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Washoe County Sheriff’s help educate drivers about organ, eye and tissue donation

RENO, Nev. (Oct. 21, 2022)The Second Chances program allows Washoe County Deputy Sheriffs, at their discretion, to give registered organ donors who are pulled over for minor traffic violations a warning ticket, as opposed to a fine. Offered in partnership with Donor Network West, the program will run from Thursday, Oct. 20 to Friday, Oct. 28.

The program is designed to help encourage more Washoe County residents to register as organ donors. Drivers who have the official organ donor heart on their up-to-date Nevada driver’s license may be told that they are being given a second chance – because their status as an organ donor gives a fellow citizen a second chance at life.

“This program turns a stressful situation – being pulled over by a law enforcement officer – into a surprising and positive outcome for organ donors,” Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam said. “This program thanks registered organ donors for choosing to give people a second chance at life and, hopefully, will encourage more Nevadans to give others a second chance by registering to become a donor.”

Those who do not have the donor designation on their driver’s license may still be issued a Second Chance warning ticket for considering registering as a donor in the future.

“The need for more registered organ donors is huge,” said Janice Whaley, president and CEO of Donor Network West. “Our partnership with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is an incredible way to spread awareness and education about organ donation. We appreciate their continued support engaging with the community in such a positive, potentially life-saving, way.”

There are more than 600 Nevadans currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant and more than 100,000 people waiting nationwide. Sadly, approximately 20 people die every day because the organ they need was not donated in time.

For more information about this program, or to find how your municipality, organization or group can become involved, visit


Photo cutline: The “Second Chances” program runs from Thursday, Oct. 20 to Friday, Oct. 28. Offered by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and Donor Network West, the program allows for warnings to be given to drivers pulled over for minor traffic violations if they are registered organ donors or if they consider registering.

Media note:Photos from the Second Chances program are available for download here.

About Donor Network West
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research. The organization was established in 1987 and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 45 counties in northern Nevada and northern California, Donor Network West has headquarters in northern Nevada and California and partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit and follow us on social media: @mydnwest.

About Washoe County Sheriff’s Office
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.

October 21, 2022