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Metro may ask National Guard for help during Formula 1 race

Updated March 16, 2023 - 7:06 pm

Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said this week that he is considering asking for National Guard assistance to patrol Las Vegas during the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix.

The race is expected to take over the Las Vegas Strip area from Nov. 16-18, with a night race of 50 laps around a 3.8-mile course spanning portions of the Strip, Koval Lane and Harmon and Sands avenues. Speeds of up to 212 mph are anticipated.

“I’m already having a lot of concern around staffing with this,” McMahill said in an interview Tuesday. “That’s part of why I’m racing to get my academies filled.”

At the start of the year, McMahill cited a 70 percent drop in academy applications and 300 unfilled positions in the Metropolitan Police Department. Nevada governors have traditionally called in the National Guard to help Metro with major events, including New Year’s Eve.

On a typical weekend in Las Vegas, McMahill said, Metro patrols more than 200 special events. For larger gatherings, Las Vegas police receive help from North Las Vegas and Henderson officers, Las Vegas marshals and even Nye County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

“We may have to have some conversation with the governor and a number of others about private security assistance, maybe even the National Guard when it comes to these things, just by the sheer magnitude of the size,” McMahill said.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Elizabeth Ray, spokesperson for Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo wrote: “Governor Lombardo will work with Sheriff McMahill and LVMPD to ensure that there is a robust security plan in place for the F1 event in Las Vegas.”

Initial paving operations for the grand prix are scheduled to begin next month, starting with Sands Avenue, and finish in September near the MSG Sphere. The Strip is not expected to fully shut down during the paving work, according to Terry Miller of Miller Project Management, who is leading the work on the Formula One circuit and the race’s paddock building.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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