LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Humanity was a word that Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill mentioned several times during his State of the Department address Wednesday morning as he spoke about changes he is working on at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
“This is about injecting humanity in the way that we treat one another because if we don’t get it right internally, we are never going to get it right externally,” he said. “We have to change the way we act and react.”
McMahill said George Floyd or Tyre Nichols’ deaths wouldn’t have happened if there was humanity.
He said a lot of good officers have tried to do good work policing “problem” neighborhoods but for the most part, not much has changed. But McMahill said there were changes in a few neighborhoods, such as Sportsman’s Royal Manor near Tropicana Avenue and Boulder Highway.
“Now, we never talk about Sportsman’s Manor. There’s almost no crime down there. We didn’t do it by arresting our way out of the problem, we did it by investing and injecting humanity into those neighborhoods.”
In the future, McMahill said areas once referred to with terms such as “chronic problem, persistent hot spots, and high crime” neighborhoods are really “vulnerable” neighborhoods, and that is how he will reference them.
“We are going to find ways to reimagine how it is that we police to be far more effective to keep these vulnerable communities safe and to reduce the violent crime in our neighborhoods.”
But the department faces challenges, especially when it comes to recruiting. McMahill said Metro started off the year with 300 unfilled, budgeted positions.
“The bottom line is you need cops to fight crime,” he said.
The upcoming graduation of an academy should cut that number nearly in half, but there has been a 70% drop in the number of people applying to work for Metro.
“Who wants to be a police officer when you could be a firefighter and never deal with any of this stuff?”
McMahill said his start as sheriff started with 11 murders during his first 11 days on the job, and he found himself waking up wondering when in the “hell is this going to stop.”
He said, fortunately, all but one of them have been solved and he’s committed to reducing violent crimes.