Las Vegas police discuss use of deadly force policy

Changes made after partnership with DOJ

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department held a talk about their use of deadly force policy at The Mob Museum Wednesday night. 

"I've been an officer for 22 years and every one of us raises our hand and takes an oath to save lives," said Capt. Kelly McMahill.

But in an instant, an officer can be tested.

That's what happened on July 11 in the downtown area of Las Vegas. According to police, the shooting suspect shot at officers during a pursuit near 29th Street and Constantine Avenue. 

Police say they were forced to open fire. One suspect died on scene.

McMahill says in general scenes like that are less common now than in 2010. She says that was an ugly year for the department.

"We used deadly force 25 times, and half of those shootings, although they didn't amount to criminal activity, they were unnecessary," McMahill said.

Soon after, LVMPD partnered up with the Department of Justice. Big changes have been made to the department's use of deadly force policy.

McMahill says when possible, officers take extra time before potentially dangerous encounters.  Additionally, the department is focused on the sanctity of life.

"Even in a situation where we have to use force, we can still put the sanctity of life first," she said.

Police now get 100 hours of de-escalation training at the academy. McMahill says the department has seen results. 

In 2016, deadly force was used only ten times.

However, she says that number spiked again to 22 last year.

"We're never done because we are a learning organization," she said, "We critique heavily... and criticize every single use of force that we have."

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