University Police is in a staff shortage

University Police Services on the East entrance of the Student Union to address a bomb threat on Feb. 13, 2022 (Photo by Jimmy Romo)

The University Police Service department responsible for looking over UNLV asked the Nevada higher education board to designate the branch as being in a critical labor shortage.   

Adam Garcia, the director of University Police Services of the Southern Command, asked the board to adopt a written statement acknowledging that the branch is in a critical labor shortage on Thursday.

In the Board of Regents briefing paper, it outlines “significant challenges to recruit and retain critical positions.” Recruitment for law enforcement positions receives 250 to 500 applications annually. 

In August 2019, there were 154 applicants and 109 met the bare minimum requirements, according to the briefing paper. Out of those that met the standard, only one was hired onto the Southern Command. 

Over the past three years, there have been eight new hires to the department. University Police currently have roughly 43% vacancy in their positions.

46 employees have separated from the Southern command at UNLV with a turnover of 61 percent since January 2019. Nearly 80% of the officers that left were sworn law enforcement positions. 

Over 20 employees left the department in 2021. Of those who left, only eight retired and five transferred. This was the largest loss to the department since their 2020 loss of seven employees.

Officers are required to have graduated high school or equivalent one year of experience in law enforcement or public contact to apply. Applicants can also meet the minimum requirement by obtaining an associates degree in a closely related field to law enforcement and 6 month of law enforcement experience. They should also have a valid driver’s license and meet the standards for appointment as a peace officer in Nevada. 

Out of the applicants that took the written examination, 50 to 75 percent were disqualified. Out of those that passed the written examination moved onto the physical agility test, an additional 50 to 75 percent of applicants were disqualified. 
UPD accepts applications year-round. Those interested in applying, please visit


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