There is lots of bold talk from our law enforcement officials on what they are planning to do to address the rising violent crime in our community, which has basically all turned into nothing more than being reactive to murders, rapes, and robberies; even then, the results are substandard and corrupted at best. Certainly these crimes against a person should be a top priority along with law enforcement’s relentless attention and prosecution, but to what extent are the other crimes against our community being minimized or completely ignored?
It all boils down to the cop on the street. He or she alone is the only one that can make a difference. It doesn’t matter how many sergeants, lieutenants, captains, deputy chiefs, assistant sheriffs or even the bought-and-paid-for civilian-elected Sheriff, that you may have staffing and administrating your police force, the only ones that really matter, that do the actual work, are the cops on the street.
TV shows epitomize the false belief that administrative supervisors holding rank, from sergeants on up, do actual police work, make arrests, put cases together, testify in court or essentially do the dirty work. There can be nothing further from the truth; they are mere politicians.
In recalling a police incident in the early ’80s, at Las Vegas Blvd and Fremont Street, a Patrol Lieutenant and a Patrol Sergeant on their way to have their afternoon coffee, inadvertently stumbled upon a disturbance involving a traffic collision, whereby the drivers were physically (by beating on each other) trying to settle the question of who was at fault in the collision.
We (patrol officers) arrived at the scene and noticed that the Lt. and the Sergeant were trying their best to not actively get involved in keeping the peace and or trying to keep the drivers from beating each other to death. As soon as I approached the inner scene, the Lt. and the Sergeant immediately came out of hiding, approached me and stated “Get me out of this.” I immediately responded and told both of those police supervisors to “ just leave.” The original police incident was quickly handled and resolved by Patrol Officers. This incident is characteristic of rank-holding supervisory personnel, and their lack of actual police involvement, on any scale.
I suppose that is essentially the way it is. I am sure the military conducts its business in a similar way, I would imagine, though, that the military sergeants take a more active role in a combat zone right along with their subordinates. I can assure you that it is not the case with the civilian law enforcement service.
There is a certain percentage of police officers that are not fit for actual police work and don’t enjoy the challenge, and thus, strive very hard to make rank (sergeant, lieutenant…) even at the cost of selling their soul and violating their law enforcement Oath to make rank. This process is done to avoid any further actual police intervention, and not get their hands dirty anymore.
In further recalling, I must share another obnoxious situation whereby a supervisory Patrol Sergeant in the late ’70s ordered the arrest of vagrants and potential vagrants near or around the Fremont Street area. This sergeant would venture out in a Patrol vehicle (like Gen. Patton) and call in officers to arrest certain individuals. The sergeant would literally point out individuals and demand that the police officers arrest them and take them to jail, and then prepare some type of fictitious arrest report with bogus probable cause and false details in order to justify the arrest. Of course the sergeant
ordering this activity would not have anything to do with the arrest and/or supply any input into the circumstances of the arrest, and would make himself completely devoid of any involvement in that type of police action.
This type of policing in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which we called an “Airstrike,” was quite prevalent around the downtown area, and was used against any group, such as potential gang bangers, “low-life bums,” drunks, and persons of ill repute. Soon, though, the city attorney became aware that these arrests were illegal and unconstitutional, especially given the fact that the person ordering these types of arrest never submitted the proper paperwork to justify those illegal arrests. This type of policing soon was abandoned after the sergeant’s name was placed on the booking form as the arresting officer, and was supplemented with only the “transportation officer’s” name. Sheriff Moran used to order the same type of police activity usually around election time.
Policing in Clark County has taken a definite turn, mostly for the worse. There are over 300 individual criminal street gangs terrorizing and operating freely throughout our community, over 30,000 burglaries per year, over 60,000 traffic collisions per year, whereby you are lucky if a police officer comes to the scene to properly document the event. If you are the victim of a vandalism, or a harassment, or a theft of some sort, say your prayers because that is probably the only help you are going to get, but drive your vehicle with a license plate light out, and you are sure to be spotted, stopped, and given at least one revenue citation for that violation. I hate to even mention the rise in Dope-related DUI’s. Priorities are important, and God forbid, also, that anyone that becomes a victim of a “Crime Against a Person,” is not immediately cared for by law enforcement by the real “cop on the street.”
Lord in Heaven, please listen to our prayers for relief.
In God We Trust
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Gordon Martines is a former LVMPD detective who has served in many capacities over his 39-year career in law enforcement. He was a candidate for sheriff in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014, with the intention of bringing integrity and accountability back to the department, and filed a federal lawsuit against LVMPD in 2011. Martines has appeared on “Face The Tribune” radio show several times and is currently the host of “Open Mic” on Tuesdays and Thursday at 11:00 a.m. He contributes his opinions and ideas to the Las Vegas Tribune to keep the public informed and help improve policing in Las Vegas. Gordon Martines can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.