Many people assume the Nevada Highway Patrol handles the highway and the Metropolitan Police Department handles the rest of the roads, but it’s not as simple as that.
“On a practical basis, the Highway Patrol takes care of the highways and the surface streets from the highways to the first major intersection,” said officer Larry Hadfield, spokesman for Metro. “We work together, and the arrangement mostly keeps us from duplicating services.”
This is complicated by surface streets that are also state routes, including the Strip (state Route 604), Boulder Highway (state Route 582), Paradise Road (state Route 605) and portions of Tropicana Avenue (state Route 593).
“When I first got down here, I had to learn all the state routes,” said Trooper Loy Hixson, spokesman for the Las Vegas barracks of the Nevada Highway Patrol. “They’re easy to spot if you’re looking. They’re marked with black and white state route signs.”
It’s easy to forget that the 215 Beltway is a county-maintained road because it’s numbered and looks much like Interstate 15. Summerlin Parkway is also a county-maintained road. Even with the recent widening, Blue Diamond Road still seems as if it would be a county road, but it is maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation.
“I suspect that sometime in the near future, we’ll work out a trade with the county and cede most of the surface streets to them and take over the 215,” said Damon Hodge, spokesman for Nevada Department of Transportation. “It’s going to take legislation to do it, and there will be a lot of sorting things out before that, but it seems like that is something that will happen.”
Regardless of the designations, the Highway Patrol mostly can be found driving along I-15, U.S. Highway 95, the Beltway and, to a lesser extent, Blue Diamond Road and state Route 159, the road to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Just because those are the Highway Patrol’s primary patrol areas doesn’t mean you won’t see state troopers in other parts of the valley.
“We are titled the Nevada Highway Patrol, and our official title as individuals is state trooper, but we are the state police,” Hixson said. “We do have authority or jurisdiction to take enforcement anywhere in the state of Nevada.”
Unlike Metro, the Nevada Highway Patrol still responds to noninjury accidents on the highways and sometimes on the surface streets.
“It’s possible we would come across a traffic accident on surface streets while heading to a follow-up investigation, and depending on what’s going on, we might stop,” Hixson said. “We don’t want to overstep boundaries, but if we need to assess the situation and ensure public safety, we will.”
A complete description and maps of the state-maintained roads can be found at tinyurl.com/nvhighway.
Contact East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at email@example.com or 702-380-4532.