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April 19, 2014

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Metro Police making progress on use-of-force curbs, feds say

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Leila Navidi

Sheriff Doug Gillespie speaks during a press conference held by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Lloyd George Federal Building in Las Vegas on Thursday, November 15, 2012. The press conference was regarding an eight-month review of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s use of force policies and practices.

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 | 5:24 p.m.

Metro Use of Force Report

Sheriff Doug Gillespie stands during a press conference held by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Lloyd George Federal Building in Las Vegas on Thursday, November 15, 2012. The press conference was regarding an eight-month review of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's use of force policies and practices. Launch slideshow »

The U.S. Department of Justice commended Metro Police today for taking significant steps to improve its transparency and reform its use-of-force policies to decrease officer-involved shootings.

In November 2012, the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) branch completed a collaborative investigation into Metro Police listing 80 recommendations for Metro to cut down on its officer-involved shootings. COPS’ six-month assessment report released today showed Metro has committed to them.

In eight months, Metro has completed 56 of the 80 recommendations, while making progress on 15 others. The remaining recommendations will be reviewed in the one-year assessment, when there is more information on them, COPS Director Joshua Ederheimer said.

“This continued effort is making an impact on the number of officer-involved shootings in Las Vegas,” Ederheimer said in a press release. “A number of positive steps have been taken to improve the practices and policies of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, steps that are increasing safety among officers and the public.”

Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie said the department is committed to completing all the recommendations it has control over with the main goal of decreasing officer-involved shootings.

Among the changes Metro has made, Ederheimer highlighted its improved use-of-force review board, the installment of reality-based training for officers and increased transparency with the public in releasing an annual statistical report on deadly use of force. Already, the changes have led to a gradual decrease in the department’s officer-involved shootings, the report indicated.

“These significant milestones represent a positive series of reforms that has increased scrutiny, oversight and transparency surrounding officer-involved shootings and use-of-force issues here in Las Vegas,” Ederheimer said today in a press conference.

While several members resigned from the use-of-force review board over a dispute with Gillespie on punishment of officers, Ederheimer said the process is still valid. COPS delayed the six-month release to assess the program after the resignations.

They determined that the process is transparent and comprehensive with a record number of officers held accountable for using force. The dispute was about the severity of punishment, which was within the department’s policies.

COPS will release another comprehensive assessment of Metro at the end of the year.

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