A police foundation in Las Vegas is attempting to bridge the gap between the Latino community and police through a new community initiative.
On Friday morning, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation unveiled its Hispanic Giving Circle initiative at a Latin Chamber of Commerce event.
Community Engagement Officer Sam Diaz said the department has historically been unable to host more events in Latino communities due to their budget.
That’s where the foundation comes along, to help fund additional community events the department can’t fund.
“I have the best job in Metro. I’m a liaison to the Hispanic community,” Daiz said. “I’m going out and finding out what my community needs.”
The foundation identified the police area commands that have the largest Hispanic populations in the valley, including the northeast, downtown and Spring Valley.
For Pamela Puppel, the director of marketing and communications for the foundation, these community events create the opportunity to humanize officers and bridge the gap between police and the Latino community.
Through this initiative, there will be more opportunities for sponsorship and programs that directly benefit Hispanic families, like mariachi scholarships. The foundation is also a sponsor of the Hispanic Citizens Academy which teaches civilians about Metro operations, at no charge to attendees.
Officers will also be able to participate in more holiday events, like handing out food to those in need, or grabbing an agua fresca with an officer. To Diaz, all these efforts can help reduce crime.
“We have a lot of events where you can just come and talk to an officer and get to know us,” Diaz said. “Find that officer that you gravitate towards and that officer might continue to provide resources, information and training and that’s a beautiful thing.”