WATCH THE FULL BRIEFING BELOW:
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Sheriff Joe Lombardo and District Attorney Steve Wolfson held a news briefing Wednesday to address the COVID-19 epidemic and how police and the DA’s office are handling crime issues.
“This is a difficult and unsettling time but not a time to panic. Let me assure you Southern Nevada is safe,” said Sheriff Lombardo. “Our cops are still out on the streets and dispatchers are still taking calls, and our detention officers are still hard at work at the jail.”
He also pointed out that there hasn’t been any spike in crime.
“A few areas are slightly up and a few are slightly down. Our calls for service have decreased 5%.”
Lombardo said LVMPD has received calls and questions from the public regarding how crimes are being handled. He said several measures are in place to protect the community and police officers.
He said no LVMPD or Clark County Detention Center employees have tested positive for coronavirus. However, three inmates with symptoms were removed from the detention center, one who is currently being treated at UMC for the virus. The two others are in isolation.
In an effort to keep the inmate population safe from the virus some steps are being taken.
“We have also suspended arrests for misdemeanor traffic bench warrants along with arrests for child support warrants.”
Sheriff Lombardo is also directing officers to use discretion when making misdemeanor arrests except in the cases of DUI and domestic violence.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson pointed out that although the district court has suspended jury trials, members of his staff are working and have had to re-prioritize cases to focus first on the serious violent crimes. Some of the lesser crime cases will be delayed.
“Nobody should see this as an opportunity to do harm to other,” he said. “If you choose to disobey the law, there will be consequences.”
With the closure of hotels and casinos along Las Vegas Boulevard, Lombardo said that has allowed him to move officers to other areas including providing additional security for businesses that have had a rush of customers and to food distribution sites.
Metro officers are also enforcing that nonessential businesses remain closed per the Governor Steve Sisolak’s order.
“A vast number of businesses have readily adhered to the directive.”
Metro has responded to 181 calls about nonessential businesses operating. Lombardo said they issued 41 letters of notice to businesses, seven businesses who opted not to close received suspensions and four others were cited for not have a proper business license.