The Metropolitan Police Department’s proposed budget for the new fiscal year includes additional funding for civilian positions meant to tackle the agency’s forensic backlogs and address issues with the 311 dispatch system.
A $568.2 million budget — which includes a $16 million increase over the current fiscal year — was presented Monday morning to the Metropolitan Police Committee on Fiscal Affairs. The committee will discuss the budget proposal again at its March meeting, with committee approval expected in April.
The 83-page budget proposal presented by the Police Department’s chief financial officer, Rich Hoggan, and Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo includes funding for 67 new civilian positions. The department’s fiscal year begins July 1.
Hoggan said the department is seeking 12 additional dispatchers and a supervisor to help a troubled 311 system.
Las Vegas police dispatchers took about 2.4 million calls in 2016 and were able to answer 911 calls within 10 seconds 90 percent of the time. Nonemergency 311 calls, however, have been less successful.
“We have struggled with long wait times for 311 calls with average hold times of 50 seconds and maximum hold times averaging 46 minutes,” according to the proposed budget.
Other civilian positions in the proposal include six staffers to monitor video feeds from the resort corridor at the department’s counterterrorism center, two information technology staffers and 14 patrol service representatives who can write police reports.
Hoggan said the report writers will free officers to do more proactive police work.
The department wants to add three forensic scientists and a forensic supervisor. Two scientists would work on firearms testing, and one would work on narcotics.
“Both have significant backlogs,” Hoggan said.