LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The hiring process for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is underway.
A shrinking police department is what Sherriff Joe Lombardo and department leaders are trying to stop.
On Monday, the LVMPD committee on fiscal affairs approved about $124M from the $127M sales tax for more officers.
The new and approved budget would help pave the way to open up about 800 police officer positions.
Sheriff Lombardo believes it’s an ideal strategy but said many have become less interested in going into the field.
Rich Hoggan the LVMPD Chief Financial officer described the current recruitment process to 8 News Now.
“We are aggressively recruiting, our hope is that if we are able to meet our academy objectives is that we hope to fill those vacancies,” Hoggan said.
Stavros Anthony is a Las Vegas City Councilman for Ward 4, and described the hiring process for police departments nationwide as an ongoing struggle, following the riots that centered around police officers last summer.
“Every single police department across the country is facing a problem with recruitment. It’s all over the country. They say it all about the summer rioting that we had,” Anthony added.
Those riots that swept across the country, they say, tainted police officers, and many quit.
As Las Vegas continues to grow in population Sheriff Lombardo says recruitment is getting tricky.
“What we have seen in the previous years is less people standing in line to become police officers,” said Lombardo.
Metro police is also facing a blow to its budget, as the department is expected to pay about $675,000 for two separate settlements.
The first settlement involves Douglas Seymour, who will get $275,000 for a wrongful arrest in 2019.
Eleazar Mora was awarded $400,000 after she was shot in the face in 2020 by an officer.
“Recruiting folks with a 3.8% unemployment is challenging. Like everything else we are doing our best to fill these positions,” said Hoggan.
Metro police are not the only department facing recuritment challenges, Nevada State Police has nearly 50% of its positions vacant.
Sheriff Lombardo added that if the pay is good, recruitment and retention won’t be an issue.