Doug Gillespie possesses with regard to internal investigations? Most
people probably know that the police are authorized to enforce the law
when it is broken and then the district attorney evaluates the arrest
(or the case that is submitted for review) and decides on the
The word ‘merits’ means there is an evaluation as to whether there
should be prosecution of this accused person for this crime, and do we
have the evidence to win the case?
The decisions made in police organizations and in prosecutor’s offices
have a wide-ranging impact on the lives, reputations, and freedoms of
regular citizens. It is true that some cases do not get investigated
and are never prosecuted in the criminal justice system.
If this is true in the ‘outside’ world, then why wouldn’t it also be
true within the LVMPD? The sheriff has the power to give the ‘green
light’ to an internal investigation or to STOP it in its tracks. The
two main categories that could lead cops to investigate cops are when
they have committed a crime or if they have engaged in internal
misconduct. For the purpose of this column, I will focus on internal
Less than five years ago I asked an Internal Affairs sergeant about
how they handle cases — including a complaint that I had filed. He
told me, “It depends on which way the wind is blowing.” What he meant
was that some cases are ‘sustained’ based on the desires of the chain
of command. This goes right up to the sheriff of the LVMPD. I also
received information from an Internal Affairs investigator who was
assigned to that unit over a decade ago. He told me the same thing —
if the ‘chain of command’ wants an allegation to be sustained, IT WILL
On the flip-side, if you are ‘special’ in one way or another, you are
much less likely to be sustained and receive discipline. I also spoke
to someone who was involved in a past election for sheriff. When he
told me that he had filed complaints with Internal Affairs he would
receive letters that informed him that his accusations against
individuals at Metro ‘did not rise to the level of misconduct.’ It
sure is nice when you can stack the deck in your favor, isn’t it,
I really didn’t believe in all of this until it happened to me — more
than once. I also know that it has happened to many other officers
that worked with me or for me in the last years of my LVMPD career.
Internal Affairs is supposed to accept complaints from any source —
even anonymous sources — but they don’t. Internal Affairs can also
fail to consider exculpatory evidence — if they want to. (Where is my
defense exhibit binder, Sgt. McMahill? I hand-delivered it to your
office on August 4, 2011.)
The system also does not work when the investigators are in collusion
with the accusers, or they even go on vacation with each other! (Where
did they go this year on those Deputy Chief salaries?)
Their system does not work when I.A. finds ‘guilt’ by a preponderance
of the evidence. They didn’t even know (or apply the correct standard
of proof) for multiple cases at the time they were hunting me. In
fact, Lt. Tomaino had to admit to their screw-ups when he testified in
my arbitration hearing. And guess what I’ve heard? He is at the top of
the promotional eligibility list for police captain. EVERYONE GOT
REWARDED FOR GETTING RID OF ME — and I’m out of a job and Lt. Hans
Walters and his family are dead… and this regime thinks they can
intimidate and silence anyone who has questions or information on the
I think another important fact is that you don’t just put in your name
for a transfer to Internal Affairs and compete like normal positions.
Over the years, it has been well-known that you are asked to go to
I.A. — which is why they expect loyalty. Of course, none of this has
anything to do with how good (or bad) the person is as an
investigator. Just because you have a title does not mean you know how
to investigate or have even had any quality training. I’ve often
wondered what the Corrections Officer investigators (that would be
Mike, Fred and others) know about conducting investigations. A.I.
(Internal Affairs) has Corrections Officers that conduct
investigations based on allegations against C.O.’s at CCDC, but they
also get assigned cases involving police officers on the streets.
So, in essence, the concern is that Sheriff Gillespie can create an
‘All Star Team’ and pick his players in the Internal Affairs Unit.
Guess what other influence he can have? Look at the members of the
PMSA (Police Managers & Supervisors Association) Board of Directors.
The sheriff has within his power the ability to promote any captain to
a higher rank. He has done this in the past. One day these individuals
are supposedly ‘protecting’ their members and the next day that are
‘appointed’ personnel and are much more likely to be selling them
An entire boatload of them were ‘conflicted’ when they voted me out
and failed to represent me against the LVMPD. Many of them are still
on the Board. Sgt. Noah Grimm was promoted to lieutenant and had to go
out and work the streets. Sgt. John Hayes replaced him as Vice Chair.
Now if anyone is ignorant enough to be represented in an interview by
John Hayes then just call me and I’ll tell you why you are going to be
sold out. Sold out by the representatives and likely by the
association as well.
Here is a clue… these guys get to sit in on multiple interviews when
other cops are in trouble. They know what each ‘subject’ and each
‘witness’ is saying. They ‘talk’… They are not sworn to secrecy in
any formal way. If they talk about confidential matters they might get
removed from the association role — but I’ve never heard of one being
disciplined. I don’t even know what rule or policy would be used to
discipline a rogue PMSA member.
I’m not as familiar with the PPA (Police Protection Association)…
but I think it is safe to assume that if you got a ‘cushy’ position in
either of the unions, in the Office of Employment Diversity (like Mrs.
Hank), or in Labor Relations, there is some special arrangement (a
loyalty pledge or a secret handshake).
Are the unions being told to ‘tone down’ their aggressive
representation of a member, or can they be intimidated from the chain
Do the unions report lies being told in different hearings by Metro
supervisors — or don’t they?
Just from the few proceedings that I am aware of… there are a lot of
different stories being told during sworn testimony. Attorney Nick
Crosby could be warning the ‘chain of command’ about all of the lies
and conflicting testimony he has heard from his witnesses and so could
the union attorneys. They could help to uphold the high standards of
integrity and performance in the LVMPD. Does anyone think this ever
happens to preserve the sanctity of the internal affairs process? They
will claim attorney-client privilege as their first excuse.
Why would an attorney who has been fed up with the lying report it?
They would if they had true integrity and were tired of seeing careers
destroyed. Why wouldn’t they? They probably wouldn’t when they
realized that nobody has ever been charged with PERJURY for lying in a
disciplinary hearing or before an arbitrator. The little guy will
rarely win against Metro!
(Next Week: Fighting Fair: Taking Off The Gloves)
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.