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Metro Police Has Its Hands Full With New Years Eve On Tap

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(AP Photo/John Locher)

Fireworks explode over the Las Vegas Strip during a New Year's Eve celebration Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas.

If a House bill in Washington, D.C. is signed into law, Nevada would have to welcome people with legal concealed weapons into the state--even if the gun owner doesn't follow Nevada's concealed carry laws.

What does that mean to police here, who are dealing with a rising number of murders and lost one of their own among the 58 dead in the October 1 shooting?

And if that bill passes and is signed into law before New Year's Eve, will that change security plans on the Strip, where 100s of thousands gather every year to celebrate?

We’re talking about that and the new study by UNLV about the use of body cameras with Undersheriff Kevin McMahill, second in command of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS:

On the investigation into the October 1 shooting:

Today, I can tell you that there is over 1,600 leads the vast majority of them have been looked at collectively between ourselves and the FBI. There are 40 terabytes of video that we’re continuing to go through. There are almost 1,000 body-worn cameras that we’re almost completely through.

Rather than to allow and stir up this controversy that so many people seem to think that we’re concealing or hiding information, we’re going to get it right. Our intention is sometime in January to release a summarized report of everything that we know about this particular incident.

Support comes from

When we release this information, we’re going to have 100 percent confidence in exactly what occurred. Think about this for a moment, you have over 500 victims, 58 people dead, so we have voluntary statements from thousands of people and trying to reconcile the voluntary statements from people about where they were, what they were doing, what they heard and what they saw at the times that they believe that it occurred with what we know has been very, very difficult.

The reality is we have a responsibility to the victims and we have a responsibility to our community to get it right and that’s what we’re going to do.

On the proposal before Congress to allow people from different states to bring concealed weapons across state lines:

My personal experience is that we don’t have a significant problem with people who carry concealed weapons. It would be helpful if the laws that we have on the books in regards to prohibiting certain people who have had their due process to go through and to be adjudicated to be properly reported in background checks so that they did not have the ability to access those weapons.

I’m not concerned that we’ll have additional CCW permit individuals here in Las Vegas.

On security for New Year’s Eve:

Our New Year’s Eve event has been raised to the highest level of attention from the federal government so we have a significant amount of federal resources pouring into the valley for that long weekend.

We have also pretty much scraped every single plan that we’ve had to go back through with a fine-tooth comb to find ways we can make sure that this New Year’s Eve will be safe and I believe it will. As well as conversations with each and every one of those properties that have gone through the process of re-evaluating their entire security plan.

I will tell you there are a significant number of things that we have done to ensure that America’s great party on Las Vegas Boulevard on New Year’s Eve is going to go off without a hitch.

I believe that New Year’s Eve will be the safest it has ever been. And I encourage people to come out for it.

On the body-worn camera study:

I believe that cameras do two things not only does it change suspects behavior but it changes officers’ behavior… but you also have to couple that with the cops reform that Metro. If you look at every categorical measured use of force, we have been trending downward since 2010 in all of those. With the one anomaly being the officer-involved shootings that went up this year.

Today, we’re over 80 percent of compliance on activating their body-worn cameras when you compare it to CAD [computer aided dispatch] data. An officer is sent to a call and a body camera activates. We continue to trend upwards in that.

The reason I believe we continue to trend upwards is that cops realize these body-worn cameras are protecting them. I’ve had over 700 officers cleared in internal affairs. Somebody came in, made a complaint. The body-worn camera completely refuted what the complainant had said. There are a lot of benefits that our cops are seeing today and expect that that will continue to go up.

On the number of officer-involved shootings:

Since 2010, we’ve had these dramatic reductions for a number of years. Of course, the sheriff and I and our staff have been looking at why the rise. The good thing about these stories is that we don’t have these mistake-of-facts shootings. In other words, we shot somebody unarmed… we look at these incidents not only from the criminal perspective… but from an administrative perspective: was there something else that we could have done and not utilized deadly force. There is a number of those cases this year that are going through the administrative review and then the use of force board process.

The sheriff undertook some very serious messaging as these numbers continued to rise with the captains and the chiefs to get down that we’re understanding that the decision to pull the trigger is the last decision that we need to be making.

 

Guests

Kevin McMahill, undersheriff, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department