I-Team: Assistant Sheriff Retires from Metro After 32 Years - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Assistant Sheriff Retires from Metro After 32 Years

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Ray Flynn's Metro academy class in 1980. Ray Flynn's Metro academy class in 1980.
Ray Flynn, accompanied by his wife and other family members, receives a Medal of Honor for his role in dealing with an armed suspect. Ray Flynn, accompanied by his wife and other family members, receives a Medal of Honor for his role in dealing with an armed suspect.
Flynn and his partner Danko. Flynn and his partner Danko.

LAS VEGAS -- A member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's top brass is scheduled to retire Friday, after more than three decades on the job.

Assistant Sheriff Ray Flynn may not be a household name but his impact on the police department certainly rivals that of those with higher profiles. He's helped catch bad guys, shape policy and investigate controversial incidents. He's done it all, he said, with a single goal to make the community safer.

After 32 years and seven months as a member of the Metro Police Department, only a hint of Flynn's New York accent remains. He claims it was teased out of him by training officers who demanded his passport.

"I learned real quickly, when in Rome, do what the Romans do," Flynn said.

When his home state wasn't hiring in 1980, the kid who always wanted to be a cop answered his calling in southern Nevada. Metro told him if he could get here in four days, he had a job.

"It was the craziest thing I ever did. I gave my bosses three days notice, bought a plane ticket and came out here and it's been a phenomenal roller coaster ride ever since," he said.

During his first year, Flynn worked foot patrol on Fremont Street where communications happened by a call box with a rotary phone. From the beat to the bark, Flynn became Metro's first McGruff, the crime dog, and later a K-9 officer with a four-footed partner named Danko.

Then in 1987, as a patrol sergeant on the graveyard shift, the then father of three, now four, attended another delivery. This one in the backseat of a 1968 Rambler.

"A woman starts yelling frantically, 'help, help. My daughter's going to have a baby.' We weren't trained to deliver babies, but we were trained to make people feel safe," Flynn said.

Making people safe has been Flynn's life's work, whether as a swat commander, a hostage negotiator, or as a member of the executive staff for three of the five sheriffs he's served.

Even the bad guys got Flynn's consideration. For example, the hostage taker he talked out of a bank for a big gulp and a hug.

"One thing you learn as a hostage negotiator is keep your word and he was not going to get in that patrol car until he had the chance to hug me. So I'm surrounded by all these SWAT guys that are going to protect me if anything goes wrong but I did hug him.

Flynn's Metro career has evolved with the department from a small town police force to one of the 10 largest police departments in the country. 

"When I look back, it was almost like the Old West compared with where we are today. We've had phenomenal growth. When I hired on, we had 800 or some odd employees, today we're over 5,000."

Though Flynn is reluctant to take credit for much of anything, his boss and friend Sheriff Doug Gillespie searches for the right words to express Flynn's contributions.

"I'm going to miss Ray. For 32 years and seven months he has lived and breathed the LVMPD and keeping this community safe and you just don't replace that," Sheriff Gillespie said.

Flynn leaves Metro with scrapbooks of history filled with presidents, celebrities and lots and lots of fellow officers. Flynn retires Friday with the same enthusiasm he felt on the day he became a Metro police officer.

"I've got great memories and it's time to enter another chapter of my life."

Flynn tells the I-Team he plans to take some time off and travel with his wife Linda. After that, he hopes to resume teaching the next generation of law enforcement. That will not however be the end of the Flynn legacy at Metro. His son joined the department eight years ago.

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