Clark County, Nv., Sheriff Bill Young wants voters to increase sales taxes to pay for thousands of additional officers he says are sorely needed to keep pace with the growth of the county’s population and crime rate, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. However, a consultant’s study obtained by the Review-Journal indicates the number of officers and civilian personnel has kept pace with the county’s growth since 1999.
Population within the police department’s jurisdiction has jumped 20 percent between 1999 and 2003, according to an audit by the Matrix Consulting Group. During the same period, the number of police officers increased 21.2 percent and the number of civilian employees jumped 29.3 percent.
The study found that the calls for police service increased 21.6 percent, but that the number of serious crimes — including assault, auto theft, larceny and murder — increased 39.5 percent between 1999 and 2003. Young said the calculations are correct but that the police department was understaffed in 1999 and that its current ratio of 1.69 officers per 1,000 people is well below the national average of 2.5 officers per 1,000 people. Also, crime in the Las Vegas Valley jumped 12 percent in 2002 and 13 percent in 2003. “This report does not say we are adequately staffed,” Young said. “We have never caught up. We have never reached our goal of two officers per 1,000 people.”