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NLV's new police chief says leadership will be 'transparent'

NORTH LAS VEGAS -- The North Las Vegas Police Chief has only officially been at the helm since May 8, but he's already making waves. Within the first few minutes of being chief, Alex Perez asked the FBI to look into links, investigated as child porn, found on the mayor's iPad.

Perez, the man who isn't afraid of controversy, and who said his leadership will be transparent, spoke with 8 News NOW for his first official television interview since his promotion.

Reporter Joe Bartels: "Is there anything you can say about this situation involving the North Las Vegas Mayor, his iPad and what was found on it?"
Perez: "Unfortunately, I have nothing to add to that, at this time."

Perez's swearing in front of the North Las Vegas Mayor and City Council on May 20 was a significant one because he is the first Hispanic police chief for the city.

"It's overwhelming. It was significant. I didn't necessarily expect that kind of support. I felt the support from the troops and the supervision of the police department, moving forward," said Perez.

In a city with serious money problems, it appears the North Las Vegas Police Department has learned to do a lot more with a lot less because of Perez's leadership. Especially, since the police force has dwindled. It turns out 60 to 70 police officers have left since 2009.

During the height of the recession, like many other areas around the valley, the City of North Las Vegas struggled financially. The chief says a lot of the financial crisis was carried on the backs of the men and women of the NLVPD.

"It's nothing new. I mean the financial crisis that struck our city, we're not unique in that sense, but we are unique in the response to it. I'm speaking specifically from the police department, and it falls back on the men and women of this police department," Perez said.

Perez said change is the motto for the force moving forward and the 20 plus year veteran expects a lot from his department. However, he said he's spreading the workload around to pick up the slack.

Currently, it's a minor re-organization if you will, of responsibilities in areas and how to better make use of what we have," said Perez.

In the meantime, Chief Perez is banking on the approval of the "more cops" sales tax, which will increase the county sales tax to pay for more police officers. The chief said approval from the Clark County Commission of this tax would have an immediate impact on his department if it's ever enacted.

The "more cops" tax initiative was originally approved by the state legislature two years ago to go forward, but it has been shut down by the Clark County Commission three times. However, Chief Perez hopes new faces at two of the largest police departments in the valley might change their minds.

North Las Vegas Police will get a little more help soon; Chief Perez says there are 10 new officers in the academy thanks to a federal grant.  However, Perez said he needs at least 60 officers to get back to comfortable coverage levels.

Chief Perez said he also supports police body cameras and he wants to be more accessible to the public than his predecessors.