Local News


LVMPD works with nonprofit to build community relationships

Posted at 12:36 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 22:41:11-04

A lot of people aren't happy with police right now. Several officers have died as a result.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is getting out in the community and building relationships with the last people you'd expect to help fix this.
Imagine asking for help from the very person who put you behind bars. Would you be afraid? Nervous? Angry? These kinds of feelings have led to protests and violence around the United States.  LVMPD doesn't want to see that bubble up here in the valley.
"Officers are not robots in uniforms going out there and doing things that they expect them to see. We're human beings just like everybody else," said Chris Petko, a coordinator for Hope for Prisoners and a retired LVMPD lieutenant.
Hope for Prisoners is a nonprofit helping people live their best lives after serving time. 
Each year, the Nevada Department of Corrections releases about 6,000 people. 
Some of them don't know where to go and a lot of them end up back behind bars. Before that happens, Hope for Prisoners, with LVMPD's help, works to make a change.
"To be honest, I was very comfortable with that I'm not in a position in life where I should be fearful of the men and women out their that helps protect our society," said Robert Mackey, a Hope for Prisoners client.
Some of the mentors that speak to the program's participants are officers themselves. 
More than once, the arrestor and the arrestee have come face to face. Each time this has happened, the leaders have managed to get past it and even laugh with the person seeking help. 
The program hopes to get at the root of the problem, what led to the crime, not what happened in the past.
"I came to the realization during my career as a law enforcement officer that a lot of the problems that we have all of us in our country today have nothing to do with what somebody did or where they're coming out of," said Petko.
On July 22, 30 men and women are going to be graduating from Hope for Prisoners' latest workshop as they're trying to turn their lives around. 
This will be the first time this ceremony has been held at LVMPD headquarters. 
The ceremony will start at 4:30 p.m.