Las Vegas Sun

May 25, 2019

Currently: 78° — Complete forecast

Policing is personal in tiny Boulder City

Boulder City Police Officers

City of Boulder City

Boulder City Police Officers Kenny Calzada and Kevin Barakat are shown at their swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 13, 2018.

Boulder City is a mere 30 miles from the glowing lights and hubbub of the Las Vegas Strip, but the quaint burg in the shadow of Hoover Dam has managed to hold onto its small-town atmosphere — and that goes for its police force, too.

“I walk down the street in the business district, people honk their horn and wave, things like that,” Police Chief Tim Shea said.

Shea heads a department that will soon include 34 officers, including two who just finished up their initial training at the Southern Desert Regional Police Academy — Kevin Barakat and longtime friend Kenny Calzada.

“I figured I’d be able to make friends at the academy, but I never thought I’d be able to get to bring a friend to the academy,” said Barakat, who has known Calzada since he was 6 years old. “And that was the coolest part.”

The pair, who will now go through field training, said the smaller size of the Boulder City Police Department, which covers a city of 16,000 people, was appealing.

“I want to be able to give back,” Barakat said. “And I love that in this city, I’ll be able to know most of the citizens. I’ll be able to know who’s running the businesses, who owns the businesses.”

From 2010 to 2017, Boulder City’s population grew just 6.3 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. That pace is slower than in other Clark County communities, including nearby Henderson, which experienced a population jump of 17.7 percent.

Shea said Boulder City is unique because it has an ordinance that limits growth. The city caps the number of building permits for homes to 120 a year.

For Calzada, joining the Boulder City force provided opportunities different from those at larger agencies, he said. “We have the ability to show the citizens that we’re actually there for them and give them a positive outlook,” he said.