Five decades of local law enforcement recognized at Police Memorial Park event
Maryetta Bowman holds a unique position in Las Vegas law enforcement history.
Hired by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in 1963, she remembers a time before the Metropolitan Police Department was created.
And she has another claim to fame: “I was the first girl to pass the police academy in 1967, in the state of Nevada,” she said.
Bowman was one of nearly 70 other commissioned and civilian personnel of the consolidated Clark County sheriff’s and Las Vegas city police departments honored Saturday, celebrating 50 years since the two agencies were created on July 1, 1973, for created the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. .
Reflecting on her time at the police academy, she recalled the challenge of ensuring her physical skills and level of discipline matched the men she trained with, many of whom had just finished military service. Bowman said the police academy should be proud that instructors never discouraged her as a female recruit in 1967.
Judo, karate and military-style self-defense classes at the police academy were a highlight for Bowman, who learned to gain the edge over her 6-foot-6 male opponents through the art of surprise.
“We stayed close to our partners and I knew if this guy is waiting for me, there’s no way I’m going to do anything to him,” Bowman said. “So before he started, I picked him up and threw him over my shoulder on the mat and the instructor started laughing.”
Bowman and others were asked to attend Law Enforcement Day at Police Memorial Park to honor their service by receiving a 50th anniversary commercial.
Sheriff Kevin McMahill stood in front of hundreds of retired and current officers at Police Memorial Park, recognizing the group of former law enforcement personnel who served the community before the creation of Metro.
“You laid the groundwork for the foundation of what I believe is the best police department on the planet,” McMahill told the seated crowd of retired men and women. “The only way to be successful is through your people, and the same was true over 50 years ago.”
North Las Vegas Police Chief Jacquiline Gravatt and Boulder City Police Chief Timothy Shea spoke of the continued growth and focus of their respective departments, highlighting the network of information that helps law enforcement become more efficient in its investigations. all of Southern Nevada.
McMahill informed the crowd about the wellness office, which will focus on treating the mental health of employees who have experienced trauma on the job.
“It’s focused on taking care of the heart, mind, body and spirit of the men and women who are out there doing the work,” he said.
McMahill said the department has grown exponentially in recent decades, from just over 3,000 employees in 1990 to a 6,000-member department this year.
Following in Bowman’s footsteps, her granddaughter is just starting the police academy, and Bowman has some advice for her.
“Number one, remember you’re going through military training, and number two, honey, soak it up.”
Contact James Schaeffer at [email protected] or 702-383-0214. Follow @jamesmschaeffer on Twitter.