Bill would raise pay of Nevada Capitol Police | NevadaAppeal.com

Bill would raise pay of Nevada Capitol Police

Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, D-Las Vegas, has introduced legislation that would mean a substantial raise for Nevada's Capitol Police officers.

AB143 would require those officers be paid the same as Highway Patrol troopers and provided the same opportunities for advancement.

That has been proposed in the past but Gov. Brian Sandoval removed it from the proposed budget in part because of the cost during the recession. That cost was estimated at $400,000 over the biennium in 2015 but would be higher now. The bill doesn't yet have a fiscal note.

Capitol Police are a grade 36 compared to NHP's grade 39. Each grade is worth nearly 5 percent more.

Capitol Police officials say the pay difference enables other agencies, both state and local, to steal officers, making retention of good officers difficult.

The problem stems from the historic origin of the Capitol Police officers who were originally unsworn security provided to state buildings by Buildings and Grounds. In fact, their budget still comes from a cost allocation assessment paid by agency rents to have office space in those buildings whereas NHP and other public safety officers are primarily paid out of general or highway funds.

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Now, Capitol Police are required to meet the same training standards as other law enforcement employed by the state — POST 1 certification.

"This bill requires the Director of the Department of Public Safety to treat peace officers of the Capitol Police Division in the same manner as peace officers of the Nevada Highway Patrol for purposes of classification, compensation and advancement," according to the bill's digest.

Another casualty of the recession was the elimination of the Capitol Police clerical staff, replaced by a contract employee but that isn't addressed in AB143, which was referred to the Government Affairs Committee for study.