Clark County Sheriff Bill Young Speaks With Eyewitness News - 8 News NOW

George Knapp, Investigative Reporter

Clark County Sheriff Bill Young Speaks With Eyewitness News

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Sheriff Bill Young at KLAS-TV, May 9, 2006 Sheriff Bill Young at KLAS-TV, May 9, 2006
Sheriff Young talks exclusively with George Knapp. Sheriff Young talks exclusively with George Knapp.

Sheriff Bill Young Will Not Run

Read Sheriff Bill Young's Announcement

It was an emotional decision for Clark County Sheriff Bill Young, who made it apparent in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News Tuesday afternoon.

Sheriff Bill Young was elected four years ago and as a veteran police officer, he made it clear from the beginning that he would only serve one term.

This past year has been wrenching for Young, who buried two family members and then witnessed the tragic loss of fellow Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Sergeant Henry Prendes.

Then on Tuesday, in a surprise move, the sheriff said he will call it quits next year. In his only television interview about the decision, Sheriff Young sat down with the I-Team's George Knapp to explain.

If Bill Young sounds cavalier about leaving Metro after 28 years, chalk it up to him being a guy. The decision wasn't easy, wasn't made on a whim, and has been building for months. After his election nearly four years ago, Young told his staff that he would be a one-term sheriff, and no one believed him. Even though he's been preparing for a re-election campaign, he's confided to friends his second thoughts about the downside.

"I love the job, Young said in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News. "I love metro. I hate the politics, and I’m not very good at it."

In addition to living in a media fishbowl, working long hours, missing time with his family and friends, and not having much of a personal life anymore, Young says three things happened to remind him of his own mortality and the passage of time.

Last year, his mother and uncle were killed in a car crash, which crushed him. He turned 50 this year, a milestone birthday for anyone. And he was deeply affected when Sgt. Prendes, someone he hired and knew, was gunned down. Young went to the scene.

"I pulled back his yellow sheet and looked at him and said, this job ain't fun anymore and it hasn't been since that day," Young explained. "Two weeks later I hit 50, the retirement date and I said it's time."

Even so, Young might have run again if he didn't have someone in place to take over Metro when he's gone. He says he finally convinced his undersheriff Doug Gillespie to run for the office and thinks Gillespie is better qualified for the job than himself. The sheriff knows that some people simply won't believe that he would walk away from a job like his voluntarily. Other little known candidates for the job have been telling people they've got some kind of dirt on Young. The sheriff says that's baloney.

"I'm an open book," Young explained. "There's nothing out there other than made-up political crap. People know me, and what I stand for. I'm not perfect. Nah, nothing, it's just time."

Young says he's had several job offers but he has not yet made a formal decision on what he will do other than work hard for the next eight months and finish out his term. His mind is made up, but it's still an emotional moment for him.

"I'd love to tell the people of Las Vegas, thanks for a good four years."

Click here to email Investigative Reporter George Knapp

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