Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety
Public Information Office
Contact: Kevin R. Malone
1399 American Pacific Drive
Henderson, Nevada 89014
Office: (702) 486-1311 Pager: (702) 598-8926

NEWS FROM: Capitol Police 99-124

Capitol Police Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Small, specialized force has grown from night watchmen to a full police agency

The police force charged with protecting Nevada state employees and buildings is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 1999.

The origins of the Nevada Capitol Police stem from an act of the 1949 Nevada Legislature, which created the Department of Buildings and Grounds. The department’s superintendent was given the authority to hire watchmen to protect the Capitol and other state buildings in Carson City.

The Capitol watchmen became armed Nevada Capitol Security officers in 1972, but they had no formal weapons training and were not certified as peace officers. In fact, they did not even have their own assigned vehicles.

The 1979 Legislature brought a sweeping change by granting Capitol Security officers sworn peace officer status. This meant they received the same peace officer standards training as local police and sheriffs departments and the Nevada Highway Patrol. They also were granted the same arrest powers as other police officers.

The 1985 Legislature changed the force’s name to the Nevada Capitol Police. At this point, the agency had eight officers patrolling the Capitol building in Carson City. In 1991, three additional officers were assigned to the Supreme Court. In 1994, an officer was assigned to the Attorney General’s office and in 1995, a detail was added to the Grant Sawyer building in Las Vegas.

Also in 1995, the Capitol Police were transferred from Buildings and Grounds to the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety. Today, there are 26 sworn officers and one civilian in the Capitol Police. Carson City is home to 15 officers; the other 11 live in Las Vegas.

For further information, contact Capitol Police Chief Ken Johnson at (775) 684-4542.