Part One of Two Parts
I received an email from a friend this week after he read some recent
columns (and news reports). I’m paraphrasing just a little here:
“You know, the buzzards are picking over what’s left of their honesty
and integrity and they confront anyone who challenges them as they try
to eradicate any remnants of their unlawful legacy, so as to remove it
from any outside exposure.”
He was referring to the administration of the LVMPD. If any remnants
of an unlawful legacy exist, I hope we will learn about them from the
internal candidates during the 2014 campaign for sheriff. It will be
for the good of the community and the LVMPD.
I have to wonder if he, the sender, was considering the departures of
Undersheriff Rod Jett, Assistant Sheriff Mike McClary, Assistant
Sheriff Ray Flynn, Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody, and Assistant Sheriff
Greg McCurdy all since December of 2010! Has the LVMPD (or any agency
in the history of Nevada) ever seen such turnover? I don’t think this
is an anomaly.
UNARMED SUBJECT SHOT
The recent shooting of an unarmed (non-suspect) at a 7-Eleven will be
investigated and we will read the report that Metro decides to release
on their website when Metro decides to release it. We will also find
out if the District Attorney has any basis on which to prosecute the
officer. We have already seen a lightning quick release of the video
because Metro’s spin doctors believe it is beneficial to their side of
The only thing I have not seen yet is the vilification of the victim —
although there are already some hints that he has had some prior
police contact. When they come out with a story that he has a
background for being a “triple axe murderer” we will see what Larry
Kepler was complaining about when he wrote his book many years ago
(“Sin City Post Mortem”). But… maybe we are making some progress…
as far as I know, the subject (Antoine Hodges) was NOT arrested — not
even after his release from the hospital. He could accurately be
described as a ‘shooting victim’ after an officer involved shooting.
He has already filed a lawsuit through attorney Cal Potter.
If the young officer is ‘cleared’ (I highly doubt that he acted with
malice at the time he spotted a possible double-murder suspect) then
what does the sheriff do with him? Metro better start considering the
possibility that some officers should never be put back on the
streets! I mean really — just what options does the sheriff have if
this comes back as a ‘bad shoot’? Do officers get two bad shoots, or
even three? Is there any type of training that can overcome ‘bare
fear’ during a high stress incident? I’m not mocking anyone because
bare fear IS a legal term in the Nevada Statutes 200.130, but bare
fear is insufficient — to use deadly force there must be ‘reasonable’
The most unexpected and immediate ‘high stress’ would seem to be when
an officer is surprised and shot on a traffic stop or other event,
when he might not even have his weapon out of the holster. In these
instances, when the suspect has pulled a firearm and has already fired
on the officer, the need to use deadly force is undisputed. It would
seem that a solo officer who approaches the threat with his gun
already drawn is not as likely to be startled or to overreact.
Officers ARE taught to approach these threats with their firearm drawn
and pointed at the threat.
Former officer Jesus Arevalo was terminated because he did not
demonstrate the ability to make sound decisions. He was behind cover
and armed with a rifle and backed-up by many officers… but he saw
and heard the effects of gunfire and reacted. Metro is using the term
‘de-escalation’ in their new training and that most certainly seems to
apply with the recent shooting. A solo officer ‘guessing’ or basing
his actions on a ‘gut feeling’ that he has spotted a homicide suspect
only aggravates the situation when he approaches (even after making a
radio broadcast to notify others about what he is doing). I’ll be
surprised if Metro does not place some accountability on a supervisor
after this incident. They would have to establish that a supervisor
was on the radio that night, heard the transmission, and did NOT order
the officer to wait for backup and not enter the store.
Why don’t we have a video on the shooting of the disabled tourist at
the Excalibur? Remember the off-duty officer who left his gun in his
car in a hotel drop-off area as he was visiting with relatives on the
curb? He left his firearm in between the front seats. I’ve heard some
conflicting stories about what happened next but, in the end, the
‘suspect’ was shot in the wrist and WAS arrested. If there was a video
of this incident and it was beneficial to the police we would have
already seen it. If it has been viewed and is damaging to the stories
that have already been told, we won’t see it. A police department that
is committed to transparency and accountability would respond to all
valid requests with consistency.
Just how many ‘senior’ captains must be upset that Todd Fasulo was
promoted to Deputy Chief? and what are they being told about how the
sheriff makes these decisions? Fasulo went to Bonanza High School and
has one year of college at UNLV, according to information on the Web.
Does he golf with Sheriff Gillespie or something? Did Fasulo request
personal time off when he recently attended the annual conference for
IAPro at the Monte Carlo Hotel? I visited their website and noticed
their slogan, “Honesty & Integrity Command Respect (and respect
fosters pride).” OK — so a software system designed to track officer
conduct and provide an ‘early warning’ to supervisors COMMANDS RESPECT
and respect fosters pride? I think the officers being tracked might
disagree, and I don’t think the respect of the public can be
commanded. This slogan sounds like it was written by Todd Fasulo
I’m concerned about how many Metro employees have made ‘connections’
with private companies during the performance of their official duties
with Metro. It is one thing to be professional and possibly support
the contract that the vendor is seeking but it is another thing to
personally benefit from the transaction. A vendor would be in a
position to enthusiastically ‘groom’ a supporter for a big money deal
with the LVMPD. If the Metro employee then is allowed to parlay that
connection into an ‘outside employment’ opportunity, is this ethical?
Does Fasulo have an approved outside employment request? Has he
disclosed the number of hours and the amount of pay he receives? Has
he signed a letter of indemnity?
I remember when a captain denied my request for outside employment to
simply teach at the College of Southern Nevada. I got lucky when
former Undersheriff Rod Jett overrode the captain’s decision so I was
able to keep teaching, but I’m sure I upset the captain. So back to
Todd Fasulo… if Internal Affairs launches investigations on
complaints from ANY source — including anonymous sources, then maybe
someone like me who believes there should be a ‘speculation
investigation’ will file a complaint or send an email. They don’t
respond to me anymore!
MORE ON PROMOTIONS
Just how many ‘senior’ deputy chiefs must be upset that Kevin McMahill
has already been promoted to Assistant Sheriff? (And what are his
educational achievements and credentials?) McMahill’s wife just
finished at #1 on the lieutenant promotional list… I believe she
went to school to study music, but maybe she golfs too.
Does the sheriff ever explain his promotional decisions to other
commanders in the organization? Does he interview them and ask if they
share the same ‘favorite football team’ or agree that Metro Kool-Aid
tastes good? Shouldn’t the promotions to the very highest ranks in the
LVMPD be the ones that have to be justified most completely? I’d love
to see an investigative report that compared the credentials
(primarily education and experience) of the highest ranking members of
Metro with the comparable positions in City and County government.
Next, it would be nice to see the pay comparison. I would be surprised
if any City or County officials were making over $150,000 per year
with a high school education or an Associate’s Degree.
Next week: Retirement Insurance, Vice, Social Media Surveillance and more.
Norm Jahn is a former LVMPD lieutenant, who has also served as a
police chief in Shawano, Wisconsin, and has nearly 25 years of police
experience. Jahn now contributes his opinions and ideas to help
improve policing in general, and in Las Vegas in particular, through
his weekly column in the Las Vegas Tribune.