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RENO, Nevada — With the influx of people to the Reno area for work, law enforcement there had to accommodate the increase in emergency calls.

Reno Police Chief Jason Soto said his department was hit hard by the 2008 recession, resulting in a staff reduction from 383 officers to 280.

With the arrival of Tesla and other companies, Soto said he was anxious about how the growth would affect the workload and noted that emergency calls have gone up 15-20 percent “and it continues to grow.”

“It didn’t bring in these droves of additional, more violent types of crimes,” Soto said. “We had to find a way to stretch our resources and it wasn’t going to be where we had the ability to just hire enough police officers to deal with the growth that our community was experiencing.”

Around 2014 to 2015, the Reno Police Department began hiring new officers and now has a roster of about 333 officers, still not where it was before the recession.

Soto said the department formed close partnerships with other nearby law enforcement agencies and also hired more civilian employees to handle “non-priority calls,” like accident reports and house and car break-ins, “all of those (incidents) that don’t require an officer to be on scene.”

“We had to do that as a mechanism of being effective in keeping our community safe and it’s worked out really well,” Soto said.

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Assistant Managing Editor

Pete Wicklund is the local editor for The Journal Times.

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