Proposed bill would allow non-citizens to become police officers in Nevada
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The City of North Las Vegas is spearheading a proposal that would allow non-U.S. citizens that live and work in Nevada to patrol the streets.
The city came up with the idea for Assembly Bill 30 when they were trying to find new ways to recruit more police officers.
“When we started looking at what the state had done in 2015 for teachers, we said why don’t we just do the same thing for police officers?” North Las Vegas director of government affairs Jared Luke said.
There are about 140,000 Nevada residents that have legal authorization to work in the U.S. but are not American citizens. That’s on top of another 12-15,000 DACA recipients, which is the immigration policy that protects young people from deportation and provides work permits.
“We’ve talked to a lot of groups that work with high school kids and young adults, and there’s a massive interest to be in the police field,” Luke said. “But there’s that barrier where they just can’t.”
Last year the city of North Las Vegas became the first police department in the state to allow non-citizens into their youth explorers program. The program gives teens a chance to learn about a future career in law enforcement.
The number of young adults in the program has grown since opening to non-citizens.
Between retirements and a lack of interest in joining police forces, departments in Nevada and across the country have struggled to recruit new officers.
If AB30 passes through state lawmakers and onto the governor’s desk to sign this spring, North Las Vegas leaders believe this could cut into the problem.
“When you talk about inclusionary measures. When you talk about equity and opportunity. AB 30 kind of envelops all of that,” Luke said.
There is precedent for this law. Neighboring California and Utah allow non-citizens to become police officers.
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