Reno Police Department To Hire Six New Officers - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Reno Police Department To Hire Six New Officers

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The Reno Police Department is getting some new officers, thanks to the city's latest budget of $533.9 million. Chief Jason Soto says the new additions are important, but there is still some ground to make up before RPD is up to where he thinks it should be. The police department had 383 officers before the recession, which cost the department about 100 positions. The six new officers brings that total back up to 323.

"We probably need another 50 officers in the foreseeable future just to address some of these challenges and the growth that we really have in Reno," Soto said.

The average ratio for western cities is 1.7 officers for every 1,000 residents. Reno was at 1.34 before the budget was approved. It comes at a time when the area and population continue to grow. In 1991, RPD had 318 officers, covering 55 square miles. Today, it has five more officers, covering 111 square miles.

"We've really grown as a city, not only with citizens but businesses and homes and the addition of six officers allows me some latitude to address some of those coverage needs," Soto said.

Despite the fiscal challenges, Soto says the police department is doing well. It has a close relationship with the community, which he says has boosted its success.

"Our arrest rate on most of these high-profile crimes are higher than they've ever been and it's because of that assistance that we get from our community," Soto said.

Soto says residents want to see more visibility by police officers, and that RPD has provided that service by adding new positions, increasing neighborhood safety.

"So that people actually see the black and whites, the police cars, the motorcycles, the walking team, the bike officers going up and down their respective neighborhoods," Soto said.

The city's budget also includes an attrition fund of $420,000, which could get new officers on the streets about a year earlier than they were before.

"What it allows the police department to do, which has been frustrating in years past, is it allows us to start that process right away," Soto said.

RPD has a goal to have 360 officers by 2020, but Soto says 400 would be ideal, given the size and population growth of the city. Still, he says he is pleased to have the ability to hire more officers, which helps the police department do its job even better.

"The guys and gals that put on the uniform, every day, they work real hard and the do a good job at addressing all the needs of the city," Soto said.

The Reno Fire Department is getting a 10% increase in funding, but new firefighters will not be added during this budget cycle.

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