Animal Control officer sentenced
Former Nevada County Animal Control officer Arlene Winstead is set to begin serving her 90-day jail sentence next month for possession of methamphetamine.
Winstead, who was in uniform and driving her county-issued vehicle when she was arrested, also must submit to three years of probation and pay about $1,800 in fines and court fees, Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tamietti ruled.
Officers from the Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force arrested Winstead shortly after she left a motel on the 13000 block of Highway 49. The officers found two meth pipes in her Animal Control truck and a bindle of methamphetamine in the pocket of her uniform windbreaker, according to the police report.
Winstead asked a narcotics officer several times to take the meth from her pocket, turning her head to watch for other investigators who were nearing the police cruiser where she sat handcuffed, according to the report.
After the police report was made public, the DA decided to stop including police reports in court files. The undersheriff had complained in this instance; the DA cited concerns about confidentiality in ending the practice.
The former county employee cannot enter the Prop. 36 drug rehabilitation program because she was wearing her Animal Control uniform, driving her county-issued vehicle and had a loaded gun at the time of her arrest, Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Ken Tribby said Friday.
“We have to hold her to a higher standard,” Tribby said. “She was a public servant. Her actions didn’t create a whole lot of faith” in public employees.
Voters approved Prop. 36 as an alternative to jail for offenders charged with drug possession. Although she won’t participate in Prop. 36 rehab, Winstead will have access to drug counseling.
Tribby filed two charges against Winstead in December 2006, including possession of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine while armed with a gun, he said.
Winstead pleaded not guilty to the charges Jan. 2. Tribby re-filed the single charge of possession of methamphetamine April 2. Winstead later waived her right to Prop. 36 and pleaded no contest. She was sentenced May 15, according to court records.
The county’s probation department may recommend drug treatment for Winstead, Tribby said. In that case, her probation would include required counseling. The probation department’s report is not available to the public.
Winstead is scheduled to begin serving her three-month sentence July 16 at Wayne Brown Correctional Facility.
As part of her probation, she is not permitted to consume alcohol or controlled substances, and she will be permitted to leave the county only to visit her mother in Reno, according to the judge’s orders.
To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4236.
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