After being notified by telephone, from other former co-workers, of the circumstances, I immediately arranged to, and did, go down to Sunrise Hospital to bid my final farewell to my old friend and police partner. I was shocked to find my friend completely all alone in his hospital room, with only the life support equipment sustaining the life in his body. Understanding that the family has been in constant bedside attendance, which is extremely draining to say the least, I noticed that there was no police presence or guard in attendance.
I remained with Al for approximately one and a half hours and noticed that there still was no police presence, and according to one of the two nurses in the entire intensive care unit, there was no plan on placing a police officer to guard my old police partner.
In reflecting this new procedure within this police administration, it was clear as day that police employees are pretty much on their own these days, if something unforeseen happens to you or your family. The idea that Loyalty and Work Ethics now matter not to your employer, even to the Police Department Administration or Union, which proudly states that “We are all Metro Family,” is very sad indeed.
There was a time in this community that businesses and Hotel and Casino’s cared about their employees, that it mattered not how low in the food chain you were in your employment status, the Company would acknowledge your unexpected circumstances whether it be an accident, medical emergency, or criminal victimization; the Company would offer some type of assistance, or acknowledgment of your situation, and some type of help to lessen your unfortunate circumstances and speed up your recovery.
In years past, the police department would essentially be the leader in offering support, donations, and police services — such as personally guarding the family, or the injured officer, when they are suddenly placed in an extremely vulnerable position, and cannot defend themselves. It may be a surprise to most, but any police officer that carries the badge and gun is subject to unexpected attacks or ambush by the criminal element, without any provocation, at any time, but especially when placed in a vulnerable unprotected position.
In years past whenever a police officer was suddenly injured and hospitalized, a fully uniformed officer was placed as guard in front of the injured officer’s hospital room, or outside on a 24-hour basis, regardless of the time frame or circumstances, to ensure the family’s safety and the safety of the injured officer.
Somehow or another this tradition and safeguard has been lost or abandoned as we speak. I can’t imagine that the community would object to this practice, as the cost would be minimal and would even be open to voluntary police service if need be; all that would be needed is permission from the big boys.
It is just disgusting to me that my partner, whom I have known for at least 18 years, is now not deserving of a police guard on his hospital death bed, after loyally serving this community for almost thirty years. I personally know of hundreds of hours of no-pay police service to this community, that was performed by the two of us that would more than make up for one police officer to guard his hospital room until his remains are removed to a final resting place.
This is yet another example of the most corrupted police administration that I have had the misfortune of recognizing in my 39 years of loyal law enforcement service. This place sets the example for all other corrupted police systems. I am sure that discounting a trip to other parts of the country or maybe even to Dubai, to learn
new law enforcement techniques, which will never be used, could possibly cover the cost for a guard, for a loyal injured police officer, whose last days are in a hospital bed.
In addition, this type of treatment by the police administration further demoralizes the rest of the employees of the police department and sends a clear message that nobody cares about anybody else, and it is now every man or woman for themselves. This does not make for a congenial, compassionate, and honorable organization that has a fiduciary responsibility to enforce the law equally and fairly for everyone in the community.
For all those reading my column, let it be known, Detective Al Garris was a fine real police officer and a fine partner to have had for several years, and is now due to be revered, respected, and honored for his loyal honorable service to this community.
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 has been 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 now contributes his opinions and ideas to the Las Vegas Tribune to keep the public informed and help improve policing in Las Vegas. He has also appeared on the Face the Tribune radio program several times to share his plan for a better LVMPD.