City ordinance may prevent officers from coaching local teams

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a policy in Las Vegas, New Mexico that could prevent police officers from working part-time as coaches at local schools, and the city could start enforcing it. That has people worried.

“Outside employment is what we are talking about, and it is actually a matter of city ordinance,” Lee Einer, with the City of Las Vegas, said.

According to Las Vegas city ordinance, all city workers must submit an application to their department head to request outside employment. For example, a paid job coaching school sports teams.

“Of course we support athletics, but public safety has to be our primary concern,” Einer said.

Recently, the city manager and mayor ordered all such requests from the Las Vegas Police Department be submitted directly to the city manager.

“Coaching does present some possible concerns, simply because athletic events are held outside the area,” Einer said.

The city said it wants officers ready in case of an emergency or overtime, and having another job like coaching may prevent that from happening. However, people in the community said if the city manager denies the officers’ requests to work as a coach, it could have a negative effect.

Tina Sione’s daughter’s basketball coach is a police officer.

“He did a lot of great things for my daughter personally, helping her out mentally, physically and emotionally,” Sione said.

There’s also the thought that police officers should be around kids.

“I think a lot of times some people are taught to sometimes be afraid of police officers, and I think as our children get to work with them they are good people,” Martin Suazo, Las Vegas resident, said.

“It’s about the betterment of the children’s, the community’s life. I mean, it’s all about building those bridges,” Sione said.

If officers are denied, schools will have to look quickly for replacement coaches.

West Las Vegas girls’ varsity soccer season opener is in two weeks and their head coach is a police officer, but without approval, the team will need a new coach.

“If it does go through, we will more than likely have to look for new coaching staff,” Chris Gutierrez, West Las Vegas Schools Superintendent, said.

The city says to date, it hasn’t denied any applications to hold second jobs, but there are still some under review.

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