LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo running for governor, there will be a new sheriff in town leading the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 2022.
Former Undersheriff Kevin McMahill and the former assistant sheriff and current Republican Assem. Tom Roberts both announced they are in the race to take Metro’s top spot.
The department is one of the country’s largest, employing nearly 6,000 people.
McMahill began his career with Metro in 1990 and was appointed as undersheriff by former Sheriff Doug Gillespie in 2014. He continued in that role under Lombardo until he retired in December.
Roberts, an Air Force veteran, joined Metro in 1993 and became an assistant sheriff in 2015. He was first elected to the Nevada Assembly, representing northwest Clark County, in 2018.
8 News Now’s John Langeler interviewed both McMahill and Roberts for Saturday’s “Politics Now” on a variety of topics, including police accountability and public access.
Right now, Metro is its own investigatory agency when it comes to officer-involved shootings and other incidents. In other states, an attorney general’s office or outside panel will investigate those events.
Roberts said it is important to have an outside agency look in, but also said Metro learns a lot from investigating itself.
“There’s a lot of corrections and adjustments that are made to department policies and training that we find in real-time when we do those investigations ourselves,” Roberts said.
McMahill said Metro is a model when it comes to accountability.
“I’ve never shied away from scrutiny as to what it is what we do,” he said. “We hold an awesome power as police officers. We have the ability to take somebody’s life and all of our officers sign up knowing that that scrutiny is going to be intense and I think we need to continue to do that.”
When it comes to public access, both men said they would work on what Metro is already doing.
“The community doesn’t really feel connected oftentimes to the police department and I think we’re better at it than most,” McMahill said. “But one of the things I’m really going to focus in on is that authentic community relationship building.”
Roberts said one way to get more community involvement is open daily briefings.
“I think you should open that to the public and you should have those meetings in your community so that you can get actual real-time feedback, not only from your police officers that patrol the streets, but the community you serve,” he said.
Lombardo, who is running for governor as a Republican, has endorsed McMahill but has also said nice things about Roberts. The race is not until next year.
Watch “Politics Now” on Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. on 8 News Now.