Patrol services free up Metro officers to respond to emergencies

LAS VEGAS -- When your car is stolen or house burglarized in Las Vegas most people want the police to show up immediately.

Unless it is an emergency, sometimes it can take hours for Metro Police to respond because they're bogged down with other more pressing calls, but the department has people who help investigate and solve property crimes and other cases.

In this day and age of budget cuts and reduced manpower at Metro, police officers sometimes get tied up with routine reports. In order to free up those officers for higher-priority calls, Metro has a different type of back-up who is ready to respond.

Bob Berg has seen Las Vegas evolve.

"I spent my whole life here in Las Vegas, so I've watched it grow from a small town to what it is now," Berg said.

Responding across Metro's Southeast Area Command, he works as a Metro PSR.

"It stands for patrol services representative." Berg said.

Berg doesn't rush to calls where there is a clear and present danger, and generally he is not face to face with suspects, but when criminals strike, most people want the police on the case right away, even if the bad guy is long gone.

This wasn't A.J. Zelaya's day. His Honda Accord, with Nevada military plates, was stolen off his driveway, and for Zelaya, it is all déjà vu.

"It was the exact same car. It was stolen. It was stolen a couple months ago," Zelaya said.

Berg takes down every detail in a computerized report. It may not be the most exciting call of the day, but for Zelaya, it means everything.

"It is in the system, so anybody who runs that plate now, it is out there that it is stolen," Berg told Zelaya.

Berg doesn't do a rush job on his calls.

"I get to take a little bit longer with the victim, get more information." Berg said.

In his line of work, he notices trends that can put bad guys behind bars.

"I'm going to burglaries all the time, and if they're in the same area with the same M.O., you can kinda start figuring out this is the same person," Berg said.

While a PSR ride-along won't bring the characters out like an episode of "Cops" would, Berg's job is invaluable.

"This position is crucial because a report call, for example, might take upwards of two hours." Lt. John Liberty with Metro Southeast Area Command said.

So when Berg's unmarked white car shows up, it allows Metro's black-and-white cruisers to head to more urgent calls.

"We free up the patrol units to respond to probably thousands of calls in a year," Lt. Liberty said.

"I look forward to coming to work each day," Berg said.


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