How to Become a Police Officer in Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) is one of the most active forces in the country; in 2017, the department took an estimated 2.9 million calls to its dispatch, 911, and police non-emergency lines.1 The department has an annual budget in excess of $601 million to serve the over 2 million residents and the estimated 43 million tourists who visit the city of Las Vegas each year.1 Currently, there are nearly 5,000 sworn and non-sworn members in the LV Metropolitan Police Force and the department is actively recruiting qualified candidates for service.1 The steps to becoming a Las Vegas cop are outlined in detail below.
Las Vegas Police Officer Requirements
In order to offer the best public service to Las Vegas residents and visitors, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has a strict recruitment policy and actively looks for the best candidates. Anyone looking to work as a police officer in Las Vegas must meet a number of requirements. To begin, candidates must:
- Be a US citizen
- Be at least 21 years old by the date of hire
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Possess a valid Nevada driver’s license
- Have 20/20 vision (20/40 for those wearing corrective lenses)
- Not have been convicted of a felony crime or other disqualifying offense
- Not have been found guilty of a domestic violence or domestic assault charge
- Not have had more than one DUI
LVMPD candidates must also pass a number of physical, mental, and written tests. The first step in the physical evaluation is the LVMPD New Hire Physical Fitness Exam. The exam consists of vertical jump, agility run, sit-ups, push-ups, and a 300-meter and one-and-a-half mile run. Candidates next take an oral examination. This is basically a professional job interview and candidates are expected to dress and accordingly and be on time. During the examination, a candidate’s ability to work on the police force and meet the rigorous demands of the job will be assessed through numerous questions.
Once candidates have passed the oral examination, they must continue with the process by submitting to the Life History Investigation. This process entails releasing personal background information such as family information, education, military service, previous work experience, and criminal history through a Personal History Statement (PHS). Candidates are responsible for having various waivers signed and documents notarized, in addition to completing the PHS online within 10 days of receiving the instructions by email. Finally, applicants take a pre-academy fitness exam. Candidates who successfully complete all stages of the selection process will be invited to attend an upcoming police academy class.
For more information, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our homepage and once you are ready to apply for a position, application information can be found on the LVMPD website.
LVMPD Police Recruit Academy
Since 2015, the LVMPD has added approximately 576 police positions to its rosters.1 The LVMPD Police Recruit Academy, which is held at the Jerry Keller Training Center, is an incredibly rigorous test for LVMPD candidates. The entire training process, which takes approximately 27 weeks, is divided into two units. The first phase is the Operations Phase that focuses on the basic knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a Las Vegas police officer. The second phase is the Tactics Phase, which builds on the Operations Phase, but focuses on advanced subjects such as tactics, use of firearms, and emergency vehicle operations. Physical fitness and defensive tactics training are integrated throughout the program.
During the training process, candidates must take 10 written tests and a final comprehensive written exam, a critical policy test, and finally, the Nevada Police Officer’s Standards and Training (POST) test. Through the various testing, candidates should earn a total of 36 test points. Written academic counseling is required of any candidate that fails to earn a test point. After successfully graduating from the academy, officers complete 24 weeks of field training.
Las Vegas Police Department Information
The LVMPD is divided into eight urban area command divisions including Bolden, Convention Center, Downtown, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Enterprise, and South Central. Once confirmed as officers, new recruits will be assigned to patrol one of these areas along with an assigned Field Training Officer. The Las Vegas MPD also has a large number of specialized units that are divided into bureaus that may be further broken up into specific divisions such as homeland security, SWAT, Organized Crime Bureau, Gang Crimes Bureau, Robbery/Homicide Bureau, Crimes Against Youth and Family Bureau, Financial – Property Crimes Bureau, Airport Bureau, Communications Bureau, Support Operations Bureau, K-9, Traffic Bureau and more.
Las Vegas bills itself as the Entertainment Capital of the World, and entertains over 40 million visitors per year.1 With the sheer number of tourists, safety is a number one priority of the LVMPD – and thanks to the agency’s efforts, Las Vegas is one of the safest major tourist destinations not just in the US, but worldwide.1
The City of Las Vegas is actively connected to its local community and the city’s law enforcement continues that tradition through many community programs. One such program is the 1st Tuesday program, which encourages local residents to participate in a community forum once a week. This process connects the residents with the assigned patrol officers of their neighborhood so that any problems can be addressed efficiently. Additionally, there are many initiatives for youth involvement that are aimed at preventing gang participation, drug use, and petty or violent crime.
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
The starting salary for police officers in Las Vegas is $49,899 per year.1 Yearly pay raises are common as are various promotional opportunities. Additionally, there is an annual education incentive payment for officers that hold an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree. The department also offers a clothing allowance, shift differentials, incentive pay for officers bi-lingual in Spanish and English, and generous paid leave. Officers participate in the State of Nevada Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and are vested after five years of service.1 Currently, the average annual salary of a Las Vegas area police officer is $80,670 per year.2
The job outlook for Nevada police officers is strong. Through 2026, employment of police is expected to increase by 15.4%, with an estimated 477 new jobs created each year.3 For more information on current Las Vegas law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board.
Cities and Police Departments Near Las Vegas
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are approximately 3,520 police and sheriff’s patrol officers employed in the Las Vegas metro area.2 The LVMPD is the largest local employer of police officers, but there are opportunities in neighboring metros such as Henderson, North Las Vegas, and Paradise. The below table compares police employment and crime rate by city in the Las Vegas area.
|City||Force Name/Abbreviation||City Population4||Police Dept. Total Employees1,5||Sworn Officers5||Civilian Staff5||Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People6||Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People6|
|Henderson||Henderson Police Department (HPD)||302,539||588||350||238||0.2||1.8|
|Las Vegas Police Department||Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD)||644,644||5,000||N/A||N/A||2.1||7.14|
|North Las Vegas||North Las Vegas (NLVPD)||242,975||414||268||146||0.94||2.17|
- Las Vegas Fraternal Order of Police – The Las Vegas Fraternal Order of Police seeks to improve officer safety and benefits and offers opportunities for professional growth.
- Las Vegas Police Protective Association – The Las Vegas Police Protective Association, or LVPPA, is the bargaining unit for Las Vegas metro police officers.
- Las Vegas Sheriff’s Protective Association – This member-driven organization offers emergency loans, death benefits, family support, and networking opportunities to member-officers of the LVMPD.
1. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department: https://www.lvmpd.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_29820.htm
3. Projections Central: https://www.projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm
4. US Census Bureau, QuickFacts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219
5. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Full-time Law Enforcement Employees by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-26/table-26.xls/view
6. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-6/table-6.xls/view