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Las Vegas police union warns of possible corruption, chaos at jail after salary slashing proposal

Posted at 5:09 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 02:29:13-05

There is a major shakeup brewing involving some of the most violent criminals housed at the Clark County Detention Center in downtown Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Police Protective Association is warning there could be escapes, contraband smuggling, and potential chaos if the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department implements a proposal to slash salaries while creating a new detention officer position at the jail. 

"It's probably the dumbest thing I've heard in 19 years of my career, absolutely ridiculous," said Scott Nicholas, Vice-President of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association.

Nicholas, who started as a corrections officer, has serious doubts over the move which would reduce starting pay for a newly proposed 'detention officer' by almost $8,000.

"They can't hire people to do the exact same job, call it something different, pay them less, and have the same expectation that they are, by their mission statement, the safest jail in America," said Nicholas.

The union says the proposal would eliminate the hiring of new corrections officers to create a detention officer position under a reduced pay scale.

Current corrections officers begin at a base salary of $56,616 and some receive a maximum salary of $88,836 per year.

This excludes overtime and other pay.

"People may try to make the pay up by bringing contraband in for the inmates, helping them escape, helping them with cell phones, drug deals, all kinds of different things," said Nicholas.

Nicholas says in addition to possible officer corruption, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is having a tough time attracting enough qualified and interested candidates at the current corrections officer pay scale.

New employment numbers provided to 13 Action News shows a potential jail personnel shortage of 71 at the Clark County Detention Center in fiscal year 2019.

"You would have a facility in downtown Las Vegas with some of the most violent criminals in the country with a population of more than 4,000 inmates and you would want to but someone in charge of them that could potentially help someone escape," said Nicholas.

13 Action News request Las Vegas police to discuss the proposal but a spokesperson said the department could not comment, citing potential litigation.

The Las Vegas Police Protective Association says the proposal is an attempt to union bust.

"I can tell you it is far from over," said Nicholas.

"This is a battle that we are going to take and we are going to fight and we are going to spend money as necessary, it is going to be a public battle," said Nicholas.

The union says they have been told Las Police could get the ball rolling as soon as January 2019 and the first academy for the newly created detention officer position would begin in June 2019.

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