Las Vegas casinos are in bed with the police - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Las Vegas casinos are in bed with the police

LAS VEGAS: While the LVMPD and the FBI are jointly involved in the investigation of Stephen Paddock, delving into every aspect of his personal life to find out why he committed the worst mass shooting in United States history, there is another group of investigators also working feverishly but not for the same reasons as the police or the FBI.

They are the corporate investigators, whose numbers are many in Las Vegas and who are employed by the gaming industry to protect corporate interests and assets, specifically when it comes to possible civil litigation.

Throughout the city, employed by the corporations who run Las Vegas gambling and hotel establishments are many retired law enforcement officers from the ranks of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies.

Grant Ashley, who led the FBI’s Las Vegas office for several years was vice president in charge of security for Harrah’s Entertainment from 2006 thru 2008.

The relationship between the LVMPD and the hotel and casino industry in Las Vegas is extremely tight. Not one day goes by in Las Vegas where police are not interacting with the private security forces employed by the hotels and casinos. Las Vegas has every type of tourist crime imaginable from pickpockets to room burglars to armed robberies and murder.

Many of the crimes that occur on casino properties never make it to the public’s attention. Casinos go to great lengths to keep the crime that occurs on their property tight-lipped.

Some high-ranking officials of the LVMPD once their careers are over, obtain very lucrative positions in the gaming industry making incomes far more exceeding their police retirement pension, which isn’t too shabby.

The LVMPD is one of the highest paid police departments in the nation.

The sheriff of Clark County, Nevada is an elected official, a politician, who runs the LVMPD.   These sheriffs are elected in no small part by the influence and money of the casino owners, backed up by endorsement from the outgoing sheriff.

An outsider has little to no chance of getting elected sheriff in Clark County, Nevada and neither does any other LVMPD official without the backing and support of the incumbent sheriff.

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours; politics and law enforcement make a terrible combination, not only in Las Vegas but across the nation.

When former Clark County Sheriff Jerry Keller decided not to run for another term in 2003, he supported Bill Young who was elected sheriff. When Young decided he wasn’t running for another term in 2007, he supported Doug Gillespie who was elected. When Gillespie decided he wasn’t going to run for another term in 2014 he supported Joe Lombardo, who was elected.

When Jerry Keller called it quits in 2003 he later became head of security at Wynn Resorts. Bill Young when he left office, became corporate vice president of security for Station Casinos.

Tom Lozich, a retired deputy chief of the LVMPD was the executive director of security and surveillance for MGM Grand Resorts International for several years.

Former LVMPD detectives are on the payroll as corporate investigators for MGMRI and are involved in the investigation of the Mandalay Bay shooting.

Two former LVMPD officials and one retired FBI agent also ran corporate security for MGM over the years. In the late 1990’s the MGM hired former legendary Las Vegas Sheriff, Ralph Lamb as a temporary special consultant.

Kirk Kerkorian, the owner of MGM before he passed away, employed former LVMPD officers as his personal bodyguards.

Greg McCurdy, who was an assistant sheriff under then Gillespie retired in 2013 and became vice president of corporate security for the SLS Las Vegas, the luxury hotel and casino that replaced the Sahara Hotel.

McGurdy was the third assistant sheriff to retire at the LVMPD in 2013. Assistant sheriff, Ray Flynn who oversaw the 911 communications center and the records bureau abruptly resigned in the summer of 2013, as did assistant sheriff Ted Moody

Up and down the Las Vegas Strip the private sector employs former local law enforcement officers. Former police officers have inside connections, favors owed, familiarity with the local environment, and access to information, all a plus to the corporate bosses now signing their paychecks.

In a city that survives on billions of dollars annually from tourism, the massacre that happened on Oct. 1 of this year has both casino owners and city officials worried about the financial impact that may have on Las Vegas.

MGM Resorts International must be concerned about the civil repercussions of the Mandalay Bay shooting. Opening checkbooks and signing checks to deter a long legal battle is something they may do in the future. That decision may not sit too well with shareholders.

Last year Las Vegas casinos earned about $1 billion on $25 billion in revenue, according to public financial records. That’s a 4 percent  return on investment, which is the typical return for grocery stores – which are notorious for slim profit margins.

With the Paddock attack aftermath, Las Vegas could see a dramatic decrease in revenue and increase in costs that could push the industry to the brink of bankruptcy.

Right now, the stakes are high in Las Vegas and when the stakes are high, anything goes.


About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 40 years of experience. In 1986 Mr. Poppa was awarded “Criminal Investigator of the Year” by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. He was also re-assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Narcotics Enforcement Task Force for 18 months. In 1991 and again in 1992 Mr. Poppa’s testimony under oath in court led to the discovery that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense by the prosecutor and sheriff’s office officials during the 1988 trial of a man accused of attempted murder of his wife that led to his conviction. As a result of his testimony the man was ordered released from prison, given a new trial in 1992 and found not guilty. Mr. Poppa became the subject of local and national news media attention as a result of his testimony which led to the demise of his 12-year police career. After losing his job, at the request of the FBI, Mr. Poppa infiltrated in an undercover capacity a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont Chemical fortune heir and his wife in 1992. His stories have been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories with Ed Bradley. Contact the author.
COMMENT POLICY
  • Alleged-Comment

    When you make your money by gambling you are not going to attract people with integrity, know what I’m saying?

  • daniel lee morgan

    Sounds like the mob never left?

  • Red Pill

    “Las Vegas casinos are in bed with the police”…. how about

    Las Vegas casinos own the police. follow the money.
    no casinos= no police & no Las Vegas.

    • old harry

      Best reply yet! Lie to the public and keep those dollars rolling in ..

  • Dick Tracy

    I would like to see them work this hard to protect America’s interests and not just corporate interests. I would like to see them WORK for justice.

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