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How to Become a Police Officer in Nevada

Working in Nevada law enforcement can be a great career choice for those looking to become police officers. Approximately 4,740 sworn police and patrol officers work in Nevada.1 Entry-level and training requirements for law enforcement officers in the state are overseen by the Nevada Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training (POST). Continue reading to learn more about the requirements for police officers in the state.

Nevada Police Officer Requirements

Although Nevada’s POST requirements for police candidates are considered to be the statewide standard, local police departments can set additional requirements. For example, the state requires that all Nevada police candidates hold a high school diploma or GED. However, local police or sheriff’s departments can require recruits to have a college degree. In most cases, even if having a college degree is not mandatory, a two-year degree or higher can generally improve your chances of employment.

The minimum standards required by Nevada’s POST regulations state that law enforcement officer candidates must:

  • Be a US citizen, by birth or naturalization
  • Be at least 21 years old at the time of appointment
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Not have any history of felony convictions or disqualifying misdemeanors
  • Pass an extensive background check, which will include checks into criminal behavior, drug use, driving record, financial history, and employment history
  • Pass a physical abilities test
  • Complete physical and psychological evaluations
  • Complete training at a POST-certified police academy
“Many young people spend a lot of their time and money pursuing a degree in criminal justice before they get hired. In a Civil Service state that degree will not help you till you score high enough for consideration. My personal recommendation would be to pursue a degree in a separate field that interests you that intersects with police work (psychology, social services, etc) before you get hired and consider a criminal justice degree after hire.” – Thomas Gerace, Police Lieutenant and FBI National Academy Graduate

Nevada Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

The Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) is a division of the Nevada Department of Public Safety. Established in 1908, today the Nevada Highway Patrol has 356 commissioned officers and 177 civilians overseeing safety and law enforcement on Nevada highways.2 Prospective Nevada state troopers must meet the state’s minimum requirements for law enforcement officers and:

  • Must not have any convictions for offenses involving the sale or manufacture of controlled substances
  • Must not have a DUI conviction within the past five years nor more than two DUI convictions in the applicant’s lifetime
  • Must not have any convictions related to domestic violence
  • Must not have used any illegal substances within the year preceding the application
  • Must be able to obtain a Nevada driver’s license and a radio operator’s certificate

Nevada Sheriff’s Deputy Requirements

Nevada has sixteen counties and each county has an elected sheriff. Prospective sheriff’s deputies, who are sworn law enforcement officers assisting sheriffs in carrying out duties such as rural patrol, delivering court documents and enforcing court orders, and carrying out bench warrants, must meet Nevada POST requirements for law enforcement officers at a minimum. Counties may set additional requirements beyond the state minimums.

Clark County

The Clark County Sheriff’s Department (CCSD) serves the most populous county in the state with Las Vegas serving as the county seat. To become a sheriff’s deputy in Clark County, candidates must meet state requirements for law enforcement officers, pass the physical and written examinations, and pass an extensive background check and drug screen. If candidates are invited to move forward in the recruiting process, they will complete an oral board review and upon approval, will be enrolled in the police training academy.

Washoe County

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) provides law enforcement services for unincorporated Washoe County and operates the county’s adult detention facility. The WCSO employs 412 commissioned officers as well as 283 civilians, with 11 reserve deputy sheriffs and 422 volunteers.3 The WCSO hires well-qualified deputy sheriffs who meet Nevada POST minimum requirements for sworn law enforcement officers.

Police Departments in Nevada

Working in law enforcement in Nevada can be a great decision for anyone looking for a solid career as a police or sheriff patrol officer. The population of Nevada is just over three million, with the majority of residents living in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.4 There are numerous local police departments in Nevada serving major metros like Las Vegas and Reno as well as more rural communities.

Las Vegas

The Clark County metro area, which includes the bustling tourist destination of Las Vegas and surrounding communities, is protected and served by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD). The LVMPD is managed by the Sheriff of Clark County, Joseph Lombardo, who was first elected in 2014. Covering 7,560 square miles and protecting a population of over two million, the LVMPD also helps ensure Las Vegas is a safe destination for over 40 million tourists each year.5 With nearly 4,000 employees, the LVMPD is not only the largest police department in the state of Nevada but also one of the largest departments in the US.5

Prospective LVMPD officers must meet state requirements and:

  • Must not have a DUI conviction within the past five years nor more than two DUI convictions in the applicant’s lifetime
  • Must not have any convictions related to domestic violence
  • Must have visual acuity of 20/20 (corrected or uncorrected)
  • Must not have any tattoos, branding, body jewelry, or other body modifications that would be visible while on duty (modifications may not be covered with makeup or bandages)
  • Must have an acceptable social media content history

For more information on the Las Vegas Police Department, take a look at our in-depth guide How to Become a Police Officer in Las Vegas.

“Police officers go through extreme stress day in and day out while on shift. Know your weaknesses. You will see humanity at its worst. Always be at your best. Ask for help from fellow officers and supervisors. You are not a one-man or woman crime crusader. You are part of a team.”- Suzy Ivy, Police Detective and Author of Bad Luck Detective

Police Training Academies in Nevada

Nevada’s Basic Training Bureau is responsible for the training process for incoming peace officers. All of the basic training academies in Nevada use the curriculum developed by the bureau, which can last up to 16 weeks. During the program, cadets undergo physical and mental training as well as theoretical classroom learning. All recruits must maintain an 80% or better on their grade average and pass the POST Physical Fitness Test (PPFT) to graduate.

Nevada POST-approved training academies include:

  • High Sierra Regional Law Enforcement Academy – Reno, NV
  • Las Vegas Metro Training Academy – Las Vegas, NV
  • Nevada Department Of Corrections Academy – Carson City, NV
  • Nevada Law Enforcement Academy – Carson City, NV
  • Nevada Peace Officer Standards and Training – Carson City, NV
  • North Las Vegas Police Department Training Center – North Las Vegas, NV
  • Nye County Sheriffs Office Regional Training Academy – Beatty, NV
  • Southern Desert Regional Police Academy – Henderson, NV

For more information on POST academies in Nevada, see the POST website. Those who are not sponsored by a Nevada law enforcement agency may attend the Silver State Law Enforcement Academy or the Southern Desert Regional Academy at their own expense for basic academy training. Those who pursue this route must successfully be hired by a state law enforcement agency within two years or their eligibility for certification will expire.

Nevada Police Jobs Outlook

Nevada has a number of vibrant, expanding communities and the outlook for law enforcement careers in the state is positive. Jobs growth for police and sheriff’s patrol officers is estimated to reach 15.5% through 2026.6 During this period, an estimated 350 average annual openings for police and sheriff’s patrol officers are expected.6 Cops in Nevada earn an average annual salary of $73,930.1

For more information current law enforcement openings, take a look at our police jobs board.

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Nevada

CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise3,110$80,670
Reno840$64,500
South Nevada Nonmetropolitan Area370$54,340

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.1

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Nevada: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nv.htm
2. Nevada Highway Patrol: http://nhp.nv.gov/
3. Washoe County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.washoesheriff.com/
4. US Census Bureau, Nevada: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/nv/PST045217
5. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department: https://www.lvmpd.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx
6. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm