A Brief History of the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Investigation Division
1969, to curb the drug problem in Nevada, Governor Paul Laxalt requested the
Legislature form a state narcotics bureau. As a result, the Division of
Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was created within the Department of Parole and
Probation. The Division of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was charged with the
detection and apprehension of narcotics violators and sources of illicit drug
In 1971, the Department of Law Enforcement Assistance was organized. The Division of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was transferred to the new department, and renamed the Division of Investigation and Narcotics. The newly named division was also charged with providing criminal investigative assistance upon request to any sheriff, chief of police, district attorney or attorney general in the state. At first, the Division was generally associated with homicide cases, but it was not long before it was covering a wide variety of criminal cases in response to the requests for investigative service.
In 1981, the Department of Law Enforcement Assistance was eliminated, and the Division of Investigation and Narcotics was renamed the Division of
Investigation. With this new designation, the Division became officially known as the Nevada Division of Investigation, or NDI, and was placed under the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. Because the
Department of Motor Vehicles included the Nevada Highway Patrol and the state law
enforcement computerized message switching system, this move consolidated the
major state level law enforcement agencies into one department. In addition, the Department of Motor Vehicle's title was officially changed in 1981 to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles
and Public Safety. This change reflected its expanded role in law enforcement within the State of Nevada.
During the 71st session of the Legislature in 2001, a bill was passed that split the Department into two separate Departments: the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and the Nevada Department of Public Safety.
Today, the DPS Investigation Division has dedicated resources to proactively enforce criminal violations throughout the State of Nevada, and focuses its efforts in several areas: major crime investigations, drug enforcement, pharmaceutical diversion, auto theft, and criminal intelligence analysis and homeland security as conducted by the Nevada Threat Analysis Center (NTAC). Throughout its proud history, the DPS Investigation Division has seen many
changes. However, it has survived for 47 years, and continues
to provide professional investigative services to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the State of Nevada.