Deputy DA at police shooting scene


Keeping a promise he made to Clark County commissioners, incoming District Attorney Steve Wolfson dispatched one of his top deputies to the scene of a police shooting Tuesday.

After the evening shooting at a downtown motel, Assistant District Attorney Chris Owens and an investigator met with Las Vegas police officials and listened to an investigative briefing on the officer-involved shooting.

An officer shot and wounded a man who swung a knife at him, police said.

"If there's an officer-involved shooting, we should be out there," Wolfson said Wednesday after his final meeting as a Las Vegas city councilman.

Last week, county commissioners picked Wolfson to fill the remaining three years of David Roger's term as district attorney. Roger retired last month and joined the Police Protective Association, the union that represents 2,800 rank-and-file Las Vegas police officers.

Wolfson, who will be sworn in later this month, has said he would be an "active district attorney" when it comes to officer-involved shootings.

Roger and previous district attorneys rarely sent deputies to police shooting scenes. In many major jurisdictions around the nation, district attorneys routinely respond to shooting scenes and often participate alongside detectives in the criminal investigation.

Wolfson said he is working on a protocol for what his office would and wouldn't do when responding to police shootings. He will meet with Sheriff Doug Gillespie Monday as part of that process.

"We should have a presence there," he said. That presence would be either Wolfson himself or one of his top deputies, he said.

Chris Collins, executive director of the police union, said he didn't have any issues with district attorneys coming to the scene because that is what the public wants. But he questioned what their role would be because they are not trained investigators.

"I don't know what they're doing out there," he said. "If they're just there to observe, then they're probably in the way."

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281.

 

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