I-Team: Commissioner wants more cops after weekend's tragedy - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Commissioner wants more cops after weekend's tragedy

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LAS VEGAS -- At least one elected official wants Metro Police officers to get more training and resources after this weekend's tragic events.

County Commissioner Tom Collins thinks that a stronger budget for Metro Police might have prevented the shooting rampage that ended with five people dead.

What if anything could have prevented the Millers from carrying out their twisted agenda to ignite a revolution by killing cops and then dying in a blaze of gunfire?

Investigators might spend years trying to figure that out, but County Commissioner Tom Collins says there is no question that more resources would have made it more likely that the deranged killers would have popped up on someone's radar screen.

“In this case, a felon has been here since January. Did he register? Did we know about him? Is he packing guns? If the Bundy militia kicked him out, how come we don't know about him? Where are our resources so we can investigate these things?” Collins asked.

Collins isn't criticizing police. He is saying Metro needs help. Collins has long championed the More Cops initiative to raise sales tax revenue for more police officers, a proposal approved by voters years ago but rejected by his colleagues on the county commission, a board which has repeatedly said no to Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie.

The sheriff has argued that his forces are spread too thin after years of budget cuts, and that every time there is a major event requiring police presence, whether it is a massive music festival or a standoff, such as the Bundy ranch episode, resources have to be pulled out of neighborhoods.

Former sheriff Bill Young told the I-Team "cops count" and that "evidence proves more officers equals lower crime rates."

The announcement this week by Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo that all plain-clothes detectives will be pulled from their duties and put into uniform for the time being is proof, Collins says, that staffing is too thin. Those detectives would otherwise work on gang enforcement, anti-terror programs, and crime prevention. Similar redeployments happen too often Collins says.

“Then there are special events on the Strip or downtown, outlying resources of law enforcement and Metro are drawn into concentrated areas and you have a lack of service in other parts of the valley. That is not acceptable. We need more law enforcement. We need them now but it will take a year to get them to the longer we wait, the further we get behind in public safety needs,” Collins said.

Collins is sensitive to the timing of his request. He had already submitted paperwork to get the More Cops issue back before the County Commission but withdrew it at Metro's request to avoid the appearance of trying to exploit the tragic events of this week. Metro likewise declined to comment on the funding issue at this time.

“I postponed it now until let's get past this tragedy and let things settle down, get back to normal, and then pursue it again,” Collins said.

If the vote on More Cops were held now, in the wake of the shooting rampage, would the commission's decision be any different? When asked, Collins said, “I'm not a mind reader.”

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