Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

David Tanenhaus

Second Committee Member

Todd Robinson

Third Committee Member

Jeff Schauer

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Green

Fifth Committee Member

Ralph Buechler

Number of Pages



This thesis examines the creation of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 1973 and its impact on the War on Crime. The first chapter examines the significance of race and policing in Las Vegas from the early twentieth century until the consolidation of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Las Vegas Police Department in 1973. Chapter 2 then analyzes how the federal government’s so-called War on Crime played out at the local and state level in Nevada from 1973 to 1985. The thesis argues that this period witnessed a punitive turn in policing that had long-term consequences for Las Vegas and its residents. Drawing on a range of primary sources, which include newspaper articles, trial records, and manuscript collections at Lied Library, the thesis analyzes some of these consequences on ordinary people through the lens of race, gender, and class. As the thesis demonstrates, these years marked the transition from the remnants of the Jim Crow Era to what Michelle Alexander famously labeled as the New Jim Crow.


Black Police Officers; Civil Rights; Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; Law Enforcement Assistance Administration; Modern Police Force; War on Crime


United States History

File Format


File Size

900 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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