The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has started or completed more than half of the Justice Department's recommended changes. Below is a list of key findings and recommendations not yet addressed by the department:
ANALYSIS OF SHOOTINGS 2007-12
Finding: LVMPD does not conduct department-wide fair and impartial policing training that includes a focus on deadly use of force. In addition to the community perception of biased interactions in incidents of deadly force, review of agency data found that in seven out of 10 officer-involved shootings of unarmed the suspects were black. Furthermore, six of nine ... officer-initiated stops involved black suspects.
Recommendation: Be proactive with respect to fair and impartial policing and provide commanders, supervisors, and officers with advanced, specialized training that includes an emphasis on deadly force decision-making.
Finding: Officer-initiated stops are more likely to result in a shooting of an unarmed suspect than any other type of contact.
Recommendation: Conduct uniform training on the legal parameters of officer-initiated contacts (e.g., consensual stops and investigative detention) throughout the department, starting with proactive entities such as the Gang Crimes Bureau. LVMPD has created training videos on constitutional policing issues. The police department should continue to incorporate additional training on this topic into scenario-based and role-playing training modules.
Finding: LVMPD policy does not require that supervisors respond to calls for service that involve an armed person or persons.
Recommendation: Have a policy that requires supervisors to respond to any call for service that involves an armed person or persons.
POLICY AND PROCEDURES
Finding: The new Use of Force Policy is comprehensive (but) the format is cumbersome and not structured in a clear and concise manner that allows officers to quickly apply guidance in the field.
Recommendation: Separate the Use of Force Policy into several smaller, specific policies. Examples of stand-alone policies include rifles, shotguns, and other firearms; ECDs; less-lethal shotguns; batons; OC spray; and other less-lethal weapons.
Finding: The evaluation component of LVMPD's Use of Force Policy is inadequate. The department does not focus on department-wide trends, which could highlight problem areas that need to be addressed more thoroughly.
Recommendation: Develop a greater data collection and evaluation capacity for all use of force policies throughout the department and use that data to identify and proactively address any deficiencies.
TRAINING AND TACTICS
Finding: The evaluation component of LVMPD's training programs is inadequate. The department does not focus on department-wide trends, which could highlight problem areas that need to be addressed more thoroughly.
Recommendation: LVMPD should develop a greater data collection and evaluation capacity for all training conducted throughout the department and should use that data to identify and proactively address any deficiencies.
Finding: LVMPD needs to better manage multiple-officer situations. Tactical errors and fatalities are more prevalent when multiple officers are on the scene.
Recommendation: Ensure supervisors and officers are prepared to handle multiple officer situations in the context of deadly force. It should use reality-based incident command scenarios to train supervisors and officers on the management and direction of multiple officers during a critical incident.
Finding: Some LVMPD instructors did not express support for portions of the Use of Force policy reforms during training.
Recommendation: Instructors should express support for new policies. When illustrating policy violations, they should take the opportunity to explain that they are not only potentially illegal, but that they do not represent the best in policing or reflect the values of the police department. This should be ensured through instructor training and audits of instruction conducted throughout the department.
INVESTIGATION AND DOCUMENTATION
Finding: LVMPD developed a Force Investigation Team model in late 2010. In April 2012, citing manpower issues, the Robbery and Homicide Division stopped the FIT model of one squad handling all officer involved uses of deadly force. They returned to a process of all homicide squads handling the investigations on a rotating basis.
Recommendation: Re-establish a specialized group of investigators designated to conduct comprehensive deadly force investigations, in conjunction with the district attorney's office, that are legal in nature.
Finding: Presentations by LVMPD personnel to the Use of Force Review Board, as well as questions by board members, are not perceived as objective.
Recommendation: Mitigate the potential for bias and leading questions, and emphasize the board's objectivity by providing members and presenters with training on how to present information and/or ask questions in a non-biased or neutral fashion.
Finding: The Police Protective Association and Police Managers and Supervisors Association have directed members to not cooperate in deadly force investigations if involved in an OIS.
Recommendation: To ensure complete and thorough investigations and engender community trust, the police associations should encourage their officers who are involved in shootings ... to fully cooperate with the OIS investigations.
Finding: The coroner's inquest process related to review of deadly force incidents is ineffective.
Recommendation: The Clark County Commission should review the necessity and purpose of the coroner's inquest since it is now being met by the public release of the DA's Memorandum of Decision and the department's OIS review.
Finding: The district attorney's office needs more training and expertise related to investigating deadly force incidents.
Recommendation: The DA should acquire additional expertise and dedicate resources to investigate OISs more comprehensively.
Finding: The district attorney has begun to review officer-involved shootings that result in death and to issue decision letters regarding criminal findings. However, decision letters are not issued for serious, nonfatal use of force incidents.
Recommendation: Continue to review all fatal use of force cases and also review significant uses of force that did not result in death.
COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVES AND OUTREACH
Finding: LVMPD is now releasing deadly force investigation summary reports in response to community concerns about the perceived lack of accountability for officers involved in OISs.
Recommendation: Provide greater transparency of police operations and internal reviews relating to use of deadly force by creating a policy to mandate the timely release of information on OISs and more open dialogue with the public.
Finding: Information LVMPD provides to the public on the circumstances of officer-involved shootings is not meeting community expectations and is contributing to the public's negative perception of LVMPD.
Recommendation: Work with community leaders and other stakeholders to establish mutual expectations and a process for the release of information to the public following an OIS.
Finding: LVMPD has publicly expressed its commitment to providing officers with wearable cameras.
Recommendation: Wearable camera technology is relatively new, and further research is needed regarding its efficacy. LVMPD has invested in this innovative technology and should collect operational data and evaluate its effectiveness in the field.
SOURCE: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE