Recently retired Metro Deputy Chief Matt McCarthy said it hurts when people accuse the department he served for 25 years of ineptitude or worse in connection with the Oct. 1 Strip mass shooting.
McCarthy, who took a long-planned retirement several weeks after the shooting, told State of Nevada that ill-informed critics “don’t understand the facts and don’t want to understand the facts” regarding the worst mass shooting in modern American history.
Conspiracy theories started spreading immediately after gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on a concert crowd, killing 58 and wounding hundreds.
Some said police ignored evidence of a second assailant and others contended the attack was somehow related to palace intrigue in Saudi Arabia. No evidence has surfaced supporting the allegations.
“When officers hear people say they’re incompetent, and they’ve never walked in those shoes, it bothers them,” McCarthy said. “These are men and women who go out every single day doing a job that very few people want to do.”
McCarthy, who sits on the board of the Metro Foundation, said his highest concern is the well-being of the department’s officers and civilian employees.
He said regular training ensured a coordinated tactical response to any mass-casualty incident but not what would happen in the days after.
You knew “they would respond professionally, but emotionally, how would they respond?” he said.
About 1,000 Metro employees have sought counseling since the attack, and McCarthy credited the department’s workplace culture for the willingness to ask for help.
“If you don’t have a healthy mind and a healthy workforce you’re not going to have healthy work,” he said.
McCarthy said he initially planned to retire to a life of golf and camping, but a longtime intertest in politics led him to run for Assembly instead.
He said dealing with troubled individuals during his police career showed him the state is “just not hitting the mark” in its treatment of the mentally ill.
McCarthy is running for the District 23 Assembly seat in southern Clark County held by Melissa Woodbury, who declined to run for re-election. He faces Boulder City resident Glen Leavitt in the Republican primary.
Matt McMcarthy, 25-year Metro veteran