I have followed some of the recent activity from candidates running for the office of Clark County Sheriff. It was shocking to see that Joe Lombardo has already raised over a half-million dollars. He has received big money from a few casinos — nearly $100,000 from one corporation alone!
He has also received money from various attorneys and businesses that have ‘privileged licenses.’ The campaign contribution report is a good place to see who is ‘investing’ in Joe Lombardo.
Do most investors want a return on their money? You bet! Oh, there might be some who are just ‘philanthropists’ or who need a tax break.
Many of the contributions were given on December 30th — these folks are not stupid. They want to maximize their influence with the new sheriff and also maximize other advantages… like tax advantages.
Do all of these ‘wise-guys’ have the best interests of the regular people in Las Vegas at heart? We all should know better.
I know that many of my best friends (mostly now retired from Metro) and I had similar personalities and similar values. We entered the career with a desire to have excitement and to do something that was interesting and that would keep our attention.
We also had an interest in doing an honorable job and serving the community… even if it was a narrow focus on ‘chasing bad guys.’
At the early stages of a policing career we are totally focused on good vs. evil and enforcing the law to stop crime or attempt to reduce it.
Later on we learn that everything is not about arrests and taking enforcement action. We learn that improving (or at least maintaining) the relationships with the community is important. We learn that there is more than one way to deal with a situation — we don’t have to take enforcement action at every opportunity. We learn to give advice; we counsel and lecture and teach, and try to deal with the problems we are facing by not making them just ‘police problems.’ Community and Problem-Oriented Policing influenced many of us.
We learned to see the big picture and work with the community; we started trying to become Partners With The Community (like it says on the Metro police cars) because of the enormous advantages that there are when we are not the ‘Lone Rangers.’
When the police have the trust of their community they benefit from increased cooperation and problem-solving opportunities. Some police departments are light years ahead of the LVMPD…but we did try.
We had Sgt. Bobby Gronauer’s Gerson Park police substation, which later expanded to become the Gerson Park-Sherman Gardens Neighborhood Police Team. We had the Gerson Park Boy Scout troop that was organized by Ted Snodgrass and Steve Custer and others.
We had the Line Solution Policing Teams at some of the substations. I know that we made an impact because our ‘outreach’ to the community received significant media attention and even some national awards. There are some current LVMPD efforts that also receive attention.
Captain Larry Burns generated goodwill and opened communication when he was at the Bolden Area Command — but there was clearly a gap (maybe a decade) between the initial efforts and the more recent efforts.
Those of us who were involved in the innovative or non-traditional policing got ‘mocked’ to some extent. There are always going to be those hard-ass cops who really don’t care about public perception.
Those police personalities are the ones that justify just about anything based on the argument, “He didn’t follow police commands.”
These folks also probably love carrying rifles and lots of extra ammunition and are pushing the boundaries of a militarized police force. I didn’t know what to expect at the beginning of my career.
I just did what they told me to do for OFFICER SAFETY reasons and followed the rules because of a personal compass focused on truth and justice.
The ‘hard-chargers’ (one sheriff used the term ‘high speed-low drag’) were the ones who got recognized and rewarded. A ‘hard’ or ‘tactical’ cop was clearly put on a higher platform than a police officer who was more analytical and who explored better ways to accomplish the mission.
Cops with higher education were at a disadvantage; and even though there are some minimal educational requirements for promotions at Metro now, the lack of education at the highest levels has been and is still shocking!
It took me a long time to figure this out (and it cost me my job), but most of the time, you ‘go places’ based on who your buddies are and if your buddies have power in the organization.
Most of the people that I went through my career with were doing their jobs without setting themselves up for something else. Although the police do not produce a distinct and measurable product (like tires at a tire plant) they can produce stability and order — if they police effectively.
How did we know what we contributed to producing safety in our community? Our efforts were really difficult to measure; I guess soldiers standing ready to protect America are not always able to measure their results or what they produce either. In a war there might be casualty reports or numbers used to measure success or failure; police use crime statistics which are, for the most part, a total farce.
I believe we went out every shift and did the best we could for the community — NOT for ourselves. Besides the retirement that we earned, most of us have not had any substantial ‘return’ from using our jobs to promote ourselves.
I’m hoping that a new sheriff can get Metro back to focusing more on SERVICE rather than self. Yes — there is a particular personality type that works for the police department now but is planning to parlay the job into something great for themSELVES at retirement. Many former Metro employees find jobs in the private sector after retirement.
There is nothing necessarily illegal or unethical about this — unless they spent a large part of their careers setting themSELVES up for the future instead of SERVING the public with their full time and attention.
Service Above Self is the motto of Rotary International. I was a member of the Rotary club when I was a police chief. I always liked this concept and often looked for how it related to policing and the career I had chosen to pursue.
I also liked the Four-Way Test which asks: Of the things we think, say or do…
1). Is it the TRUTH?
2). Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3). Will it build GOODWILL and better friendships? and
4). Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
The Rotary International website also includes some language that seems to be quite relevant to service by public employees and elected officials — such as the sheriff of Clark County, Nevada.
“High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to SERVE SOCIETY…
Sadly, in today’s world, far too many societies are plagued with corruption, patronage, nepotism and frequent disregard for ethical behavior…
I don’t know if anything more needs to be said about the ‘benefits’ of PUBLIC jobs after looking at today’s (1/26/14) headlines in the Las Vegas newspapers.
–Lawmakers have to declare gifts but aren’t willing to define them
–Secretary of state candidates urge tougher laws addressing gifts to officials
–Fired for killing Gulf War vet, former Metro cop Jesus Arevalo still gets disability pay
Just what is going on when well over a million dollars will be contributed and spent to become a county sheriff?
Just what is going on when elected officials want to play semantics about ‘gifts'(Sheriff Gillespie was in the news as a recipient of gifts a few years ago). Once the laws are clarified, will the politicians comply (only when the Feds decide they will do something) or are we destined to have more G-Stings?
But even if we are not worried about ‘gifts’ to policy makers, what about the ‘dividend’ that the investors (campaign contributors) are going to expect for giving Lombardo (or others) their money?
I wonder if Lombardo is going to carry around a list of donors and decide whether to answer the phone for, or agree to meet with, or provide ‘extra special service’ to, those on his list?
Will Langley Productions be able to land another ten-year deal with Metro like the NFR just did? How about Motorola? The campaign contribution reports are a must read for voters. After all of the favors are done (return on investment) will there be any service left for the ‘general’ public?
I don’t know if Jesus Arevalo should be getting a full disability retirement or not. I am not a medical doctor and I don’t know what damage Metro did to him once he was ‘targeted’ — and yes, he absolutely was targeted!
I do know that the sequence of events should be investigated. I do know that nobody should be taken at their word on this story.
I do know that there are many members of Metro deserving of medical retirements (a friend of mine had a stroke and wanted to return to work but they screwed with him…threatening termination… until many months went by and he finally received a disability retirement).
I do know that more than one Metro lieutenant (i.e., Paul Page) was accused of a CRIME and was still allowed a medical retirement. One lieutenant that comes to mind is Steve Menger (acquiring painkillers), and possibly Ben Kim (HOA investigation).
The general public will continue to be suspicious of these actions and if nobody is going to expose the fraud involved at the local level then maybe the Governor needs to start answering some questions.
Oh, yes — in July of 2011, my union (the Police Managers and Supervisors Association) told me they could get me a medical retirement as we stood outside of Internal Affairs. I guess they knew that the ‘fix’ was in on my case. They said it was more or less a ‘fill-in-the-blanks’ form or template.
My response was that there is nothing wrong with me, I did nothing to get terminated, I’ve already earned my regular retirement after giving SELFLESS SERVICE over 21 years, and NO — I won’t do it!
Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule. If nearly 100 percent of medical/disability retirements are approved by PERS then something smells and it isn’t that skunk that came out of hibernation!
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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.