Over the past week, the leadership of the Las Vegas Police Department has been flipped completely upside down. At a pair of meetings Friday and Monday, the City Council accepted the resignation of Police Chief Adrian Crespin and named Antonio Salazar the new Police Chief for the city. 

Police Chief

Antonio Salazar was sworn in as the new police chief for the City of Las Vegas by Judge Eddie Trujillo Monday afternoon.

Word of Crespin’s impending resignation came down earlier this month, when he told the Optic he had been given the choice to resign or be voted out by the City Council. Though he initially said he wasn’t sure if he would send in a letter of resignation, he eventually did, effective July 30. 

Crespin told the Optic when word of his resignation first came down, that he was proud of his time at the Las Vegas Police Department, and pointed to accomplishments like obtaining new equipment and vehicles for the department, upgrading the communication system and increasing starting wages for officers.

After Crespin was no longer directly involved with the department, interim control of the city’s police was handed over to Deputy Chief Kenneth Stumberg. However, last week, the Optic learned from Mayor Louie Trujillo that he, too, has now resigned from the department, though no details have yet been released. 

At a meeting on Monday afternoon, the City Council approved Salazar as the new Police Chief. Salazar previously worked for the department as an investigator and has 14 years of law enforcement experience. 

Trujillo previously told the Optic he would make the decision regarding a new chief based on the city’s goals of improving drug enforcement and implementing community policing, both of which were also highlighted when Crespin took the job in July 2020. 

Salazar is now the third permanent police chief in Las Vegas since Trujillo took office in April 2020. Former Police Chief David Bibb was let go by the city in July 2020, when Crespin took over. 

 

City Budget

 

Also at Friday’s City Council meeting, the 2021-22 Fiscal Year Budget was approved by the Council to be sent to the state Department of Finance Administration, as required by state law. 

Though the council approved the budget as presented, several questions were brought up regarding how money could be better spent moving forward. 

The first big issue related to Lodger’s Tax finding, which has primarily been spent on advertising and promotion in the past. City Councilor David Romero said he would like to see more lodger’s tax money to be spent on infrastructure instead of just publications. Trujillo said the governor has indicated previously that building hangars and storage spaces for the filming industry would help Las Vegas receive even more revenue from that industry, and he would like to see the option explored. 

Romero also brought up the issue of the money being spent on contracted work from Souder, Miller & Associates in the utilities department. Due to a lack of experience and high-level certification from city employees in the department, contracted workers have been thrust into supervisory roles in the past few years. Romero said he would like to see the contracted workers be phased out as it transitions into a full-time position. He said he believes paying a higher salary for a full-time employee would save the city large amounts of money over time compared to continually paying for outside help. 

City Manager Leo Maestas agreed and said he wants to start advertising nationwide to find someone qualified as opposed to just locally, where they have been unsuccessful to this point.

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