Phone: 702-455-6322
Fax: 702-382-7426
Address:
330 S 3rd Street Ste. 670
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Office Hours:
7:30 am - 4:30 pm
Monday - Friday
History

Like many other cities throughout the country, Clark County and the City of Las Vegas acted in response to the public outcry for independent civilian review. However, the concept of legislation mandating a review board was offensive to many organizations engaged in or affiliated with police work. Some felt that the Review Board simply created an additional layer of review. Others felt that a group of citizens untrained in law enforcement did not have the proper perspective to judge the actions of any police officer. However, amidst opposition and criticism, in July of 1997, a bill was passed authorizing Clark County and the City of Las Vegas to create a Citizen Review Board. On April 6 and May 29, 1999, respectively, the county and city adopted mutual ordinances to create a Citizen Review Board. The members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Citizen Review Board were sworn in October of 2000, more than three years after the approval of such a board by state legislation. Clark County and the City of Las Vegas jointly fund this organization, which has 25 volunteer board members and two paid employees with an annual budget of $270,000.

The Citizen Review Board was established for the purpose of providing civilian review of the investigations of alleged police misconduct of peace officers employed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The Board reviews complaints of misconduct filed by citizens, and makes recommendations to the sheriff for discipline, as well as, advising on departmental policies and practices. The goal of the Board is to ensure the integrity of investigations of police misconduct and to enhance community confidence in METRO. The logical question is how effective has the LVMPD Citizen Review Board been in accomplishing its goals?

Since its inception, the Review Board has been instrumental in effectuating changes in the police department. The Board, through its independent review process, found incidents of police misconduct where investigators with the police department had failed to disclose all of the facts in a case. Two officers were suspended in cases that were reopened and reviewed by the police department as a result of the findings of the Citizen Review Board. The Department at the instance of the Review Board made policy changes and engaged in retraining officers in arrest procedures that were questioned by the Review Board. The Internal Affairs Bureau tripled in size to be able to more thoroughly investigate citizen complaints and to better investigate policies and issues raised by the Citizen Review Board.

The success or failure of Citizen Review Boards is dependent upon cooperation and understanding between the Citizen Review Board and the police department. Members of the Board need to be trained and understand police practices and procedures. A willingness by the police department to accept criticism and to change policies and procedures to meet a changing community structure is essential. For the police and community to adequately understand each other’s perspective, it is imperative that they communicate. That communication can best occur through a diversified board of civilians representing the interests of the community at large.