I had intended to write a column this week entitled, “In Defense of Sheriff Doug” — not because I have become a raving fan of his, but because most of the ‘general public’ just does not know the realities of how Metro works and how little control he really has over some aspects of ‘his’ department. That column will have to wait, because I was alerted to John L. Smith’s piece in the Review-Journal from yesterday entitled, “Teenage Prostitutes Part of Vegas Vice.”
Smith seems to adore Lt. Karen Hughes and admires the work done by her unit. He has written about Metro Vice and the cooperation with the IRS on a handful of pimp cases multiple times. He has also written about Amar Harris and the carnage caused by two pimp/rappers a few months ago. That incident significantly damaged the reputation of Las Vegas. I read Smith’s column and could not help but get irritated because there is a bunch of ‘fraud’ and misrepresentation going on. It is the ‘greatest show on earth’ because information given by Hughes (and reported by Smith) just is not consistent with what I saw for a half-decade
Lt. Hughes was turf-oriented and territorial. She was not a ‘team’ player if that definition meant sharing information and working cooperatively. Both the ‘beginning’ of the end of my career, and the end of my career, were directly related to the influence of Hughes. She targeted me, my supervisors, and my officers. She retaliated when we complained. She developed an ‘obsession’ with what my patrol squads were doing if it had anything to do with Vice. There is a lengthy ‘paper trail’ that I have saved to document what she wrote about me and how she complained about PATROL officers!
Let it be known that anyone who works the Strip on graveyard is going to be spending the vast majority of their work week dealing with trespassing prostitutes and other crimes connected to prostitution (i.e., domestic violence, thefts, trick rolls, pickpocket/grope and grabs, fights between girls and the occasional conflict between pimps). I would estimate that 70-80 percent of the calls handled on the Strip on graveyard (including self-initiated activity) is connected to prostitution-related crime (pimps, ho’s, and thugs like the drug-dealing pimps and rappers). We could also include the escort services and ‘businesses’ that attach themselves to the mainstream like leaches. The bottom line is that it is impossible to avoid Vice crime unless you are in a coma and are sitting in the station all shift!
When I read, “a focused patrol officer spotting the signs of loitering and solicitation” getting credit from Hughes, I was surprised. Has Lt. Hughes finally seen the light? Even if all of a sudden her entire unit started to care, they don’t have the resources (“a small band of investigators”) to address the magnitude of the problem. I just about needed an AED to restart my heart when I read, “Schooling patrol officers to spot trouble is paying off… Right now, we’ve got a really high involvement with patrol… even when we can’t police it in an undercover way, patrol has been highly effective.”
She destroyed my career (and that of Lt. Walters and Officer Almazan, for starters) by complaining about us having anything to do with enforcement or trying to investigate crimes. We (Patrol) shared intel information but rarely, if ever, received any feedback or cooperation. All of the hotel security people know that giving information to Vice was like sending it into a black hole. They also know that Vice is extremely indifferent and unresponsive to problems brought to their attention. This is not a secret!
All of the patrol officers knew that it was rare to get Vice to respond to a request for assistance or follow-up. The STOP folks (juvenile prostitution investigations) always did a quality job… because it was almost impossible to neglect their duties with these cases. There would be too much liability to ‘blow off’ a call involving a 14-year old hooker. But, if the case involved a felony theft, credit card case, trick roll with no suspect in custody, or just about anything that ever had to do with a PIMP (other than a violent kidnapping or rape), we would be told to ‘forward’ information to Vice.
It got so bad (for me) that they had created special rules for Norm Jahn. All of the information and all of the contact that I had with “Vice” matters had to go directly to Lt. Karen Hughes. There were all kinds of limits placed on me and what I was allowed to do and even where I was allowed to drive my police car (which is why I got fired)! Captain Charles Hank even tried transferring me off the Strip in May of 2011. Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody stopped that transfer.
All members of Vice were told about Sgt. Norm Jahn. All that we were trying to do was to deliver high quality service and protect our tourists — but we upset Lt. Hughes. I was able to give information to the Tourist Crimes Unit with some success because they did quality investigations and we worked in the same building as they did. Many detectives from TCU (and current and former Vice detectives) have to be reading the propaganda that gets released and thinking, that is a bunch of bullsh—! In fact, I have received comments from several people who say that trick rolls and other felony crimes were not a priority and investigations were often shut down. Lt. Karen Hughes wanted to have a first shot at all cases, but the delay in addressing these matters caused hundreds of suspects to go free and millions of dollars in money and property to never be recovered or to never even be reported in many cases. There is a PHENOMENAL amount of damage that has been done to Las Vegas tourists because (as all of the detectives have said) Metro did not make these crimes a priority and there was no support for stopping them.
So Hughes gets ‘press’ for being the “QUEEN OF VICE” and the “PRINCESS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING” …but there is a lot of pretending going on — also known as factual fraud. RJ reporter Tom Ragan wrote one of the most critical/skeptical articles that I have ever seen written about Vice, Hughes, and Human Trafficking. He even informed me that retired Deputy Chief Louise Pascoe had been hired to oversee the ATLAS program at something like $70,000 per year. She must make around $10,000 a month in retirement from PERS and the ‘church ladies’ (there is some reporting in the article on the role of the church in fighting these crimes and supporting Hughes & Company). Why doesn’t this draw the attention of someone in the media? Was there an interview for the job? I would have liked to have been able to interview for the job and truly fight this type of crime.
Ragan’s lengthy article prompted me to contact him and offer him some of the facts on the matter and not just the selective release of statistics and subjective information/impressions/
Men paying for sex with 13-year-olds should be in prison. Pimps kidnapping, coercing, and brutalizing juvenile females and making tens of thousands of dollars should not just face forfeiture from the IRS — they should be locked in a cage.
If the truth be known (about the lack of enforcement, prosecution, and overall effectiveness), we would be taking care of business and slamming the suspects instead of glorifying them and the police personnel who are supposed to be protecting Las Vegas from this plague!