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NLV will lobby Lombardo on noncitizen cop bill

North Las Vegas officials on Thursday said they “look forward” to discussing with Gov. Joe Lombardo proposed legislation that would allow noncitizens who are legal residents to serve as police officers.

This came a day after Lombardo told the Review-Journal that he wouldn’t sign Assembly Bill 30 if passed, one of two legislative proposals the city submitted for the upcoming legislative session.

Currently, only U.S. citizens are allowed to apply for police academies.

The bill would expand the hiring pool to allow anyone legally allowed to work in Nevada, including about 140,000 permanent residents and 12,000 to 15,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, to begin the hiring process.

Lombardo, a veteran police officer, had often pushed for the hiring of more police officers when he served as sheriff of Clark County, even advocating for a sales tax to hire more cops.

Neighboring state, such as liberal California and conservative Utah, recently passed legislation allowing noncitizens to apply to become cops.

The U.S. military also allows permanent residents to serve, and there is a proposed federal bill moving through Congress that would be include so-called “Dreamers,” immigrants who were brought into the country as children.

“I haven’t seen the language of that, but from what I know at face value, I could not support that,” Lombardo said. “It’s very hard to understand how you could enforce violations of the Constitution and take away people’s freedom when in turn you are not a citizen enforcing those particular laws.”

North Las Vegas Councilman Isaac Barron wrote in a statement: “We look forward to discussing the bill with our Governor and believe if the US military deems these individuals capable of protecting and defending the United States Constitution then they are also capable of enforcing any violations of the document which is one of the reasons our neighbors Utah and California have passed similar bills!”

The Metropolitan Police Department — which Lombardo used to lead — and Henderson police said they were aware of the legislation but were noncommittal in their comments to the Review-Journal.

North Las Vegas argued that the 2015 session eliminated the citizenship requirements to address the teacher shortage and that AB 30 wouldn’t eliminate other stringent requirements to join a police force.

“There’s a crisis right now going on nationally,” said Jared Luke, North Las Vegas’ director of government affairs and economic development. “It’s not just a Nevada thing, it’s not just a North Las Vegas thing, where recruiting numbers for police officers and police departments nationally have fallen.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.

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