North Las Vegas residents voiced their concerns Tuesday night at a community forum following a string of violence in the city.
“We heard their concerns,” said newly-appointed North Las Vegas Police Chief Pamela Ojeda. “We’re just as concerned.”
Chief Ojeda organized the community forum and introduced the police department’s new ‘End the Violence’ program.
“It’s a new campaign that we’re just rolling out to educate and get some new technology in,” explained Chief Ojeda. “We’re redoing our resources in our department since I took over—restructuring and getting visibility in the community.”
As part of the plan, 13 new officers will be patrolling the streets of North Las Vegas. The police department will also be focusing on community involvement to address an evolving gang issue.
“The old gangs, the ‘bloods’ and the ‘crips’ that doesn’t apply anymore,” said one person in the crowd.
“They call themselves ‘movements, posses’ you have to keep your ears and eyes open,” explained CCSD Police Lt. Roberto Morales. “It’s a whole different environment out there.”
Representatives of the regional gang unit explained how its task force is partnering with the Clark County School District, and how it’s identifying gang members.
“We’re also talking to the gang leaders that we have identified,” said a NLVPD representative. “They have some new gang leaders. We’re trying to identify the feuds, but they change constantly.”
State Senator Patrica Spearman stressed the importance of after-school programs and the need for elected officials to take action.
“We’ve got to show our children that we care,” expressed Spearman. “And that they are more than a statistical dot on a data point.”
Residents, who attended, said they were satisfied with the forum, and the plan presented, but hope the next steps also include prevention.
“Now we need to do something to prevent it from happening again,” stressed Henry Thorns. “That’s the most important thing. Let’s get them something to do before the next thing happens.”
North Las Vegas Police Chief Pamela Ojeda also encourages residents to reach out to the police department if they’d like to set up meetings with officers to address other issues.