Las Vegas Sun

August 1, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Use of force is prominent topic in sheriff candidate forum

With just nine days before early voting begins, eight of nine men vying to become the next sheriff answered questions Thursday night on everything from police use of force on people — and animals — to immigration and body cameras.

The forum was held by the Latino Leadership Council, whose members came up with a series of questions for the candidates. Held in the chambers of the Clark County Commission, 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy, 200 to 300 people attended.

Candidate Ted Moody, who was an assistant sheriff until he resigned in protest to a decision by Sheriff Doug Gillespie last year, told the audience “this may be the most important political race in Clark County this year.”

Many believe Moody, current Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo, former officer and constable Robert Gronauer and former Metro Capt. Larry Burns are front-runners. Burns was sick and unable to attend.

If one of the nine candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 10 primary election, he automatically wins. If not, the top two vote-getters face each other in the Nov. 4 general election.

The two-hour forum didn’t reveal many surprises, with candidates getting just one or two minutes to give their thoughts.

Use of force was a big question. Most agreed Metro needs to improve training so use of force by officers results in fewer shootings.

None believed Metro should be involved in helping the federal government enforce immigration laws.

They also believed more diversity is needed within the department.

While many of the answers were similar, some spoke more clearly and to the point than others.

During a short break 90 minutes into the forum, the Sun asked 12 people who they liked best or would vote for based on candidate answers. Five people said Moody; two said Gronauer; and there was one each for Angel Barboza, Tim Deam, Kenneth Page and Lombardo. One person replied “none of them.”

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