Sheriff Lombardo answers questions about recent spike in violent Las Vegas crime — VIDEO

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said he’s losing sleep over the “scourge of violent crime” in the Las Vegas Valley.

Lombardo told reporters Wednesday morning that he is committing every available resource to address the issue and is seeking outside agencies’ ideas.

As the sun rose Wednesday, the number of homicides investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department this year had risen to 62 — more than double the number of killings over the same period in 2015. Violent crimes overall, including aggravated assault and rape, have also risen significantly this year, Lombardo said.

“As I continue to figure what we’re going to do about this, I want the public to be assured that I am doing everything within my power,” he said.

Lombardo said he consulted the Los Angeles Police Department, former sheriffs Bill Young and Doug Gillespie, and others to better understand what’s driving a national increase in violent crime.

“I did not want to make decisions about how we’re going to fight this scourge based on my own opinions,” Lombardo said. “It was important for me to reach out to make sure I wasn’t making bad decisions.”

In the valley, 50 percent of this year’s homicides have been attributed to gang violence, Lombardo said. And much of the valley’s recent violence involves youths. The majority of the people killed this year have been younger than 30, and the homicides involve younger perpetrators and more guns than the sheriff has seen previously.

“More importantly, drug territory has been the crux of it,” Lombardo said.

Lombardo shared other ideas about what’s driving the spike in crime, again returning to the idea that the depopulation of California’s prison system is behind the high crime rates here. But the connection between California and crime in Las Vegas isn’t new.

“As long as I’ve been a law enforcement officer here in Las Vegas, we have seen individuals directly related to California committing crimes here in substantial number,” he said.

He also pointed to the department’s staffing levels, saying that even with the additional positions afforded the department in a new budget approved Monday, the department is still below the national average of the officer-to-population ratio.

On Monday, Las Vegas police approved a $552 million budget that includes funds to hire 38 new officers on top of the 149 new positions created when the More Cops sales tax increase went into effect in January. That would keep the department at its 1.83 officer ratio — about 2,800 officers — a slight improvement from the 1.75 ratio the department seemed stuck at before it got the extra sales tax money.

The department had more than 3,000 commissioned officers before the recession. Gillespie was forced to cut more than 400 positions beginning in 2009. At its peak, the department had 2.06 officers for every 1,00o residents.

To get the department up to two officers per 1,000 residents and address the spike in crime as he’d like, Lombardo said he would have to hire 250 to 275 more officers. That’s not possible because the county and the city have no funds to spare. So the sheriff said he will ask the Nevada Legislature to amend the state’s property tax caps.

“I am in conversation with the Legislature and county and city government to move forward with possible revenue sources in order to properly fund the Police Department,” Lombardo said. “We are not properly funded.”

He also pointed to measures the department has taken to address the crime problem. The violent crime initiative was changed to establish a semipermanent unit devoted to saturating high-crime areas with an eye on prevention, he said. Before under the initiative, detectives and sergeants were rotating into patrol shifts.

SWAT, internal affairs and property crimes detectives have also been tasked with addressing violent crime.

“We already have shown direct results from that,” Lombardo said. “You may not see that because of the rise in homicides, but we’re not talking just about homicides. We’re talking about violent crime across the board.”

The sheriff also responded to a Las Vegas Review-Journal story in which a gang expert from California questioned the department’s decision to break up the gang enforcement unit. Lombardo said the gang intelligence unit is still a central unit, and enforcement officers have been more effective spread out among substations.

“It’s really troublesome for me to see in the community and in the press that people are equating this rise in violent crime to some poor decisions I have made,” he said. “I am not and nor will I ever make a decision based on conjecture or based on what I believe without having all the information before I deploy my resources.

“Because everybody’s life is as important to me as it is to you, the most important thing I can do is provide a blanket of safety to this community,” he said. “And we will do that.”

Contact Wesley Juhl at wjuhl@reviewjournal.com and 702-383-0391. Find @WesJuhl on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Crime
Officer Shoots Suspect in Nye County - Bodycam
A Nye County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man Thursday night. Jason Paul O’Bannon, 46, died after the altercation with police. Reports of a man firing a weapon outside his house brought police to the scene just after 8 p.m. Detective Wesley Fancher fired the shot that killed O’Bannon, police said. O’Bannon had a “lengthy criminal history” in California and Nevada dating to 1988, according to police
Nye County sheriff news conference on officer-involved shooting
Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly details the police response as officers came under fire Thursday when a man was shooting a rifle in his yard. When the man pointed a weapon at an officer, police opened fire. The man died.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing - 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
The Mob Museum
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Man shot, killed by Las Vegas police after traffic stop
Las Vegas police give a briefing after a man was shot and killed by an officer following a traffic stop. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video of suspect in Home Depot parking lot shooting
A man who was injured in a Nov. 20 shooting in the southwest Las Vegas Valley died at a hospital Tuesday, the Clark County coroner’s office said.
Nevada Task Force 1 Dog Units Return
Four dogs and their handlers returned to the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday, November 29, 2018, after deploying to the Paradise, California wildfire last week. The dogs, trained in human remains detection, are part of Nevada Task Force 1, a Federal Emergency Management Agency urban search and rescue team. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police thwart brazen kidnapping attempt
Metro officers suspicious of woman claiming to be with Child Protective Services prevent possible kidnapping of three-week-old infant.
Shot Spotter technology used by Metro extended for another year
Gunfire location technology being used by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department gets extended for another year of evaluation.
Nye County pursuit ends in rollover crash caught by dashcam
A truck flipped twice before landing on its wheels as a driver tried to flee Nye County Sheriff's deputies on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.
Nevada Highway Patrol stops wrong-way driver on Thanksgiving
The Nevada Highway Patrol has released dashboard and body camera video showing troopers deploying spike strips to stop a suspected impaired wrong-way driver early Thanksgiving Day. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
DUI sentencing
The parents of 8-year-old Levi Echenique speak after a woman who drove under the influence of marijuana and killed the boy was sent to prison.
3 Pahrump residents arrested on false imprisonment charges
James Thatcher, 28 of Pahrump, Chelsea Demille, 30 of Pahrump, and Sandra Wombles, 19 of Pahrump were all arrested after it was discovered that they were holding an adult female and male prisoners in their bedroom. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
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)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like