LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Metro Police are responding to the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis. Undersheriff Christopher Darcy says he believes the jury held the former police officer accountable.
Now, the focus in Las Vegas turns to Metro and its ongoing efforts to improve how officers interact with the local community.
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“It brought tears to my eyes, where I couldn’t stop crying,” said Rev. Leonard Jackson, describing his reaction to the verdict, nearly one year after the death of George Floyd. “This is true justice.”
Jackson is the executive director of Faith Organizing Alliance, one of several community partners that work with Metro. To achieve justice in Las Vegas, he stresses collaboration with LVMPD is incredibly important.
“We will stand and assure that the law is changed, that we enforce the proposed changes and that positive change will take place,” Jackson said.
Metro addressed the verdict during a late afternoon press conference on Tuesday.
“There is no environment on this police department for an officer like Derek Chauvin,” said Darcy. He says it is crucial to keep police in check.
Changes were made to Metro’s Use of Force policies last year, before Floyd’s death. Those include prohibiting chokeholds, providing more de-escalation training and mandating officers intervene if another officer uses improper force.
Darcy says the Chauvin trial is opening the door to even more potential improvements.
“It gives us an opportunity to look inward and look at other policies and think, ‘Is there some other area maybe where we’re not looking at that we can make those changes?” he explained.
Law enforcement advocates hope the verdict assures the public that bad apples in local police agencies will be caught.
“The ones that are bad are held accountable. We want bad cops found just as much as the citizens do,” said Steve Grammas, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association.
Rick McCann, executive director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers added, “We believe that there’s always a way to improve what we do. What we don’t like is for people just to blame cops.”
Jackson says community involvement will make a difference.
“Positive change will take place with our support,” he said.
Metro says another way it hopes to improve as a department is by hiring more diverse officers, to better reflect our community.