Monday, May 19, 2014

Who Will Be Metro's New Top Cop?

There may not be a dazzling "top of the ticket" this year, but that doesn't mean this election isn't important. Far from it, this election will determine the future of our state... And the future of Metro Police.

In recent years, Metro has been facing tough questions on police brutality officer involved shootings. Last August, Metro came under fire for allowing a police helicopter to be used by a Guns N Roses guitarist for his marriage proposal. More recently, Metro has been caught in a bizarre slut shaming incident where a uniformed police officer scared young girls with inaccurate information. And questions still surround Metro's handling of the Cliven Bundy "Range War" in the Bunkerville/Mesquite area. Why has a police department that's become notorious for "quick & decisive action" in the Las Vegas Valley been dragging its feet on #BundyRanch, allowing celebrities to use its equipment for publicity stunts, and engaging in counterproductive slut shaming of young girls in our community?

Last August, incumbent Sheriff Doug Gillespie dropped a political bomb when he announced he won't be running for a third term. It just so happened that his decision to retire was announced shortly after the Clark County Commission rejected the "More Cops" sales tax surcharge. The Commission rejected "More Cops" again in January. And now, Sheriff Gillespie is abandoning the tax proposal after three failed County Commission votes.

Gillespie now says Metro will have to endure painful budget cuts. Metro Police have already stopped responding to non-injury car accidents. Yet even as this is occurring, many members of the public and a few County Commissioners are still asking what Metro is doing with its current funding. And they're asking why Metro leaders are still refusing to hold anyone accountable for officer involved shootings.

Last summer, Ted Moody retired as Assistant Sheriff after Sheriff Gillespie failed to implement the recommendations of the task force he called to address officer involved shootings. He's now running for Sheriff. And in a rare display of solidarity, both Clark County Commissioner (& progressive favorite) Chris Giunchigliani (D) and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce have endorsed Moody.

Current Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo is also running for the top cop position. He's been endorsed by Gillespie, and he's been raising money from The Strip's top casino players.

Former Metro executive lieutenant Larry Burns is also running for Sheriff. He's gained the endorsement of the police unions. And while he's called for better relations with the wider community, neither he nor Lombardo has promised the kind of broad accountability that Moody is now campaigning on.

Six other candidates are also running for Clark County Sheriff, so this is truly a wide open race bursting with possibilities. And this truly is a race that will determine the future of Nevada's largest local law enforcement agency. Metro's new top cop will have to make decisions on how to curb officer involved shootings, whether to pursue the "More Cops" tax again, and simply how to improve troubled relations with the greater community. And we will be the ones deciding who that new top cop will be.

So make sure to vote this month... And choose wisely.

No comments:

Post a Comment