An Analysis of the Organization and Ethics of the Sparks Police Department

Brian Erbis

An Analysis of the Organization and Ethics of the Sparks Police Department

Abstract:

An analysis of the organization and ethics of the Sparks Police Department which is located in Washoe County, Nevada, and is east of adjoining Reno, Nevada. The study covers the demographics, crime stats, employment hiring, organizational structure, internal investigations, and discipline.

The Sparks Police Department (“SPD”) is in the city of Sparks, Nevada, located within Washoe County in the northern part of the State of Nevada. It borders the City of Reno and unincorporated areas of Washoe County and is 35.81 square miles (City of Sparks, 2021). The city, originally named Harriman, was founded as a railroad town by the Southern Pacific Railroad after workers were relocated there from another part of Nevada. The city was renamed Sparks after the governor of Nevada, John Sparks in 1904 (Chamber of Commerce Reno and Sparks, 2021).

As of 2019, the population of the City of Sparks was 105,006, comprised of 53.7% white, 34.7% Hispanic, 2.9% black, 1.1% Native American, 4.1% Asian, .8% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and 2.7% two or more races (Sparks Police Dept., 2020). The SPD, as of 2020, consisted of 112 sworn members—92.9% male and 7.1% female and a racial composition of 83% white, 7.1% Hispanic, 3.6% Asian, 1.8% black, 1.8% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.8% two or more races and .9% American Indian (Sparks Police Dept., 2020). In Sparks, the annual median household income was $64,645 in 2019 (Census QuickFacts, 2019). 9.4% of the city’s population was living below the poverty line (Census QuickFacts, 2019) and 2.7% of the population consisted of female led households with no husband present with children under 18 years of age (Suburban Stats, 2019). As far as educational attainment, 27.65% of the population possessed a High School diploma or equivalent, 15.55 % had a bachelor’s degree, and 7.73% held a master’s degree (United States Census Bureau, 2019).

Major crime trends in Sparks, Nevada have changed. The department reported one murder in 2019, compared to four in 2018 with a 75% decrease of which there was a 2019 clearance at zero percent (Nevada Dept. of Public Safety, 2019). Aggravated Assaults were reported at 297 in 2019 vs. 349 in 2018 showing a 15% decrease in the crime of which 50% were cleared in 2019 (Nevada Dept. of Public Safety, 2019). Rapes were up 12% in 2019 up to 76 from 68 reported in 2018 with a clearance rate of 15% as of 2019 (Nevada Dept. of Public Safety, 2019). Robbery was down 12% to 76 instances reported in 2019 down from 87 in 2018 with 40% cleared in 2019 (Nevada Dept. of Public Safety, 2019). Burglary reports were reported at 513 in 2019 down from 570 in 2018 showing a decline of 10% with 33% cleared in 2019 (Nevada Dept. of Public Safety, 2019). Larceny/theft was up <1% in 2019 to 1537 reported instances up from 1536 the year before with a listed 2019 clearance rate of 18% (Nevada Dept. of Public Safety, 2019). Auto thefts were up 13% in 2019 with 376 reports up from 334 in 2018 with the percentage of clearance at 11% in 2019 (Nevada Dept. of Public Safety, 2019).

I compared Sparks, Nevada to Chico, California, which is a city of equivalent size and demographics (Census QuickFacts, 2019). It is located 166 miles west of Sparks which is approximately three hours travel by car (Google, 2021). Although Sparks, Nevada has an additional seventeen police officers on staff (112 Sparks P.D vs 95 Chico P.D.), crime conditions seemed comparable. Violent crimes per 100,000 population in Chico for 2019 had a reported number of 444 (FBI, 2019) versus SPD’s report of 480 instances (FBI, 2019). Regarding property crimes per 100,000 population, the Chico Police Department reported 2306 (FBI, 2019) versus SPD’s report of 2440 (FBI, 2019).

Major crime trends in Chico, California have also changed. The department reported no murders in 2019, compared to two in 2018 with a 100% decrease of which there was a zero percent clearance in 2019 (FBI, 2019). Aggravated Assaults were reported at 353 in 2019 vs. 417 in 2018 showing a 15% decrease with 57% were cleared in 2019 (FBI, 2019). Rapes were up 16% in 2019 with 100 from a reported 86 in 2018 with a 2019 clearance rate of 9% (FBI, 2019). Robbery was down 2% to 104 instances reported in 2019 down from 106 in 2018 with 24% cleared in 2019 (FBI, 2019). Burglary reports were reported at 272 in 2019 down from 327 in 2018 showing a decline of 17% with 14% cleared in 2019 (FBI, 2019). Larceny/theft was down ½ % in 2019 at 1753 reported instances down from 1761 the year before with a listed 2019 clearance rate of 12% (FBI, 2019). Auto thefts were up 21% in 2019 with 381 reports - up from 315 in 2018 with the percentage of clearance at 9% in 2019 (FBI, 2019).

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Brian Erbis is a subject matter expert, consultant and Owner at Brian Erbis Consulting, LLC. Blogger, Reporter, Harbinger of fact. Nevada Notary Public.

Brooklyn, NY
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