Officer of the Month March 2000

Sergeant David Swoboda

Las Vegas (NV) Metropolitan Police Department

Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Sergeant David Swoboda of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as its Officer of the Month for March 2000. Sergeant Swoboda is assigned to the department’s Laughlin, Nevada substation.
In 1881 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the fictional sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Armed with intelligence and cunning the legendary detective could solve any crime, regardless of how complex. Today the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has its own real-life sleuth in the form of Sergeant David Swoboda, who is recognized throughout Clark County for his relentless pursuit and apprehension of criminals.
Encouraged by his aunt, a police dispatcher, Sergeant Swoboda began his law enforcement career in 1976 in Idaho, as a police cadet with the Kootenia County Sheriff’s Office and the Coeur D’Alene Police Department through a program offered by North Idaho College. While in school he worked as a dispatcher and marine patrol officer, gaining invaluable on-the-job training. Having received his AA degree in Police Science the previous year, Sergeant Swoboda relocated to Nevada and joined the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 1979, where for the last 21 years he has dedicated his life to keeping criminals off the street.
“Fifteen years ago when he started working for me,” says Lieutenant Ed Pitchford, of the Laughlin Substation, “Dave picked up the hot sheet and took off. At the end of the shift he contacted me and stated he had located a homicide suspect listed on the hot sheet. The suspect, who had been hiding under the insulation in the attic of his home, was taken into custody. Since that day, Dave has not slowed down one bit.”
Although Sergeant Swoboda has worked over 1,000 cases and has a 90 percent conviction rate, he has never fired his weapon to subdue a suspect. His weapons of choice are intelligence, understanding and perseverance. “Each case is unique,” says Sergeant Swoboda. “They all have their frustrations and challenges.” The countless number of letters of appreciation from those he has helped attest to the positive impact he has had on his community. From the boy whose bicycle was stolen, to the woman who had her purse snatched, to the family of the four-year-old whose mother was murdered by his father, it is clear that Sergeant Swoboda has touched the lives of so many.
Sergeant Swoboda is the recipient of several awards and numerous commendations. In 1990 he received the Shotgun News Trade Show Police Officer of the Year for the State of Nevada and four years later the Laughlin Elks Lodge named him its Officer of the Year as well.
Of particular importance and pride to David Swoboda, is his involvement with the Laughlin, Nevada school system. Having developed a close working relationship with the elementary and high school administrators and staff, Sergeant Swoboda’s team is able to track habitual truants, get them back in school and obtain for them the appropriate counseling they need. The significant decrease in juvenile crime and truancy in the school district is directly attributed to this program.
Considered by his supervisors and peers to be a top investigator, Sergeant Swoboda is also a great humanitarian. In addition to his heavy workload, this devoted husband and father serves as a key volunteer for the United Way campaign, and is credited with helping to increase contributions to the organization’s local chapter by more than 34 percent. In appreciation for his dedication and commitment to his community, the citizens of Las Vegas have donated generously to the Injured Police Officers Fund in Sergeant Swoboda’s name. He is also a member of the Police Managers and Supervisors Association.
Speaking on behalf of this outstanding officer, Sheriff Jerry Keller says, “The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is very proud of Sergeant Swoboda, as he represents the very finest in law enforcement. We are honored to have him serving on this department.”
Police Unity Tour
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.