LAS VEGAS -- The debate regarding the proposed More Cops tax remains far from over. Supporters say the tax is badly needed to pay for officers throughout Clark County, not just Metro Police officers.
In a city where money counts more than ever, the North Las Vegas Police Department has learned to pinch pennies anywhere it can.
North Las Vegas Police Officer Aaron Patty said the days of doing proactive policing, such as checking out neighborhoods or looking for suspicious activity, are nearly over. Since the city's financial difficulties surfaced five years ago, the police department hasn't hired a new officer.
The department lost more than 70 officers through retirement and other means. The More Cops tax would have put as many as 30 officers back on North Las Vegas streets.
"It has been difficult since 2009 - not having any new bodies helping us out on the roads to tackle these issues," Patty said. "We are just as discouraged and disappointed about the decision. We feel that would have been a huge help to our department."
Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins said the tax benefit would have reached far beyond the City of Las Vegas.
"There's been so much information, so much absolute proof that we need more cops," Collins said. "There are five cities besides Clark County that are impacted greatly by this, and those cops don't just live in that particular city. They live all over Clark County."
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie argued Tuesday before commissioners for the tax and said the proof is in the numbers for his department.
From 2012 to 2013, violent crime rose in Metro's jurisdiction with homicides jumping 25 percent.
Sexual assaults increased more than 3 percent, while property crimes of all types spiked 2 percent.
Metro said last month there were so many calls for service and so few officers, the 911 dispatch offices went to Level Two call screening. That means officers were only responding to in-progress violent crimes. Other calls for noise complaints and less serious issues had to wait.
Metro added the officer shortage could be seen earlier this month at the Northwest Area Command. It's one of the few substations still open. When a murder suspect went to turn himself in, police said he waited 20 minutes with blood on him before staff was free to handle the situation.