LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As journalists, we talk to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department almost every day about both crime and safety, but we rarely get to talk to them about how the news affects them.
13 Action News anchor Dave Courvoisier got the chance to do just that the other day in a wide-ranging interview with the new undersheriff Christopher Darcy.
He's the most influential officer you rarely see; as the new undersheriff, Darcy is second in command only to Sheriff Joe Lombardo, and is essentially the operations manager for the entire department.
"I gotta be honest with you. The reason I'm here is because I watched "Cops" on TV. And I'm like, that's where I want to go," Darcy told us.
After a stint in the military, Darcy joined LVMPD in 1991 working his way up through the entire organization, including as Bureau Commander at Internal Affairs.
"And the reality of it is that officers make mistakes. We have a system and a process to hold them accountable. And obviously, we can debate, you know, how effective that is or not, but there's a system in place," he said.
But some of the LVMPD's systems have come under plenty of public criticism, especially the police shooting reviews often branded as little more than a rubber stamp.
"No, it's not a rubber-stamp approval. We go through a very arduous process of looking at that event on two different levels. One was the force appropriate, lawful, right? Was it lawful to use and should that, did that employee essentially commit a crime? Right. And that's a review that's conducted with the district attorney, but additionally, we look at it from a tactical perspective," Darcy said.
The undersheriff is quick to say that the officers in his command are people too and that they see and hear all the things being said about them especially the recent demands to Defund The Police.
"Police officers are human. When you see whether it's at Metro or any other city, when you constantly see this onslaught of negativity about defunding and getting abolishing, the police and you know, all the things that they spray paint on walls. Right. Of course, it takes its toll on people," Darcy said. "We just want to make sure that we're spending our money in the wisest manner and that we're doing what police should be doing."
But Darcy says all the talk of defunding has not hurt their staffing or recruitment.
"We've always had a little challenge, right. As the business world starts hiring right more people may be inclined to go that direction. But fortunately, our positions are, you know, generally full. We just graduated academy of 81 students that we're very happy about," he mentioned.
Those 81 graduates, like all that have gone before, are well-trained in a hallmark of Metro's approach to policing: community involvement.
"Our community relations is of the utmost importance, right? It's how we interact every day. And we have units that are dedicated to just doing that," Darcy told us.
DIGITAL DEBRIEF | Dave Courvoisier talks about interview with Undersheriff Chris Darcy