LAUGHLIN — Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Wayne Dice became the leader of the local duty station in August.
This office isn’t open to the public. It’s a place for NHP officers to book evidence or complete reports.
Even though only NHP employees see the inside of the spartan office, Dice thought it was important to put up a Christmas tree during the holidays. It was only a few feet tall, but it provided enough branches to hold Dice’s collection of law enforcement-themed ornaments.
Dice said he wants to make the office comfortable for the troopers he supervises, but points out that ensuring that drivers obey the rules of the road is what’s most important.
“The big thing we work on is reducing crashes,” Dice explained. “We enforce traffic laws to reduce crashes.”
Numbers of tickets written doubled in October and November once he increased trooper enforcement efforts. DUI arrests have risen sharply as well.
And Dice isn’t content to sit behind his desk — he’s out patrolling with the other troopers.
“I can’t supervise from behind,” Dice said. “I’ve got to get out there and do some work. That’s what I enjoy doing.”
Dice’s office is responsible for patrolling a wide area. The Laughlin office responds to calls on U.S. 95 as well as Nevada highways 163, 164 and 165. Troopers stationed there go out to calls as far away as Interstate 11 near Boulder City.
Troopers assigned to rural posts sometimes are required to answer calls during off hours. That’s why they take their work vehicles home, he said.
Dice was on patrol in late September not far from Laughlin when he noticed a Greyhound bus driver seeking to flag him down. A passenger on the bus was unconscious.
The man’s eyes had pinpointed pupils and his skin was a blue-tinged, which convinced Dice that the man had overdosed on opioids. He administered Narcan. The drug was first issued in June to NHP troopers. He was the first trooper to use the lifesaving drug on someone.
Dice and other passengers carried the man off the bus, where Clark County Fire Department used oxygen. He was conscious about 10 minutes after he was given the Narcan.
Dice’s body camera video shows him talking to the man, rubbing his shoulders and doing CPR. The patient was airlifted to an area hospital for further care.
Dice said he’s very happy that the man survived the ordeal.
He’s also interested in establishing a program to certify troopers as phlebotomists so they can draw blood themselves instead of having to wait until someone trained to do it is available.
The Nevada Attorney General’s office is evaluating the proposal, Dice said.
He’s also interested in working with other law enforcement agencies to make the Colorado River region a safer place and would like to conduct casino walk-throughs with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, he said.
“We don’t just work the highways anymore,” he explained.
Allowing residents to get to know the people who work to protect them is also important. NHP troopers will be at local community events and meetings, such as the Laughlin Town Advisory Town Board meeting in December, to explain what they do or simply chat for a bit,
Dice was born in Davenport, Washington, and has family still living in that part of the country. Many of his relatives were in law enforcement, including both of his parents and one of his grandparents.
Two of his brothers also went into the same line of work.
His family moved to Arizona while he was young. He graduated from Camp Verde High School, then entered the U.S. Army, where he served for five years in transportation units.
He started his law enforcement career in Washington state by working on the Colville Indian Reservation and Washington State University police departments.
Dice started work for the NHP in the Laughlin-Searchlight area for the first time in 2003.
After his first stint in the Laughlin, he was transferred to the Fernley office, a Northern Nevada community with cold and snowy winters. He said he was thrilled to return to Southern Nevada in 2008.
That period included two years in the Southern Nevada Counter-terrorism Center as a detective and five years as canine officer.
He was named Trooper of the Year in 2006 and Police Officer of the Year while working for each of the departments in Washington in 1995 and 2000.
The NHP sergeant has three children: two boys, ages 27 and 16, and a daughter, age 12.