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Las Vegas police talk about increase of shootings involving officers in 2018: 'It concerns us'

Posted at 12:12 PM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-30 20:12:16-04

Since the beginning of the year, Las Vegas police officers have been involved in 18 shootings, eight of which occurred in the past month.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Shootings involving Las Vegas valley officers in 2018

"It concerns us. It's an anomaly," said Deputy Chief Chris Jones.

Jones heads up the Community Policing Division and sat down with 13 Action News to talk about the recent increase in police shootings across the valley.

"I've never seen a cluster of officer-involved shootings in my 25 years of policing," Jones said.

Right now, shootings involving officers are up across the country, but Jones said people need to look past the statistics and evaluate the circumstances.

"The number concerns us but what concerns us more is the level of violence that the suspects are willing to go to," Jones said.

Jones said all the shootings involving officers this year have been legally justified, but he doesn't blame people for being critical of the department.

"Be critical because we are of ourselves," Jones said. "We can't just focus on justified or not justified."

Las Vegas police do have a history of questionable officer shootings. In 2010 the department saw 25 shootings that led to review by the Department of Justice. Since then, the department has revised training and de-escalation methods.

"We look at every single one of these with a very, very critical eye to see is there something else we can do," Jones said. "It's an anomaly something that we hope doesn't continue."

Since the recent spike in shootings, Jones said the department is looking to relax policies to allow officers to use less lethal force, including bringing back the use of a high-capacity pepper spray.

Las Vegas does have fewer police shootings then nearby Phoenix. Right now, Phoenix Police have seen 37 police shootings, which is double the amount Las Vegas police has seen.