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July 23, 2014

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Henderson Police Chief Perkins announces retirement

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Henderson Police Chief Richard Perkins

Henderson Police Chief Richard Perkins has announced his retirement from the department, effective Sept. 5.

Perkins became Henderson Chief of Police in July 2006, after former chief Alan Kerstein left the job after just seven months. The appointment came 22 years after Perkins signed on with the department as a patrol officer in 1984.

During his time on the department, Perkins served as a field training officer, police investigator, sergeant, captain, and deputy police chief.

While employed by the Henderson police department, Perkins was also a Nevada assemblyman — a fact that got him into trouble with federal authorities, who accused him of violating the Hatch act, which prohibits federal or certain state or local officials who oversee federal funding to run for partisan political office.

Perkins, a Democrat, served in the Nevada Assembly for seven terms, from 1992 until 2006. Perkins served as Floor Leader, Majority Leader and eventually Speaker of the Assembly. His political career was marked by extensive efforts to secure funding for Nevada’s schools and better salaries for Nevada’s teachers.

The Hatch act allegations first arose in 2003, when Perkins was working as a deputy chief over departmental operations.

While an ethics panel cleared Perkins of the allegation in 2005, the Hatch Act controversy followed him, and was cited by some as a possible reason for his decision to pull out of a race for the governor against fellow democrats Dina Titus and Henderson Mayor Jim Gibbons.

Perkins, who spoke of a gubernatorial run for some time leading up to the election, said he pulled out of the race because it was too much of a long shot.

In 2007, Perkins was criticized for refusing to disclose clients of a political consulting business he was operating. It has been speculated that Perkins may devote himself full-time to his consulting business now that he is retired from law enforcement.

In a statement released by Henderson city officials just before 7 p.m., Perkins said: “Serving as chief has been the culmination of 25 rewarding years in law enforcement. However, it is time for me to seek my new challenges in the private sector.”

The departing police chief was born in Boulder City in 1961 and graduated from Basic High School in Henderson. He graduated from UNLV with honors and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and political science.

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