NLV Police getting 3 new officers, hoping to hire even more

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev.  -- North Las Vegas has been one of the hardest hit areas, when it comes to crimes. Already this month, the city had two pedestrians hit and killed on the roads.

Two people, in separate incidents, were shot and killed. A 16-year-old boy was killed this past weekend.

Now, the police department is getting some much needed help. It is a shrinking police department.

North Las Vegas has 59 fewer police officers than they did five years ago because of budget issues. That was the case until Monday, when three recruits started training. They are the first new hires since 2009.

Some parts of North Las Vegas have it safer than others. Jason Murphy says police around his neighborhood do a fine job.

"I think they've got enough on their force right now," Murphy said.

Bewayne James says otherwise.

"There's a lot of homeless, a lot of shootings, a lot of purse-snatchings." James said.

She has noticed a rise in crimes where she lives since North Las Vegas police stopped hiring officers five years ago, during the height of the recession.

"I heard that they were damn-near broke," James said.

They are and have been because of the dwindling tax revenue from North Las Vegas, which is why the department says they are looking for alternative funding streams like federal grants.

In the case of the newest three recruits, the first since 2009, they have been bankrolled by the Department of Justice.

"That grant back in 2009 afforded the opportunity to hire 16 police officers. Through attrition we've since lost three which has allowed us to hire these new recruits out of that funding," North Las Vegas Police Sgt. Chrissie Coon said.

Although three new officers don't sound like a lot, it is to a department, which hopes this hiring bump will start the trend of getting more recruits each year.

They want to replace more of the 59 officers they lost since the hiring freeze.

"We've applied for another cops hiring grant to give us the funding to hire 13 new officers from that funding," Sgt. Coon said.

Right now, NLVPD has 260 officers. All patrolling officers will continue to double-up, meaning two officers per car, because of safety concerns, even if all three recruits graduate the academy by this time next year.


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