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Las Vegas Criminal Defense

Achieving Real Police Reform in Nevada


With all the discussion of police reform these days, it’s worth homing in on what the real work behind such reforms might look like.  Police are empowered to do their jobs through various laws on the books, which in turn lead to the creation of policies in police departments across the state of Nevada. So what’s it going to take to see real change?

Previous Efforts at Police Reform 

Ever since the first viral video-recorded police killing of Oscar Grant in 2009, the public has attempted to facilitate meaningful change in police departments across the country.  Petitions have sought to get government officials to demand outside investigators look into deaths at the hand of law enforcement. Marchers have brought the focus of the nation to issues related to police brutality, transparency, and accountability.  Awareness and money to fight for justice for victims of police impropriety has been raised by the Black Lives Matter movement. States across the country have worked to change laws on these fronts.  Still, nationwide change seems elusive.  Knowing that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is ranked number six in the nation for police homicides makes the question more relevant than ever here in Nevada. How can we improve community policing? 

Collaborative Effort 

For starters, effective change will be hard to achieve without input from all stakeholders. While there are those who wish to condemn police for tactics with which they disagree, and others who defend the actions of anyone in a uniform, opposing groups simply must find a way to work together for the good of the community.  A cooperative effort will require compromise in the name of positive outcomes.

Examine and Consider Changing Current Statutes 

Any laws related to policing should be studied with an eye toward improving regulations related to police immunity in the face of misconduct, unnecessary secrecy related to law enforcement transgressions, and appropriate use of force. 

Revamp Training Methods and Goals 

While training that emphasizes the safety of officers makes sense, training that minimizes the safety of the public deserves scrutiny.  Particularly in cases involving mental health issues, police training should give officers the tools they need to effectively deescalate situations and save lives. So, too, standards involving use of force, including everything from when to use Tasers, pepper spray, and firearms, to effective take-down and arrest methods, should be evaluated based on effectiveness, community impacts, and officer safety.

Effectively Screen Applicants 

While applicants for law enforcement jobs undergo extensive background checks and psychological reviews, we know that it is often difficult, if not impossible, to obtain records related to previous instances of misconduct.

Fixing What’s Broken 

Effecting change is going to require police departments to let down their guard as they partner with teams invested in the public good to establish policies and practices that improve outcomes for both the public and the police.  In the meanwhile, if you find yourself questioning the way you or a loved one was treated by local police, the experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at Lobo Law have your back.  Contact our office today to schedule a confidential consultation.

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