Las Vegas sheriff candidate seems ill-informed on Strip security - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Las Vegas sheriff candidate seems ill-informed on Strip security

LAS VEGAS – The Baltimore Post-Examiner on April 24 was the first media outlet to report that MGM Resorts International hired retired Las Vegas SWAT officers to be part of a special security emergency response team and as trainers on MGMRI owned properties.

MGMRI are the owners of the Mandalay Bay Hotel where on October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock fired over one-thousand rounds of ammunition out of his room windows onto a crowd of helpless Route 91 Music Festival concert-goers, killing 58 and wounding hundreds of others.

Shortly after the BPE story broke, local Las Vegas media outlets followed up on the story which prompted MGMRI to issue a statement which confirmed the story.

In response to that retired North Las Vegas Police Department Lt. Tim Bedwell, who is a candidate running against incumbent Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo in the upcoming June primary election released a statement on Friday.

The Sheriff of Clark County, Nevada runs the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Bedwell said that the latest move by MGMRI shows that the resort community has lost confidence that the LVMPD can protect the Las Vegas Strip.

Bedwell said, “MGM created a quasi-SWAT team in an apparent effort to convince the public their properties are safe.” “This is a terrible message to send when what Las Vegas really needs is police leadership it trusts to protect them.”  “I understand why a Strip property would feel the need for such an extraordinary step, but it is the wrong remedy for this problem.”  “Metro has ample resources to make the right changes to address the need for Strip safety using real police officers with real police authority and capabilities.  This is not amateur hour.  The people of Clark County must demand that public safety is left to full time police officers, not security guards.

Bedwell let me bring some facts to your attention.

The primary responsibility for the safety and security of guests and employees on any Las Vegas Strip hotel/casino property are the security forces of those individual properties.  The security forces are the first responders to all emergencies and calls for assistance that originate on their respective properties.

The LVMPD responds to calls for assistance by security personnel when requested however it is not the responsibility of the LVMPD or any other police department for that matter to be the protection force for private corporations.

Bedwell, I do not believe as you stated that that the Las Vegas resort community has lost confidence in the LVMPD.  That statement appears to be self-serving to your political ambition.

The actions of LVMPD police officers saved numerous lives on the night of October 1.

The October 1 tragedy was preventable and foreseeable, MGMRI had no security measures in place to prevent it even after years of warnings, active shooters and terrorist incidents in this country.  As a matter of fact, a threat assessment would have uncovered the lapses in Mandalay Bay security prior to Paddock’s attack.

Since 1973 when the LVMPD was formed the men and women of the police department have done an outstanding job protecting hundreds of millions of tourists over the years who have visited Las Vegas.  The LVMPD always had a close working relationship with Strip security departments and was the first police department in the country to form a specialized tourist crimes unit.

Bedwell there are no security guards working for any Strip property that I know off.  We have security officers, not guards as you have referred to them in your statement.  I don’t consider what security officers do as “amateur hour.”  There is also nothing amateurish about the dangers private security officers face daily.

I have been out of the industry for over five years. During my tenure as a security director, I worked with many security professionals in Las Vegas.  Men and women who were proud of what they were doing.

Years ago, here in Las Vegas, we started to get away from the stereotyped “security guard” and moved forward by making the security profession even better.  As with any profession, there is always room for improvement, but everyday security officers in Las Vegas protect guests, employees, and property.

Security officers can and do make arrests under the Nevada citizen arrest statute and have the authority to detain persons under Nevada law for certain crimes.  Thousands of arrests, including felony arrests have been made throughout the years by hotel security officers.

Because of your lack of experience in dealing with Las Vegas Strip properties Bedwell, you may not have known that.

In February 1998 a Tropicana Hotel security officer was fatally shot in the back by while performing his duties.  As the gunman was leaving the scene he fired one more shot into the security officers back.

In October 2013 two Bally’s security officers were shot and a guest who tried to subdue the gunman was killed.

On Dec. 30, 2017, Arizona Charlie’s Security Officers, LaTosha White and Philip Archuleta were killed after responding to a disturbance call in a room.

I fail to see anything amateurish about security officers being killed in the line of duty.

I cannot speak for any other property but while I was the Director of Security and Surveillance at the then Riviera Hotel and Casino, in a six-year period my team of security officers trespassed over 6,000 persons and arrested nearly 900 persons, many for felonies that included robbery, grand larceny, and burglary.  I remember the night that one of my bike patrol officers was shot at, at point-blank range, chasing an armed robbery suspect.  The bullet by the grace of God missed him. The story was featured in a segment of the TV show Cops.

On two separate occasions, security officers and supervisors were recognized as “Security Professionals of the Month” by the Las Vegas Security Chief’s Association, for their actions during two separate violent crimes.

I couldn’t count how many times my team saved the lives of guests and employees using their trained skills in CPR and the use of the AED.

I don’t see anything amateurish about any Vegas property hiring former SWAT officers and or military personnel to either be a part of an emergency response team and or to train other security personnel in how to respond to an active shooter and neutralize and or suppress the gunman until the police arrive to back up security.

Most active shooter incidents are over in a matter of minutes and many before the police arrive.  Every second that goes by means more bodies on the ground.

What MGMRI is doing is something that should have been done years ago on all Vegas properties, however, I cannot fault them for doing it now.  It was a reaction to the October 1 tragedy.

There should be on every security shift 24/7, at all Vegas properties, at the very least a small group of trained armed officers who can react should an active shooter incident occur on their property. It’s all about saving lives and yes it could very wellBedwell be the remedy for something that may occur in the future.

Bedwell I just cannot figure out why you would be against any security measure that may save lives.  You state in your bio that you oversaw security at U.S. embassies while in the U.S. Marine Corps.  You should know then the value of having trained armed on-site security personnel in repelling an armed attacker.

I will go one step further and say it should be an industry standard.

For years casino moguls and other casino executives in Las Vegas have had armed protection details consisting of former police officers and military personnel, and MGMRI is no exception.

It’s about time that MGMRI executives finally realized that the lives of their guests and employees are just as precious as their own and are now taking the safety and security of others more seriously.

It’s a little too late for the 58 people who died on October 1, 2017, but it is a step in the right direction.

The June primary election for Clark County Sheriff is fast approaching.

To date, none of the Las Vegas media organizations have yet to host a debate with the candidates for sheriff before the June primary.  I for one would like to see a debate by those candidates vying for the position of the highest law enforcement officer in the county.  Controversial Sheriff Joe Lombardo has plenty of questions to answer and I am wondering if that is why there are no debates scheduled.

Never forget those who died on October 1, 2017, and all the others who were wounded and survived the attack in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

It should never have happened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug authored over 135 articles on the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre, more than any other single journalist in the country. He investigates stories on corruption, law enforcement and crime. Doug is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former police officer, deputy sheriff and criminal investigator. Doug spent 20 years in the hotel/casino industry as an investigator and then as Director of Security and Surveillance. He also spent a short time with the US Dept. of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration. In 1986 Doug was awarded Criminal Investigator of the Year by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. In 1992 and 1993 Doug testified in court that a sheriff’s office official and the county prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence during the 1988 trial of a man accused of the attempted murder of his wife. Doug’s testimony led to a judge’s decision to order the release of the man from prison in 1992 and awarded him a new trial, in which he was later acquitted. As a result of Doug breaking the police “blue wall of silence,” he was fired by the county sheriff. His story was featured on Inside Edition, Current Affair and CBS News’ “Street Stories with Ed Bradley”. In 1992 after losing his job, at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Doug infiltrated a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont fortune heir and his wife. Doug has been a guest on national television and radio programs speaking on the stories he now writes as an investigative journalist. Contact the author.
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