Last Monday Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department surprised the community with the announcement that the department no longer will respond to car accidents unless there is a fatality.
Police no longer responding to accidents or property damages is not news; they have not responded to vandalism, break-ins and other incidents for a very long time, but the citizens are not aware because they only learn about that policy when they call for help.
Just recently Las Vegas Tribune contributor-writer Ed Uehling had his former residence/office egged after speaking before the county commission board against issues he feels very passionate about; when he called the police to go to his place to take a report and pictures, he was notified that he has to go to any of the substations between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
At the newspaper newsroom, someone listening to Uehling describe his interaction with the police dispatcher assumed that “the employers at some of the substations probably just want to go home before the rush hour traffic,” making everyone laugh.
A police press release that another publication shared with the Las Vegas Tribune stated that “Captain Mark Tavarez of the LVMPD Traffic Bureau” met with the media today (but not the Las Vegas Tribune), February 24, 2014, “to discuss the recent modifications of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s response to property damage collisions.”
Many believe that the alleged new modifications are only a result of county officials not granting a tax raise that Sheriff Gillespie has been begging for all of last year and part of 2014.
Police said this idea has been in the works for two years, and they won’t be the first department to do this. The Los Angeles and Tucson police departments don’t respond to damage-only crashes either.
Those two years in the works almost equal the time frame that the sheriff has been begging for the More Cops Tax.
Tavarez said his officers spend more than half their time on non-injury crashes. But they said with the amount of people dying on our roads, officers should instead focus on enforcing traffic laws.
County officials who set the budget for the police department told the Las Vegas Tribune that “this decision is obviously an administrative one,” adding that if the Traffic Bureau wanted to make this a priority, they have the money in their budget to do so, and it is just a matter of reassigning and hiring new officers.