Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 | 7:12 p.m.
Metro Police Capt. Larry Burns kicked off his campaign for sheriff Saturday in front of more than 1,300 supporters.
The Bolden Area Command captain addressed the crowd clad in “Team Burns” and “Elect Larry Burns” T-shirts for more than 20 minutes, emphasizing his dedication to community involvement. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and former Metro Sheriff Jerry Keller also provided their support, endorsing Burns at the rally at Police Memorial Park near Cheyenne Avenue and Hualapai Way.
It was the turnout Burns, 55, had hoped for as he begins fundraising efforts to introduce himself to the rest of the Las Vegas Valley.
“I was hopeful. We bought food and drinks for 1,000 people, and 2 1/2 hours later it was all gone,” Burns said. “My heart was warmed by what I saw today.”
The crowd at the rally included members from Laborers Union Local 872, former and current Metro officers and residents in Bolden Area Command.
While other candidates might have more campaign money to spend early on, Burns said he believes his large support group will help him catch up. Their donations will be needed to gain an audience with the rest of the community.
“‘I’ve been told time and time again, if I can hold an audience with people I can win them over,” Burns said. “But getting an audience with people is difficult. We know that translates into television time, radio time, and that translates into funds."
Burns announced he was running for sheriff on Oct. 2, adding his name to a pool of four other candidates to fill the soon-to-be vacant position. In the last 27 years at Metro, he spent time as executive lieutenant to Sheriff Doug Gillespie, served as a SWAT commander and as captain at Bolden Area Command, where he said violent crimes have dropped two years straight.
After considering a run in previous elections, Burns said this year the timing was right when Sheriff Gillespie decided not to pursue another term. He is confident his success at Bolden Area Command will translate to the rest of the valley.
“Essentially it’s about people,” Burns said. “Investing in the people that you have, getting the very best people to do their job and going out surveying people in the community to find out what their fears are, what they need.”
His announcement was met with support from Metro Police Officer Laurie Bisch, who decided to drop out of the race and support Burns - her captain at Bolden Area Command - after announcing her candidacy in September. Bisch said she will be with Burns at every turn of the race supporting him.
“He knows how to get the most out of the police department and how to direct them,” Bisch said. “If the police department is happy, the community is safer.”
Keller and Cortez Masto also added their support. Keller said Burns’ involvement in the community and ability to improve police department morale makes him the perfect choice for sheriff. Meanwhile, Cortez Masto said Burns has the ability to turn the public’s perception about Metro Police around.
Following the event, Jermond Manor was one of several people filling out a form to support Burns’ candidacy. Manor grew up within Bolden Area Command, a place where murder was a daily occurrence and gunshots were part of everyday life. Burns changed the area's violent culture, he said. Manor believes Burns can do the same for Clark County.
“He’s done a lot in the community to bring it together,” Manor said. “He has the heart to bring the community of the whole Las Vegas Valley together.”