Professor Michael W
8 December 2010
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department: Honest or Crooked? The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is an agency of highly disciplined and trained people whom sometimes, although not terribly often, do the wrong thing. We were taught at an extremely young age that the police are friends of the community. There are honest and dishonest people in all societies, as well as in the police department. A police officer’s mission is to enforce the law which citizens mandate through Congress. Infrequently, the police officers of Las Vegas unintentionally take steps slightly off the mark. More often than not, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department does what is right for the populace of Las Vegas. As of May 2009, protective services of Las Vegas earned an average of $19.74 per hour or $41,050 per year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a low income for putting his life on the line every single day. Detectives earned nearly twice as much. Since 1905, twenty Las Vegas Metropolitan police officers have died while on duty. The LVMPD has an array of programs designed to help the general public become more involved in their neighborhood. The LVMPD’s goal is to influence each resident in making Las Vegas safe for tourists and citizens. The vision statement of the LVMPD is “To Be the Safest Community in America” (The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department). During a phone interview with Public Information Officer Jay Rivera, I asked, “What marvelous things does the agency provide for us?” He replied, “Ultimately, the LVMPD is here to protect you. We will confront people that might be suspicious. We have a community outreach program called First Tuesday held on the first Tuesday of every month.” The 1st Tuesday program is an excellent opportunity for the citizenry of Las Vegas to get involved with their police department. The first Tuesday of every month they open the doors to their substations from 7 Pm to 8 Pm in order for the community to have an open discussion with the police officers who patrol their neighborhoods (The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department). Officer Rivera also mentioned getting to know the neighborhood police officers that patrol the area can help fight crime. There is a Citizen Academy, where citizens can go through some of the training that police do. Next I asked, “Why is deadly force used to a great extent? Can the use of tasers or pepper spray be used over and above shooting?” Officer Rivera informed me of some statistics for 2009. Of the 1,000,000 police contacts with citizens, only 21 shootings occurred, or .000021%. He mentioned that tasing and mace spraying were used at least 10 times more often than lethal force. PI Officer Rivera said, “People of our city need to rethink the propaganda that was given to the public by way of the press. The ‘Hollywood style’ gun shooting that the public demands when we are in shoot outs is just unheard of” (Rivera). According to the FBI uniform crime report, the Metropolitan Police Department reported a 2 percent decrease in violent crimes from 2008 to 2009, including drops in murder, rape and robberies. There were 111 reported murder cases in 2009, while having 120 in 2008, a reduction of 7.5 percent. The number of rape cases dropped 4.2 percent, and robbery cases dropped 8.8 percent. Las Vegas police also reported decreases in property crimes, burglaries, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. The only category in which police reported a higher total of cases was aggravated assault, which increased by 2.5 percent. The most significant decline is a 10.3% decrease in property crimes, which decreased from 53,160 cases in 2008 to 47,668 in 2009. Motor vehicle thefts have dropped 45 percent since 2007. About 16,000 vehicle thefts were reported in 2007, and just fewer than 9,000 cases were reported in 2009 (Blasky). The crime rates in Las Vegas have improved...
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