On April 1, the sales tax will go up a tenth of a percent to pay for more police officers. That equates to a penny for every $10.
It’s the second part of the More Cops Tax passed by the Nevada Legislature and implemented by Clark County commissioners.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is facing a huge undertaking. It has hundreds of positions up for grabs.
This comes at a time when police departments nationwide are dealing with a shortage of qualified applicants and the views of the law enforcement profession are changing.
For the past year or so, Metro has been hosting job fair after job fair, letting the community know, it’s hiring.
“The opportunities to do so many things are there,” said Annette Mullin, Metro. “It’s not the same job every day. It’s not the same job year to year.”
As part of the More Cops Tax, as well as filling current vacancies, the police department hopes to hire 600 police officers in the next 18 months.
Recruiting Sergeant Jose Hernandez says, in order to reach its hiring goals, Metro will have to receive 30,000 applications.
“The largest response comes from social media,” Hernandez said.
He adds, they are averaging between 600 to 900 applications a month, which is below their set goal of 1,000 to 1,500.
“It’s a challenge that’s going on nationwide and LVMPD certainly is not immune to it,” he said.
Metro is also facing challenges diversifying the police force.
“That’s an absolute goal of ours,” Hernandez said.
According to the latest demographic data available, Metro had just over 2,800 sworn officers. That’s a couple hundred more compared to six months before. Around 71 percent are white, 7 percent are black and 14 percent are Latino.
“We hope to hire more Hispanic officers, more Spanish speaking officers, you know, we’re over 50-percent population when related to Hispanic,” Hernandez said.
But the biggest challenge, he says, is hiring women, who make up about 9 percent of the police force.
“We really do want to have officers in our academy and on our streets who represent who we have out there,” Mullin said.
Metro is focusing most of their efforts recruiting locally. In fact, most applicants are from Nevada and to make it more convenient, the police department is now offering testing at locations around the valley.
Click here for more Metro employment information.