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James Parker, Chief of Police
Reno Nevada 

 Police Chief Jason Soto began his career with the Reno Police Department in 1997. Chief Soto has worked a variety of assignments to include the Patrol Division, Horse  Mounted Unit, Police Training Officer, Background Investigator, and Chief Polygraph Examiner. Chief Soto is the former President of the Reno Police Protective Association where he became nationally recognized in collective bargaining, police officer rights, and discipline and working conditions. He is also recognized for his training and seminars on labor management topics.

Chief Soto has a strong belief in community interaction and has donated hundreds of hours to local charities including the Special Olympics, Mom’s on the Run, and the Make A Wish program helping childred in need.

Chief Soto comes from a family dedicated to law enforcement and has proudly lived in the Reno area since 1978.

Chief Soto currently serves on the State of Nevada P.O.S.T. Commission (Peace Officer Standards and Training).

Chief Soto has a degree in Criminal Justice and is currently working toward a second degree in Public Administration.


2015 Reno Police Annual Report

2016 Reno Police Annual Report

2017 Reno Police Annual Report

2018 Reno Police Annual Report

James Parker, Chief of Police - 1972 - 1981

The Reno Police Department paid special tribute to Master Officer Dan Parker for his 28 years of service to our community and the Reno Police Department. -- (Left to Right) Commander Mark Katre, Chief Jason Soto, Master Officer Daniel Parker, Deputy Chief Tom Robinson, Deputy Chief Mac Venzon, Commander Oliver Miller.

by Jim Gibbs

In April 2018, Reno City Manager Sabra Newby recommended Assistant Police Chief Jason Soto, who had been the city's acting police chief since 2015, be named to the top post permanently. Ms. Newby became the second Reno City Manager to support the appointment of Jason Sato. Chief Soto had served as the interim police chief since May of 2015 when he was selected by then City Manager Andrew Clinger. Soto, who was serving as a detective at the time, was an unconventional choice but supported by a city council that view itself as "nontraditional" seeking progressive change. Instead of a college degree and executive police training, Clinger and council members said they value Soto's ties to the community, his relationship with rank-and-file officers and the wide respect he had earned in the department and among city management during his time as the union leader.

For a council intent on changing the culture of the police department, they wanted some-one they knew and could trust to take the reins during the interim. Jason Soto fit the bill.

In speaking of others within the department interested in the job, Mayor Hillary Schieve said, "It's not that I don't trust them, it's just that I didn't have a relationship with the command staff." Mayor Schieve, who acknowledged she gave Clinger feedback on his top choices for the job during his decision-making process. Mayor Schieve had served as the At-Large Reno City Council Member since 2012 also offered, "I've known Jason on a very professional level. He was always a point of contact for council when we had questions about the police department. His door was always open to us."

Councilman Oscar Delgado who was also first elected in 2012 said it's time for the department to move in a "more progressive direction." "Soto, having been there for 18 years, he understands a lot of those aspects," Delgado said.

Soto, who held the rank of detective when he was selected as the interim chief by former City Manager Andrew Clinger, was a controversial choice to lead the city's 445-person department because he didn't meet the minimum qualifications outlined in city law. A high school graduate, Soto didn't have the bachelor's degree, management experience or professional supervisory training required by the law.

Clinger appointed him to the position of assistant police chief and gave him two years to complete his associate's degree and obtain his management certificates from the Peace Officer Standards and Training commission.

While acting as the interim police chief, Soto has earned an associate's degree in criminal justice from Truckee Meadows Community College, obtained four training certificates from POST and chalked up three years of management experience running the department. He's worked for the department since 1996.

Prior to being appointed as the interim police chief, Soto was the president of the Reno Police Protective Association and primary negotiator for the police union.

City Manager Newby declared that those qualifications were good enough to earn Soto the chief's position despite the fact city ordinance requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree and five years of management experience. The ordinance also allows for an equivalent combination of training, education, and law enforcement experience."

Chief Jason Soto was appointed to the permanent position of police chief in April 2018 after he spent two years as acting police chief working to obtain the minimum qualifications required by the city.

The Reno City Council voted unanimously to ratify City Manager Sabra Newby's decision to give Soto the job. The decision came after more than an hour of public comment in support of Soto.

In his two years as assistant police chief, Soto won the support of clergy members, citizen activists, casino executives and his own command staff. They praised his humbleness, his knowledge of the community, his calm demeanor and his work to make the police department more accountable to the public.

During city council's meeting to consider his permanent appointment, most of Soto's command staff stood in support of him. Deputy Chief Tom Robinson admitted that he and others were shocked when Soto was initially named interim chief, but said Soto has worked "brilliantly" in the last two years.

Dozens of police officers filled council chambers for the appointment process. No one spoke in opposition to Chief Soto's permanent appointment.

As of January 2020, Chief Jason Soto was able to reinstall a full complement of command staff to assist him with running the Reno Police Department.

Following the retirement of Commander Mark Katre, it fell upon Deputy Chief Tom Robinson, Deputy Chief Mac Venzon and Commander Oliver Miller to pick up the extra duties. In 2019 Commander Oliver Miller was promoted to Deputy Chief and in January 2020 three ranking officers were promoted to Commander. They were: Commander Tim Donooe, Commander Sean Garlock and Commander Zack Thew. With their appointment, Chief Jason Soto had a complete command staff in place to support his efforts to lead the Reno Police Department.


In September 2019, the City of Reno closed on purchasing the Reno Gazette Journal building. The purchase of the 7-acre property, which will serve as the new headquarters for the Reno Police Department cost the City of Reno just under $7 million. Cost was a key issue for those who raised concerns about the purchase.

The move to a new building was necessary given the issues with the current Reno Police Department headquarters, built in the late 1940’s and occupied by RPD in January 1950. The cost of repairing the old RPD facility alone — estimated at about $8 million — is higher than the purchase price of the RGJ building. Even if asbestos remediation and other repairs are done, the building is still smaller.

“There are police officers working out of converted jail cells in the current building,” City Manager Newby said. “It really is kind of a dire situation that just needs to be addressed.”

Moving from 68,000 square feet to the RGJ’s 108,000-square-foot facility will also allow the RPD to bring community groups into the station to improve efforts on issues such as victim services.

The city is already working with an architect to look at adjustments needed to make the RGJ building conform to the city’s use. The Reno Police Department is looking at a move-in date of June 2021, with an estimated 450 personnel affected by the move.

The remolding, and the move in general bring upon the admiration staff extra work to get it done. In an interesting twist, the Reno Police Station constructed in the early 1900’s sat side by side with the Reno Gazette on Center Street.

Please enjoy this online version of "The History of Policing Reno".

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P.O. Box 60631
Reno, NV 89506

Phone: 775-200-0578
Fax: 888-496-0270