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New Clark County Sheriff will fight to hire more officers | News

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New Clark County Sheriff will fight to hire more officers
Photo credit: LVMPD

 LAS VEGAS -- Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo was sworn in as the new sheriff of Clark County Monday morning making him the seventh sheriff in Metro's history dating back to 1973.

"I'm ready for it, I'm excited, I'm happy, it's a little overwhelming but I'll get my feet on the ground," Lombardo said.

In November, he won the election with 51 percent of the vote. 

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie retired  after more than three decades with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Lombardo wasted no time in laying some of the problems he wants to fix at Metro. He says, the number of officers on valley streets is unacceptable to him and he will fight for the "more cops" tax again. It was one of his campaign promises, despite that his predecessor asked three times for the tax and was denied.

"We need additional funding in order to hire more police officers which is important. Our officers per 1,000 residents are at a deplorable rate," Sheriff Lombardo said.

He says Metro is one of the top 10 largest departments in the country but ranks close to 200 for the number of police officers per 1,000 residents it serves.

"Because of our staffing shortages, it's become a quagmire for lack of a better term, as far as investigating those crimes and doing quality, timely investigations," he said.

Lombardo says use of force by officers is another issue he'll watch closely. He says policy changes within the department and officer accountability have reduced deadly confrontations with suspects.

"We have had some exponential increase in discipline associated with that, which we've never had in the past," he said. "It's shown to change our culture."

Lombardo says he would like to see the department also get back to responding to non-injury car crashes.

"It is my intent to going back to handling minor vehicle accidents, but not in the immediate. We don't have the folks to do that, and that's the reason why we made the change in the first place."

Lombardo also plans to reorganize some of Metro's investigative sections which will result in faster investigations.


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