Punch #2. County Commissioner Steve Sisolak endorsed Joe Lombardo. The RJ reported this story. I guess Sisolak is convinced that Lombardo is NOT a clone of Doug Gillespie. Maybe Gillespie and Sisolak have kissed and made up after the harsh words over the compromised contract negotiations a few months ago? I’ve got it figured out. Sisolak wants to continue to have a ‘punching bag’ for his (often justified) criticisms. I guess it is nice to focus on lack of accountability in BOTH the police and fire (overtime scandal) departments.
Punch #3. The RJ endorsement of Lombardo cites their own previous reports and reporters as ‘foundation’ for their endorsement as if there are established and undisputed facts. Who is on the editorial board for the RJ? Who makes the decision? Is it like the police union where the Board decides on an endorsement (not necessarily reflective of the vote of the membership)? Maybe the RJ and the PPA/PMSA are more alike than they even realize?
Is the RJ trying to ensure the status quo (install Lord Lombardo as Sheriff) for job security reasons? Job security? Yes, unless serious changes are made at Metro, the RJ will be able to continue to hammer the department and by being highly critical of the police department they will sell more papers! Just look at the past week. A former financial crimes detective indicted, horrendous stories of a predator prostitute and a torturing pimp (more background on those two
incidents soon to come)… and I’ve heard about a possible ‘kiddie porn’ investigation involving an LVMPD member. That one is not in the paper, not yet — it is safe to assume that only ‘half’ of the actual scandals make it to the newspaper. In fairness, Lombardo is not responsible for all drama at Metro… but he certainly played a big role in the Vice-Narcotics unit and with what I have called ‘strategic corruption.’ I used that term (strategic corruption) in correspondence to Captain Charles Hank when Vice was trying to interfere with me and my officers fighting prostitution-related crime on the Strip — no wonder I lost my job! Lombardo was in charge long enough to make
needed changes… he didn’t!
Punch #4. This one could be considered to be ‘friendly fire’ because when it occurred the PPA was accepting Bryan Yant to be a member of their board of directors. That move received plenty of publicity and it is likely to have further angered some voters who are already upset with Chris Collins and the PPA. It reflected negatively on Larry Burns
and I sure hope that was not the intent. The RJ did a good job of making it sound like Burns and the PPA are one and the same. Cops overwhelmingly support Burns, but this time, the PPA happened to also endorse the same candidate that the cops wanted.
Now get this… the RJ editorial/endorsement noted, “The union’s clear expectation is that Mr. Burns, who is accepting financial support from individual officers as well as the union, will return the endorsement favor in kind.”
NEWSFLASH TO THE RJ… Look at who else has given money (to YOUR candidate). Wasn’t the COPS (Langley Productions) show involved in the lead up to the Trevon Cole incident — where Bryan Yant shot Cole? The crew may not have been present the night of the shooting, but wouldn’t that have been revealing? To actually have video of the raid that might refute the stories told after the shooting would be very valuable… to someone. But then again, skeptics would figure that any video would have been destroyed or suppressed by the ‘regime.’ Your candidate was also transferred OUT of his position overseeing Vice and Narcotics after that botched narcotics raid… so I am told.
So, Langley Productions donates tens of thousands of dollars in the last several campaigns (Young, Gillespie, Lombardo) and they are connected to some of the controversial incidents (i.e., Cole shooting). It is OK for the RJ to speculate that Larry Burns will have to ‘pay back’ his supporters and the RJ focuses on this as a vulnerability, but they do ignore the obvious… Lombardo has a whole lot more paybacks to provide than Burns could ever dream of (hotel-casino moguls, UFC owners, and various businesses in Las Vegas) that want to remain ‘Metro Friendly’ and have far more money and influence than a bunch of working cops…
Has the RJ forgotten their own reports on the shooting of Cole? (http://www.reviewjournal.com/
The Las Vegas Sun even cited the involvement of COPS/Langley… and the subsequent lawsuit which cost Metro $1.7 million. The report http://www.lasvegassun.com/
“The federal lawsuit alleges violations of civil rights, civil conspiracy, battery, negligence and wrongful death on behalf of Metro and the defendants.
The complaint alleges the raid at Cole’s apartment was a stunt set up for filming purposes by Langley Productions as part of the reality series. Langley Productions is responsible for reality shows such as “Cops” and “Las Vegas Jailhouse.”
“It makes for better television to show an armed raid rather than a routine arrest,” the lawsuit states. “As a result of this policy, practice and custom, Trevon Cole lost his life.”
The raid, however, was not filmed because the production team was busy with footage from another police squad.”
And in light of the recent controversy in Ferguson, Missouri… just think what would have happened to the reputation of Metro (and Las Vegas) if the national news had seen this headline, “Woman says fiance had his hands up when shot by police.” http://www.lasvegassun.com/
What a comedy of errors that raid was (Air Force investigators on scene, COPS TV, Yant’s inoperable flashlight, errors during investigation, and ‘hush-hush’ NO radio traffic about the Officer Involved Shooting). Notifications were done over the cell phone to prevent the MEDIA from knowing what happened. Here is another NEWS FLASH for the RJ — I believe it was their ‘darling’ Deputy Chief Joe Lombardo!
There is this ongoing argument that money buys the sheriff’s office.
While out riding my bike the other day I could not help but think (again) NO — voters decide elections! That would be the ideal.
Realistically, the voters will decide this election! Consider the following scenario about how money ‘buys’ votes.
Certain casinos that strongly support Joe Lombardo tell their employees who they (the hotel owners) endorse. They then allow them time off on Election Day to go to the polls (maybe even without losing pay while away from work). Let’s also say that they are provided with transportation to and from the polls. And, ultimately, let’s say that if they show proof that they voted they get this ‘logged’ upon return to work — maybe they are even asked to report how they voted. Just one hotel with 5,000 employees can nullify the vote of nearly every member of the LVMPD. Even if the Metro ‘family’ was able to get their friends and relatives and unanimously vote for Larry Burns this would not even
come close to matching the power of the casinos (is this political ‘activism’ or ‘buying an election’?). I conclude that it is not just about money…it is about pressure put on voters you can control so that your ‘regime’ can stay in power.
And why would the RJ care? What is in it for them? Considering that they really made an impact with their award-winning Deadly Force Series, maybe they just want to maintain the status quo (more death, controversy, and scandals to report on).
It really might be just the right time to reconsider other options to have more accountability over the largest agency in Nevada. The Las Vegas (City) Police Department merged with the Clark County Sheriff’s Department in 1973 leaving a ‘sheriff’ to be the elected leader of the consolidated department. There are a handful of other similar organizations in the U.S.
I know many people have been asking if the current system is placing the best people in the Office of the Sheriff. Metro is a massive operation now (2104) compared to when it was formed in 1973. If people are really unhappy with the Sheriff and the LVMPD and if enough of them feel too much is now at stake to allow unqualified (or at least not the best qualified) people to be administrators, then discussions need to begin for a different system.
Los Angeles and San Diego have separate police and sheriff’s departments just like the vast majority of agencies in the U.S. A Mayor, City Council, or City Administrator/Manager plays a large role in the SELECTION of police chiefs. These selections bring in better candidates with much higher qualifications than the ‘good ol’ boy’ or ‘shoulder tap’ system that is in place in Las Vegas today.
Sheriffs are still elected for county agencies, but a high-quality hire for police chief negates the impact of placing all of the power in the hands of one man. But it isn’t only that one man. The sheriff is given total discretion to appoint at the ranks of deputy chief, assistant sheriff, and undersheriff. He also is able to ‘create’ additional positions such as ‘commander,’ which is the (now defunct) position Doug Gillespie was appointed to as he began his ascent. The Sheriff also appoints civilian directors and they play a major role in the operations within Metro. Today, I read that Joe Lombardo is going to assign the Constable’s Office under Deputy Chief Todd Fasulo. You can bet that the 19 sworn folks hoping to keep their jobs will be filing for unemployment come January 1.
Nothing will change as long as the system is ‘stacked’ just like a deck of cards used for cheating in a casino. The only problem is that the casinos don’t realize someone has actually been stealing from them — Las Vegas does not get the most professional and progressive policing when a ‘shoulder-tap’ is all that it takes to keep the power.
The lower ranking members of the LVMPD can’t fix the problems…they just know who they would rather work for. The mandate for change is on the ‘shoulders’ of the next elected sheriff. ACCOUNTABILITY to the community sits squarely on the shoulders of the administrators (they call themselves ‘leaders’) of the LVMPD. They set policy. They establish procedure. They also enforce the rules (or look the other way depending on who is involved).
The LVMPD Mission Statement of ICARE — Integrity, Courage, ACCOUNTABILITY, Respect for Others, Excellence — should be more than words on a pretty piece of paper!
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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.