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Let LVPD staff coach sports

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If you go into any kindergarten classroom, you will hear young kids talking about wanting to grow up to be police officers and firefighters. But due to recent action by city government officials, many of those children will only meet law enforcement officers in times of emergency instead of having them coach their teams.

City Manager Richard Trujillo wanted to put a stop to several officers who volunteer or are hired at local school districts to coach sports teams earlier this month. In the audio from the Aug. 14 meeting, Trujillo doesn’t specifically say he wouldn’t sign off on outside coaching employment for police, but it certainly appears he’s skeptical of continuing the practice.

Trujillo seemed to change course this past week, signing off on at least one Las Vegas Police employee to coach. We are glad that Trujillo has at least moved slightly in this direction, as children need to have positive role models and know that the men and women in blue are there to help them at all times —not only in times of help.

With many police departments across the nation struggling with positive relationships with the community, we need to support out officers as they continue to give back to our city. Many spent countless hours on the sidelines helping our youth as volunteers.

The officers who do have a paid coaching position coach for the love of the game and to help others — not for the small annual stipends they receive.

Trujillo did have every right to question officers’ outside employment if indeed it did impact the department. All of the helping professionals have taxing, stressful, straining jobs, and it stands to reason the stress and commitment to a sport is a lot of stress to add to the bodies, lifestyles and minds of police officers.

However, we feel he has no real grounds to suddenly question publicly how someone uses their free time outside of work.

We understand Trujillo’s concern about how much time these coaching duties are taking away from the police department whose officials state they are already understaffed. But the timing of the whole situation stinks as it affected athletics, school superintendents, parents, and other school officials as they were wondering if they would have to replace coaches at the last minute.

The timing of Trujillo’s action is also questionable as he announced them shortly before the soccer season starts.
It is time for city officials and the police department to stop this feuding which has been in the forefront for months. We need to band together as a community and do what is right for all of us, especially in terms of public safety and our children.