the perfect space to continue existing services provided by the court.
“The Community Center on Alder was opened in 2018 to provide a gathering space for seniors and other community members including some leased space for the USFS,” said Thomas. “During the pandemic, the facility was closed and subsequent discussions with USFS to vacate their lease as their workforce was moved to a virtual operation allowed the perfect opportunity to move the Incline Justice Court into the space following some remodeling.”
Court operations will continue at the new location, with the goal to provide the same level of service while utilizing a building intended to be community space.
“Court staff presence will assist in helping to open the location to the community once again as staffing the location has been a challenge,” Thomas said. “We hope it is an enhanced benefit to the Incline Village Community.”
Tiras explained that the new space would act not only as the court, but as a multipurpose space for senior services and other public groups that need to have a place to be able to convene.
“They should be able to use that space as well,” Tiras said. “I’m just thrilled that the county is providing us with a home because there were some concerns we had about whether or not they were eliminating the court altogether. This commitment to the community and to the court I think is a very positive thing.”
Not many renovations are needed besides adding doors, moving clerk windows, and extending a wall in the building. The space itself will be smaller than what the court inhabits now, but Tiras is confident that this is not the long-term solution for the offices.
“I think it’s wonderful that we’ll be in a county-owned space,” Tiras said. “The plan is that this is a relatively short term location for us. We’re hoping that we will be able to co-locate with the Sheriff’s Office in a new facility in just a few years. But [the move] gives us a place that we can call home until that new facility becomes available to us.”
The facility Tiras is excited to eventually open is tentatively known as the Incline Justice Center, which would house the Incline Justice Court, the Washoe County Sheriff Office Substation, and other county offices that would offer more accessibility to services for Incline Village/Crystal Bay residents.
Since that project is currently in its early stages of production, Tiras is focused on making the court as accessible as possible to residents and those who are ticketed that live out of town. Through a hybrid system of virtual and in-person court date opportunities, Tiras is excited to see how the new space will influence the current systems and his staff.
“I think we’ve been in [the old building’ for well over 25 years, so it’s going to be interesting because everybody associates that building with the court,” Tiras said. “Hopefully people will be able to find us in the new space. It’s our goal to be able to continue to provide services that the community needs.”
In addition to the move, Tiras reported that through the help of Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam, Hans Keller will continue working with the court in a very similar capacity to what he currently does in his position as constable. The constable’s position was eliminated earlier this year by the Washoe County Board of Commissioners, effectively taking the right-hand man of Tiras.
“We’re very pleased that we’ll be able to continue to have him up here, that the community will continue to have him as resources up here as he pretty much has been,” Tiras said. “We thank Sheriff Balaam for allowing that to happen.”
While Constable Keller will no longer technically be the constable, he will continue to perform much of the same services he did prior to becoming the constable as the Chief Bailiff with the help of his staff.
“We hope to be in the new facility before the end of the year,” Tiras said. “It’s not going to be ideal, but it’s certainly better than to be homeless, and we’ll definitely make it work.”
Both Thomas and Tiras are hoping for a smooth transition, but are aware some issues may arise. Anyone with comments, suggestions, or issues are welcome to call Washoe 211.
Miranda Jacobson is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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