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Henderson: There's A New Chief In Town

LaTesha Watson was sworn in as chief in the Henderson Police Deparment in November 2017.
City of Arlington, Texas

LaTesha Watson was sworn in as chief in the Henderson Police Deparment in November 2017.

LaTesha Watson is the first black person and only the second female to be chief of the Henderson Police Department.

She was hired last fall, moving here from a position as deputy chief with the Arlington Police Department in Texas. She was the youngest person to ever hold that job.

She took the reins in November and after almost a year on the job, we decided to see how it’s going.

Watson told KNPR's State of Nevada that she is focusing on the culture of the department, crime in Henderson and connecting with the community.

She said culture is extremely important for a police force.

"How we treat one another inside the organization transcends to how we treat people outside of this organization," she said.

Watson said she wants her officers to treat all people with dignity and respect regardless of how they are being treated and regardless of the circumstances.

She said incidents that happened at the department in the past are in the past. She wants to change the narrative around the Henderson Police Department.

"In this climate, in this day and age, in the evolution of policing, you want to make sure that it is understood and it is clear that we hold our officers to a higher standard because we do not want the public to feel like they can't trust us," she said.

As far as crime is concerned, she noted that Henderson does not have a large problem with violent crime but it does have a problem with property crimes like car break-ins and burglaries. 

"There are things that we need to work on because the more we pay attention to them the more that we allocate the necessary resources and the necessary initiatives we can decrease those amount of offenses," she said.

Watson admits that not everyone is going to be happy with the direction she taking the department but her obligation isn't to make everyone happy.

"The Henderson Police Department has a new chief. Chief LaTesha Watson," she said, "We need to start looking at does she have a plan. What is her philosophy and how is she going to take this organization to the next level into the future."

She said her goal is to make sure her decisions are fair and consistent. She also wants the decisions to benefit the entire community and the entire organization, not just a few officers. 


LaTesha Watson, Henderson Police Chief

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.