EXCLUSIVE: Las Vegas Police told businesses prior to October 1 massacre that they would have to fend for themselves during first 12 minutes of an attack

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LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told several major corporations that they would have to fend for themselves for the first 12 to 15 minutes if an active shooter was on the premises, according to documents obtained by the Baltimore Post-Examiner.

That statement was made on November 1, 2016, during the Peace Officers Standards and Training public meeting conducted by The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock needed only 10 minutes to kill 58 people and injure several hundred more during the worst mass shooting in the U.S. history on October 1, 2017. That didn’t have to happen if businesses were trained on what to do during an active shooter situation.

Retired LVMPD Deputy Chief Gary Scofield, who is now the US Marshal for the District of Nevada, and LVMPD Sgt. Frank Clarkson and LVMPD Officer Dean Hennesy attended that meeting.

Clarkson and Hennesy are with the LVMPD MACTAC (Multiple Assault Counter Terrorism Action Capability) section.

Hennesy said at the meeting, “We do presentations to large companies, pretty much anybody who wants them and the reason behind this is, there is that 12-minute gap between when these calls come in and law enforcement can respond to them, that they have to fend for themselves, but we want to give them the best chance to fend for themselves and prepare for us to come and we want to give these presentations.  …Go bags is something that we need from those businesses, the casinos here in town.  MJ, Bellagio, any of them down there.”

Hennesy said that the LVMPD started MACTAC late 2009, early 2010 as a way to mitigate any kind of terrorist incident that will happen in the Las Vegas Valley.

“We realized, especially after 9/11 which happened on the East Coast that, you know, we shut down a little bit, so we could withstand a 96-hour standoff in a hotel.  So not only was it just a Metro thing but we went to L.A. and met with a couple of their agencies out there, LAPD, LASO, Orange County and things like that and got some ideas from them.  I’m not ashamed to tell you we kind of stole their name, the MACTAC name from Chief Bratton.  He came up with it and we thought it sounded pretty good so we kind of stole that name from him.  But, when we got back here, the first thing that we knew is that this could not be just the Las Vegas Metro Police program.  All right? We are the big dog on the block, so to speak, down here, and we have the most bodies to throw at things if we need to.  However, if there was a major incident and it was a true multiple assault and we look at that worst-case scenario so, say it’s a multiple assault by a terrorist organization or other organization, Metro Assault is going to run out of resources pretty quickly.  So, we decided that, since we don’t want this to be just a Metro program, we needed to involve everyone else in the valley, so we went to all the other state holders, all the other law enforcement agencies in the valley and went to them and said, look, this is the program we’re going to push out,” Hennesy said.

Officer’s response from rally point to the scene

Hennesy: “So testing, kind of separate to Metro, we have in-the-box squads, we have stay-at-home-squads.  We test our in-the-box squads.  We do notice tests on them.  When we first started it, we were looking at, what do we do to get the officers from rally point to get them here up at the [inaudible] whatever the mission calls for, give them a good briefing so they’re all on the same page and they know exactly what the mission is at hand and can they get there.  We are looking at 30 minutes, right?  Figuring the commands and all of this.  Well, this last summer, we took that all the way down to 12 to 15 minutes and that’s 12 to 15 minutes from the onset of the call to when we can get officers to a rally point, gear, in the proper gear for that mission, give good, solid briefings so they know what’s going on and then get them out to the call and ready to leave.  We’ve really stepped it up and then had some good timing on those.”

Training with fire personnel for response to an incident      

Hennesy: “This year’s Rescue Task Force, which we work with all the local fire departments here in the Valley as well. We’d like to get that pushed out, definitely statewide, if not further.  But that is a collaboration with the fire department here.  We will actually take the fire department into the situation even if the assailant has not stopped yet.  We have some protocols here in place before it can be implemented but we are getting them in there faster, so we can save lives which is the bottom line of what we do. You guys are fairly well aware that protocols across the country are usually the firemen are pulled short to wait until SWAT comes in.  It could take hours.  We don’t want to do that.  We looked at Aurora, Colorado and a couple of other places and said, hey, we need to get you guys in quicker.  What can we do to get you in there?  We came up with this Rescue Task Force.”

Radio communication interoperability with other agencies

On June 19 the Baltimore Post-Examiner published, Las Vegas police officer says proper equipment could have saved lives night of October 1 massacre.’  In that story, I quoted Las Vegas Sgt. M. Ruiz officer’s report: “In response to communication issues, it is my belief the event should have been transferred to a mutual aid channel, where every assisting agency would have access.”

The reason I am bringing this up again is because of what Officer Hennesy said during that November 1, 2016 meeting, “We talked communication.  In fact, the radio channels that we’ve got, our new radio system.  We talked about the SNACC system and NCORE.  How are we going to talk to each other?”

I have said in numerous articles that I have authored for the Baltimore Post-Examiner on the October 1 massacre, well over 100 to date, that the US Department of Homeland Security recommended to critical infrastructure during their seminars for years after the 9/11 attacks, that private security teams should have armed personnel trained to respond to active shooter incidents on their property to neutralize and or at the very least to suppress the gunman’s gunfire until law enforcement arrives to minimize the loss of the life.

This goes hand-in-hand with the LVMPD’s statement that businesses will have to fend for themselves for at least the first 12 minutes of an active shooter incident.

Eleven months after that November 1 public meeting, the worst mass shooting in modern American history occurred on the Las Vegas Strip.  Remember 58 people were murdered, over 400 sustained gunshot wounds, and thousands of others suffered other physical and emotional injuries.

One thought on “EXCLUSIVE: Las Vegas Police told businesses prior to October 1 massacre that they would have to fend for themselves during first 12 minutes of an attack

  • March 6, 2019 at 5:19 PM

    Congratulations to Doug Poppa for his coverage of the Las Vegas Massacre. He seems to be the only person keeping the story alive while other agencies have dropped the ball. His coverage of the Sheriff has been phenomenal and have brought to light many unanswered questions. Kudos on his writings. I am proud to not only know Doug but have worked under him at one of the Las Vegas Hotels.

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