Three dozen new Metro police officers were sworn in for duty on Wednesday.
This is the second recruiting class to graduate from the academy this year — and comes as Metro works to build staffing levels with money coming from the “More Cops” tax.
“I’ve always wanted to be that guy that everybody calls on when there’s trouble,” said Jaime Chavez, new Metro officer.
Las Vegas native Jaime Chavez is answering the call that he’s felt his whole life. He’s now a Las Vegas Metropolitan police officer.
“Doing that oath, you feel something that, I feel something that I have never felt before, like right now I can’t even talk that I’m so excited.”
Jaime is one of 37 new officers to be sworn in at The Orleans Wednesday.
Training bureau Captain Dennis O’Brien says the department is experiencing a period of expansion.
“We’re starting to add to the ranks now, and that’s the most important part. We’re adding to the ranks, and as we continue to build, we’re going to have more area commands and that’s going to put more officers into the farther reaches of the valley,” Capt. O’Brien said.
When pushing for the “More Cops” tax expansion during a special session of the legislature in 2016, Sheriff Joe Lombardo told lawmakers more officers are necessary to have a ratio of two officers for every 1,000 people.
As Clark County grows, he argued the department needed the funding to go with it. In March of 2017, the department announced plans to hire 600 officers to fill retirement vacancies and put additional cops on the street.
At the time, there were some 2,800 sworn officers. O’Brien says that number now stands at about 3,500.
“Now, we’re picking it back up and you’re seeing it on the streets, you’re seeing more police cars, you’re seeing safer streets,” Capt. O’Brien said.
Chavez can’t wait to hit the streets but he still has two more weeks of classroom orientation. Then he’ll hop in a patrol car with a more experienced partner for six months of field training.
“So anxious, and it’s a dream come true, I’m so excited for everything that’s going to happen from here on out,” Chavez said.
This graduating class included recruits who were born in nine different countries and 12 military veterans. About a quarter of the new officers are women.