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Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie confirms he will seek third term

Recent years haven’t been easy on the Metropolitan Police Department, but Sheriff Doug Gillespie hopes to stick around awhile longer.

Gillespie, 54, confirmed Friday he intends to run for a third term as Clark County sheriff despite budget problems and a federal review of department practices that shadow the accomplishments of his second term.

While acknowledging that he is planning to run again, he said he won’t make a formal announcement until this summer. The election is in 2014.

“It was the practice I used last time,” Gillespie said, referring to the way he launched his campaign in 2009.

The sheriff, a longtime Metropolitan Police Department officer first elected in 2006, has been coy about his plans. But in recent weeks, he has had to reveal his hand.

While lobbying lawmakers in Carson City to support a 0.15 sales tax increase to help close his department’s budget gap, Gillespie was asked whether he would be around to oversee the finances.

“They brought that up when I was testifying a couple weeks ago,” he said. He hinted to lawmakers that he would.

Clark County commissioners support a tentative $489 million budget for the department, $13 million shy of Gillespie’s $502 million budget request.

The proposed budget doesn’t require layoffs of the department’s 2,500 officers, but vacant positions won’t be filled.

Gillespie also has had to navigate a U.S. Department of Justice review of the department in the wake of a Review-Journal series analyzing police shootings and the controversial shooting deaths of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott and Stanley Gibson.

Cole and Gibson were both unarmed when they were shot by officers using AR-15 rifles; Scott was shot outside a busy Summerlin Costco after brandishing a gun.

The shootings and subsequent investigations prompted sweeping changes in the department’s use-of-force policies, many of which are still being implemented and refined.

But the department has reduced crime since Gillespie took over, including vehicle thefts and most violent crimes. Homicides have nearly been cut in half since 2006.

Gillespie, a New York state native, has been an officer in Las Vegas since he moved here in 1980. He worked in a variety of roles, including SWAT commander and undersheriff before becoming sheriff.

The sheriff earns $156,983 a year. His salary is set by the Legislature.

Gillespie won both previous elections in landslides. A challenger for 2014 has not yet emerged.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

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