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City police giving up enforcement division

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By Martin Salazar

For several years, the city’s enforcement services division has been under the umbrella of the Las Vegas Police Department.

That meant that an animal control officer was able to issue parking tickets and that all enforcement services division officers ultimately reported to Las Vegas Police Chief Christian Montaño.

That changed earlier this month with the reassignment of that division back to the city’s Community Development Department.

At a City Council meeting earlier this month, Montaño told the governing body that it’s imperative for the police department to be focusing its attention on criminal matters, though he said that his department would be happy to assist the enforcement services division as needed.

He also assured the public that there would be no gaps in service to the community. He said that during normal business hours, calls to enforcement services would go to the Community Development Department. After hours, he said, they will come into the city’s dispatch center and will be forwarded to the appropriate individual.

“The enforcement services division is being left in very capable hands with Mr. (Lucas) Marquez,” Montaño said.

Marquez, the interim director of Community Development, said he is excited to be taking on the knowledgable, well trained staff. He thanked the police department for the training provided to enforcement officers.

Montaño said enforcement services staff would retain the same authority they had except for things like parking. He said his officers would be taking back that responsibility, allowing the enforcement services division to focus on other issues.

Montaño also noted that the enforcement services division is underspent for midyear.

Marquez told the governing body that he does have a background in code enforcement, and he said that he wouldn’t hold back any of his staff if their ultimate goal is to become a police officer.

“They’ve given me a shiny ball,” Marquez said of the condition of the division being handed off to him. He added that he’ll do his best to keep it that way.