Clark County’s top cop addressed the Las Vegas LGBT community Wednesday. Sheriff Joe Lombardo was the guest speaker at the Lambda Business Association’s annual meeting.
Police and members of the LGBT community have had a tenuous relationship in Las Vegas over the years, but those days are long gone.
Lombardo says police agencies all over the country are changing the way they serve the public. He says Metro “woke up” and saw the need to change sooner than many other cities.
Lombardo’s speech marks the first time an elected sheriff has directly addressed the LGBT community. The significance of the day was not lost on the sheriff.
“I have all the respect in the world for the previous sheriffs, and I don’t know the circumstances of if they were invited, but that’s neither here nor there,” he said. “The important part is that I was here to address the group, and I think it’s important for them to feel comfortable with law enforcement, which has not been the case in history. Law enforcement has to progress like everybody else in how we deal with people on a daily basis.”
Sheriff Lombardo answered questions about how transgender inmates are housed in jails and how he liked using the unisex restroom during the luncheon.
The latter question got a laugh, and so did the sheriff’s response when he said it was no big deal.
Metro Police had recruiters on-hand at the event for those interested in careers in law enforcement. Lombardo says Metro recruits quarterly at the LGBT Center.
He says he wants the department to better represent all groups in the community.