LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The city of Henderson is scrambling to hire more police officers, so it is considering a unique approach: rehiring retired officers.
The city of Henderson said the department needs more than 50 officers. Its “Rehiring Our Heroes” recruitment program would re-employ officers for two years as a temporary solution to increase staffing levels.
Council will hear the new recruitment program at the Tuesday, Nov. 7 city council meeting.
“Like all police agencies across the nation, we are experiencing the same staffing shortage trends due to retirements, attrition, and difficulties recruiting qualified candidates,” Henderson Chief of Police Hollie Chadwick said in a statement. “(Re)Hiring Our Heroes is a proactive measure for us to maintain our department standards while continuing our robust recruitment efforts to fill the more than 50 open positions.”
According to a release, NRS 286.523 says that municipalities can rehire retired police and corrections officers to fill open positions, which the NRS terms a “critical labor shortage.”
Details are still being worked out, including age restrictions. Public Safety is a top priority for the city and gets 60 percent of Henderson’s general fund. Seventy-five percent of the city’s new hire budget goes toward first responders.
“We have a need for more policemen and firemen, so we are recruiting,” Ward 2 Councilman Dan Shaw said. “Not only new recruits, but looking at those who have had some experience in the past.”
The department’s new $22.3 million police substation opened in September, but as the 8 News Now Investigators reported, the department is too shorthanded to fully staff it.
“It appears not to be staffed, so it is sort of deceptive that we have this station, but there is nobody in it,” said resident Kim Yanchyshyn.
Yanchyshyn is hopeful more officers mean more enforcement in areas like Via Inspirada. While she and others were grateful to share their opinions with the council, the question remains how long it will take to fully staff the substation.
Back in July, Henderson’s police department had 46 vacancies. Now, that number is more than 50.
Recently, the department graduated a class of 11 recruits in October. Another academy class of 14 began in September, and are expected to graduate in March 2024.