Legislators push for Veterans Specialty Court
State legislators want Clark County to start a veterans specialty court Video by ktnv.comvideo
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Veterans returning from combat have special needs as Steve Sanson knows. When he returned from the gulf war, he didn't know how to adjust to civilian life.
"I saw myself going down the wrong path with road rage and assault and batteries and alcohol," he says.
He was able to avoid serious criminal issues, but many veterans are not so lucky. Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, a veteran himself, thinks a special veterans court in Clark County could help.
"We want to make sure we have trained professionals who understand veterans services and benefits, that can direct them to the right places instead of locking them up."
The state legislature passed a bill creating veterans courts in 2009, but they didn't make it mandatory. So Washoe County was one of only a few jurisdictions to implement one.
"They've had great success so far, it hasn't cost them anything," says the Assemblyman. "And they've been able to save a ton of money on jail time and lawyer time."
Sanson has seen the ways DUI courts and mental health courts have made a difference.
"It just upsets me so much that they name all these specialty courts, but they won't implement the veterans courts."
He hopes that changes soon.
"Veterans are not asking for special privileges, they want to be treated."
Assemblyman Anderson's committee voted this week to send an official request to the court. If that doesn't work, he says they will introduce a bill during the next legislative session to make the creation of veterans courts mandatory.