Q-and-A with Clark County sheriff’s candidate Joe Lombardo

Las Vegas police Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo, 52, is currently outgoing Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s right-hand man. Lombardo is also Gillespie’s pick to replace him in next month’s election.

But if Lombardo wants to win, he’ll have to go through popular retired Capt. Larry Burns. He has significantly outraised and outspent Burns, but polls say the race is tight.

The Review-Journal recently sat down with Lombardo to get his opinion on topics such as the More Cops sales tax to pay for officers, the militarization of police, keeping the Strip safe and deadly-force reforms.

R-J: Let’s start with the More Cops sales tax. Do you go back to the Clark County commission again, seeing how they’ve rejected proposals to increase the tax rate several times already?

Lombardo: No. … Before, we filled (the budget deficit) with existing (employee) vacancies and the (More Cops) end-fund balance. So over the last four or five, six years we filled it with that, we were able to balance the budget, and working with the city and the county, they would supplement us with some additional funds. But now we’ve been drawing down on the More Cops reserve, and we don’t have end-fund balance anymore.

R-J: So what’s the long-term funding plan if you can’t rely on More Cops?

Lombardo: The initial push is for the city and the county to increase their funding to the police department so the budget is balanced. We have to establish a foundational amount through the city and county that balances our budget before we even ask for the taxpayers to contribute more.

R-J: Bryan Yant shot and killed Trevon Cole in 2010 in one of the valley’s most controversial police shootings in years. Gillespie promised to keep Yant behind a desk the rest of Yant’s career, but Gillespie won’t have a say much longer. Would you put Yant back in a uniformed police assignment?

Lombardo: I don’t foresee that. Every employee in any organization is entitled to due process, but management has the authority or ability to determine where they do work. And operations still is a management right. … The community, you know, even Bryan himself would not be served appropriately if he was to go back to uniformed work. … Does he create an environment where he puts other officers in peril because he hesitates? Or he puts himself in peril because he hesitates? Or he puts the community in peril because he hesitates? And that’s probably part of the reason he pushed to go to the union, where he wouldn’t put himself in that position.

R-J: Recently retired Lt. Gawain Guedry made waves after he accused Metro of burying his internal audit of the department’s air unit, and he asked the district attorney to review whether any laws were broken. His report was allegedly very critical of Metro’s administration. How much credibility do you give Guedry?

Lombardo: I give it a lot of credibility in the fact that they came back with several recommendations to improve the unit, and that’s what we’re doing.Nothing was manipulated in that report. The core of the report was the recommendations on how to make the unit better, and those things are moving forward. Where the controversy is, there was a lot of subjective narrative associated with individuals, and that wasn’t the intent of the report.

R-J: Were you one of the individuals named in the report?

Lombardo: Yeah. The fact I was a lieutenant in the unit is the reason why I’m listed. … I haven’t been associated with that unit for, I don’t know, 11 years?

R-J: When you were promoted to captain and chief, though, were you in charge of the unit?

Lombardo: Some aspects. Not as a captain, but as a chief. There are several levels of the chain of command. When (Guedry’s) report was kicked off and initiated, I was not in that chain of command. … When you do an official document associated with the department, it goes through a review process. That report was still in the draft process when the decision was made not to release the subjective portion of it, where he personally attacked people’s personalities and their work history and work production, and things like that. And that was not the intent of the report.

R-J: You’ve been in the middle of deadly-force reforms at the department for several years now, and last year you took over for Ted Moody as chairman of the Use of Force Review Board after he retired. Although the Department of Justice oversaw Metro’s reforms, there was no consent decree. A new sheriff can reverse course. What’s your plan for ensuring that those changes stick? (Note: Shortly after this interview, Moody endorsed Lombardo, citing Lombardo’s commitment to deadly-force reforms.)

Lombardo: One of the most important ways is being open and transparent, and communication. You can’t put up a wall around police work and say, “We know how to do it, and that’s how we’re going to do it.” You have to receive information from your special interest groups. You’ve got to receive information from your legal community.

R-J: How do you make sure that information is implemented into policy?

Lombardo: We have the Office of Internal Oversight, which is a product of all of this and adds that check and balance. And here’s the other thing — even the decisions that came out of the 9th Circuit were never reviewed and put in place on a regular basis. Now we have a separate committee in place that meets on a quarterly basis; they review all the current case law and implement that into our policies.

R-J: Sheriff Gillespie fired Jesus Arevalo for the 2011 fatal killing of Stanley Gibson. But he saved the job of another officer, Jacquar Roston, who shot Lawrence Gordon in 2012 after mistaking the shine on Gordon’s hat for a gun. Gibson was killed, Gordon survived, but both were unarmed. The Use of Force Review Board recommended both officers be fired, but Gillespie had the ultimate authority. Would you have made the same decision as Gillespie?

Lombardo: Arevalo? Yeah. … And I would have made the same decision that he did with Roston. They’re two completely different issues. … Roston was on an event, by himself, in the middle of the night. And he had a perceived threat that he took action on. He didn’t have all the support of all these other police officers. There was a recommendation made as a result of the Use of Force Review Board, for his termination, and part of that was because of Roston.

R-J: His attitude?

Lombardo: His attitude, and how he presented himself, and how he explained himself. Outside of that, you go to the pre-term board. That’s where you can bring in everything associated with Roston. His previous work product, his work history, what he did before he became a cop, what he did while he was a cop, whether he had previous discipline. And whether he’s going to be a successful officer in the future — if he can be one — if he’s provided training …

R-J: What do you say to people that believe the sheriff has allowed the police unions to influence department policy? For example, last year Commissioner Steve Sisolak raised questions about Metro and the Police Protective Association’s contract negotiations during arbitration. (Note: Sisolak has since endorsed Lombardo.)

Lombardo: If you were to ask Sisolak now, I don’t think he would come forward with that. I was the head negotiator. And I’m here to tell you right now: We did not collude. You’ve heard Mr. Moody say that the county attorney said it was an unlawful act. Well, if it was unlawful and it was determined to be unlawful, why wasn’t it pursued and why was the eventual conclusion of the arbitration adopted? It was because it wasn’t unlawful.

R-J: What went wrong with that arbitration?

Lombardo: One, the offer wasn’t written. It should have been written. It was verbal offers by both sides that were in separate rooms that did not collude together, done through the attorneys. And two, the arbitrator’s award did not define the financial impact. So, I mandated he issue a supplemental award in which he addressed both issues. Granted, you live and learn and you rely on some of the expertise in the room.

R-J: There were errors, but nothing was done intentionally?

Lombardo: We took them to arbitration to fight it. … What’s the answer in the future? One, it will never happen again. Two is, should the whole procedure be transparent, out in the public? I say yeah… If they want to sit there and listen to that mind-numbing testimony for three days, let them hear it.

R-J: Let’s talk Cliven Bundy. How do you handle him if you’re sheriff? A lot of people want to see accountability for what happened during the standoff on his ranch.

Lombardo: There’s a separation of authority associated with that. There’s the authority of the sheriff of Clark County to enforce county-enacted laws, versus federal laws. … When you have a federal agency that is taking on the responsibility of those crimes, it’s incumbent upon that agency to hold people accountable. We will support those (agencies) and ensure officer safety. And ensure that Cliven Bundy, or anybody like Cliven Bundy, has the ability to obtain due process.

R-J: What’s the timeline for that process? It’s been months.

Lombardo: The feds are currently conducting an investigation associated with that and I anticipate they will levy charges against Mr. Bundy and a plethora of other people and they will hold them accountable for that. Now how they go about enforcing that accountability, that’s going to be up for discussion and we’re going to be part of that conversation.

R-J: The Strip is the lifeblood of Las Vegas, and on weekends and for big events, Metro pulls officers from the neighborhoods and puts extra help on Las Vegas Boulevard. Are you satisfied with how Metro is policing the Strip?

Lombardo: No. For two reasons. Because we’re supplementing manpower via overtime. And that’s not a good long-term solution. We need to supplement manpower via our normal budget. … We’re pulling resources from where you live to ensure that we protect our economy. Which is proper, in some aspects. Some people may argue the other fact that, “Hey, I live over here and there was a burglary …” Here’s the other way we do it. We ask for individual casinos to fund individual officers to present a presence out in front of their property. Is that a long-term solution? No.

R-J: So what’s the solution?

Lombardo: I’m going to pursue an enterprise fund associated directly for the Strip where we can fund police officers.

R-J: And you’ll approach the casinos with this?

Lombardo: No, that’s more of a Convention and Visitors Authority and county function. …

R-J: The county hasn’t gone out of their way to fund Metro’s budget requests already. Do you think they’ll go for it?

Lombardo: I think I have a good relationship with those folks, and I think we’ll have to communicate our way through it. The bottom line is they live here. They’re responsible for that Strip area. If there’s issues associated with the Strip, does it fall all on the police department? With everybody knowing that we have diminished resources? No, it falls on everybody’s back, not just ours.

Contact Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283. Find him on Twitter: @blasky.

ad-high_impact_4
News
NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local
Lights FC coach Eric Wynalda lost his home in California wildfire
Eric Wynalda, coach of the Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team, talks about losing his home in the deadly California wildfires during an interview in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 17, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Women face issues from Essure birth control implants
DeVonna "Kat" Normand said she had complications from the Essure birth control implants. Normand uses her Sin City Heat show at 22.3 TakeOver Vegas Radio internet radio station in Las Vegas as a platform to raise awareness about Essure and connect with other women who have used the device. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Truancy and Clark County schools
Tony Stark, one of 23 attendance officers with the Clark County School District, have a tall order tracking down students who aren't in school.
North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Crime
2 kids struck by gunfire in North Las Vegas shooting
On Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, people opened fire into a residence in the 3600 block of Hamlin Place in North Las Vegas. Two kids were hit by gunfire and sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to North Las Vegas police. Anyone with information is asked to call the NLVPD at 702-633-9111.
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
16-year-old shot in North Las Vegas
A 16-year-old was hospitalized but was expected to survive after a shooting in North Las Vegas, near Centennial Parkway and Fifth Street, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. North Las Vegas police spokesman Aaron Patty gives an update. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
3-year-old boy shot in North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas Police Officer Aaron Patty talks about an accidental shooting that left a 3-year-old boy “fighting for his life” on Nov. 10, 2018.
Senior Citizen Carjacking Attack -- 3 Suspects Sought
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police detectives are seeking the public's assistance in identifying the three attackers who carjacked and beat a 78-year-old man near Fremont and east Charleston on Tuesday. (LVMPD)
Henderson Police Department Chief Latesha Watson Talks Change
11-year-old girl shot, killed in North Las Vegas
An 11-year-old girl is dead after she was struck by gunfire Thursday night during a shooting in North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas police on deadly shooting
North Las Vegas police spokesman Eric Leavitt briefs the media about a shooting that left an 11-year-old girl dead on Nov. 1, 2018. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stephan Bonnar DUI Arrest
Stephan Bonnar arrested for DUI in Nevada.
Family members of murder victims talk about their loss
Family members of murder victims talk about their loss. Susan Nash, 52, was killed in a shooting along with her daughter and one of her three sons on Sunday night. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Sayegh Cold Case Turns 40
Cary Sayegh was abducted from the playground of the Albert Einstein Hebrew Day School in Las Vegas in 1978. His body has never been found. (File Photo)
Review held in death of man after encounter with Las Vegas police
The mother of Tashii Brown, who died after an encounter with Las Vegas police on the Strip, not satisfied after public review of evidence. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vehicle of Interest in January Homicide
Las Vegas police released footage Friday of a “vehicle of interest” from a deadly shooting in January. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Hostage escapes clutches of robber before shooting
Metropolitan Police Department footage shows a man wearing a motorcycle helmet, identified by police as 27-year-old Mario B. Trejo, with one arm wrapped around a woman’s neck and held a handgun to her head.
Sunset Park Vigil
A small group of people gathered in Sunset Park to remember the three children recently killed in the area.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like