Taxicab Authority officers say they’re not allowed to fully enforce the law

The Nevada Taxicab Authority’s officers could do a better job enforcing laws regulating the taxi industry if only they were allowed to do so, according to two authority investigators.

Instead, the investigators say the administration discourages officers from writing lots of citations to cabbies for violations, including long-hauling.

Long-hauling occurs when cabbies take passengers on a longer-than-necessary trip to their destinations, boosting fares without their permission. The most common victims are tourists and other visitors arriving at McCarran International Airport with Strip resort destinations.

The taxicab authority’s situation also has caught the attention of state agency directors at the Nevada Department of Public Safety and Nevada Department of Business and Industry, said Ron Cuzze, president of the Nevada State Law Enforcement Officers Association.

The agencies reached out to the association, which represents taxicab authority employees, and the parties had a teleconference several weeks ago, Cuzze said.

He echoed the investigators’ concerns and said his association hears similar concerns from authority police officers.

“They are extremely hampered in the execution of their law enforcement function, which is both a public safety issue and an officer safety issue and also an industry issue,” Cuzze said of the authority investigators.

It’s the latest development for the taxicab authority. A private conversation between Ruben Aquino, the authority’s chief investigator who supervises the officers, and another investigator, Antoine “Chris” Rivers, has emerged in a recent court case. The conversation from December 2012 raised concerns among the authority’s rank and file. In that conversation, the two talked of how the authority’s officers cannot be heavy-handed and said that the authority’s day-to-day operations are overseen by cab owners, records show.

On behalf of state law enforcement officers, Cuzze’s association handles grievances, including those of the investigators with the authority.

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