Has Sheriff Gillespie lived up to the ideals of the LVMPD Values
Statement (ICARE)? What is his legacy now and what will it be when he
is out of office? I know he is proud to say that he never had to lay
off an officer… but, from what I have been told, he has fired more
officers during his administration than in the entire history of the
LVMPD. He isn’t giving me any statistics on this, but I think he may
have fired more officers at Metro than in all years combined, since
the consolidation in 1973. I guess that is a good way to avoid
There is evidence that Gillespie practices ‘situational
accountability,’ and in future columns we might address ‘situational
transparency’ and ‘situational integrity.’ We can analyze the two
largest payouts in recent LVMPD history. Officer Bryan Yant still has
his job after shooting Travon Cole because of his ‘perception’ as
compared to Officer Arevalo, who was fired because of his perception
of a threat to life when he shot Stanley Gibson.
How about this Doug double-standard? Yant’s perception was
consistently so poor that he had identified the ‘wrong’ person listed
as the supposed drug dealer. Yant’s perception was so poor that he
thought the flashlight on his rifle was operational — it wasn’t.
Yant’s perception was so bad that he said he did not ‘accidentally’
discharge his rifle at Cole after kicking in the door to a bathroom
where Cole was supposedly flushing some marijuana. Ultimately, Yant’s
perception was so bad that he claimed that Cole pointed his finger at
him (as if holding a handgun in a ‘shooting’ position)… so Cole ends
up being blown away with a rifle round for ‘faking’ that he had a
handgun as police were supposedly calling out “POLICE SEARCH WARRANT”
during entry. I saw a pretty dramatic picture of Cole slumped against
a wall in his bathroom (in a story on the Coroner’s Inquest for the
incident). That picture is no longer available in the media.
Taxpayers can readily find the news articles of our wonderful sheriff
explaining away a death due to Yant’s ‘perception’ and why Yant would
be keeping his job. I’ve never heard whether any supervisors were
disciplined over the Cole shooting. Maybe they were ‘anointed’ ones
under Lord Gillespie. Yant got a week off without pay after being paid
to stay home for many months! I do know that a massive amount of time
and effort was put into training on search warrant preparation and
serving search warrants. No complaints about this — Metro needs to
stop the ‘cowboy’ mentality for good.
Metro is better trained, Cole is dead, and one lawsuit has been
settled for 1.5 million dollars. Will the second lawsuit be settled
from Metro’s ‘self-insurance’ fund for seven figures as well?
Now let’s compare Yant’s fatal shooting to that of Officer Jesus
Arevalo. Officer Arevalo was apparently not very popular with some of
his co-workers. I read how unidentified police personnel were giving
information to the media and were critical of Arevalo. Make no
mistake, policing under Sheriff Gillespie absolutely is a ‘popularity
contest.’ Instead of trying to improve Arevalo’s performance (or his
personality), the LVMPD armed him with a rifle at a static event
(nobody told him to put it back in his vehicle). He was behind cover
with his rifle pointed at a vehicle. There were no known weapons in
possession of Stanley Gibson. Arevalo didn’t just ‘perceive’ a threat
… he actually heard a shotgun (Low Lethality Shotgun) being fired
and maybe even saw the impact. He actually experienced a gunshot and
decided to fire to protect himself or others. He called it ‘muscle
memory’ and explained why he took action and pulled the trigger seven
I wonder what would have happened if the cell phone videos did not
exist? I wonder what would have happened if the family and the media
did not keep Cole in the news? Does anyone remember the work that
Larry Kepler did on Sin City Post Mortem even though nobody else
seemed to care and they probably would have preferred that he end up
86’d? I’m not even sure that the Review-Journal looked at any of the
same shooting cases that Kepler wrote about, but he was on to the same
concerns that would come out in 2011 and that were brought to the
attention of the Department of Justice. I don’t even know if those who
wrote the Deadly Force series were aware of Kepler’s book. I actually
forgot that Kepler was a candidate for sheriff at one time. Does this
remind anyone of a current candidate for sheriff (Gordon Martines)? It
is easy to call someone a ‘kook,’ but what harm comes from examining
the allegations that are so serious?
So back to the ‘situational accountability’… Arevalo was fired by
Gillespie. His lieutenant was demoted two ranks and I heard he is now
relegated to handing out keys at a police station. Arevalo’s sergeant
was given a suspension and has now retired from the LVMPD. Stanley
Gibson is dead!
I suppose there is no need right now to analyze Gillespie’s decision
to not fire Officer Roston for a non-fatal shooting. There are also
plenty of ‘pending’ non-fatal shootings of unarmed individuals that
Gillespie should have the time to address before he retires. There is
video of one or more of these shootings that might help assess the
‘perception’ of these officers at the time they fired. Maybe we will
see some more consistency in the future for the ‘major’ incidents like
shootings. I’m already aware the Gillespie termination machine is
well-oiled and performing at a high level for much more minor
allegations against officers.
Deputy Chief Todd Fasulo and Captain Charles Hank are still handling
pre-termination hearings. I have not heard of anyone who actually did
not get fired in front of these Kangaroo Courts which operate whatever
way Fasulo wants them to operate.
‘New” Lieutenant Kelly McMahill was just featured in a story in City
Life about promotions of females to the rank of lieutenant. She
claimed the domination by women of the exam was “unheard of” and said,
“I think it shocked a lot of people in this agency. It had never been
done before.” So with her husband (Kevin) recently named as an
Assistant Sheriff, I guess we are seeing the new leaders of the LVMPD.
Anointing oneself a ‘leader’ fits just fine with the group that
created the current situation at Metro. She will blend right in.
McMahill also said, “I love that unit” when referring to her
assignment to Internal Affairs. She continued, “holding officers
accountable — that is a cornerstone of the public trust.” If the truth
was only known… and someday, it just might be.
NEXT WEEK; Metro’s ‘Situational Transparency’ – Anniversary of Lt.
Walters Family Tragedy
* * * * *
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.
Has Sheriff Gillespie lived up to the ideals of the LVMPD Values