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Sheriff candidate debate focuses on police shootings, immigration issues

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Updated: 5/18/2014 10:20 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The men who want to be Clark County's next sheriff outlined their stances on police shootings and the role officers should play in enforcing immigration laws.

The Latino leadership council pressed the candidates hard on those issues. A fear of police played a part in the questions candidates faced.

Rudy Zamora says Metro officers stir anxiety among some Latinos. The responsibility of police in enforcing immigration laws was one of the first topics sheriff candidates took on. “We have people in the community that go into the main headquarters of Metro to follow up on a police report they filed,” Zamora said. “Then they get their IDs checked and then ICE gets called on them, and they're not allowed to leave the building.”

A number of candidates have stated that Metro should not be focused on immigration enforcement.

“Short answer: I don't believe it's any role for local law enforcement,” said candidate Robert Gronauer, a former Las Vegas Township constable.

Candidate Angel Barboza, a Clark County District Court marshal and former Wendover, Utah police chief, voiced a similar opinion, as did candidate Kenneth Page.

“That's an issue for the federal government that they need to work out,” Barboza said.

“I don't think it's a job for us; it's a job for the federal government,” said Page.

Candidate Gordon Martines agreed that immigration enforcement is a federal job, but emphasized the importance of enforcing the law among immigrants.

“Yes, if they commit a crime, then they're gone they're finished,” Martines said. “No, we shouldn't use resources to round up something the federal government should do.”

Former Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody took the opportunity to emphasize that minor crimes should not result in deportation.

“I'm not going to participate in any program that might result in the removal of any individual from the commission of any minor offense that might be committed by any ordinary citizen during the course of any given day,” Moody said.

Another topic of concern to Latinos was police shootings, since some Latinos believe police tend to kill minorities.

Candidates’ responses ranged from improved training to extreme accountability.

“Where we have failed in the past on the reality-based training is the including of supervision,” said candidate Joseph Lombardo. “Just recently, we included the lieutenant level in that reality-based training because it has been proven once a supervisor is on scene force starts to de-escalate.”

“If you terminate the employee on a timely basis of a police officer shooting an unarmed innocent and sometimes unresponsive citizens, the rest of the police officers will realize what's happening and they'll stop it,” said candidate William Roman, who has previously stated that public safety has suffered and trust in our police department’s ability to be in the business of saving lives has been greatly diminished due to officer-involved shootings.

Candidate Timothy Deam, a former bail bondsman, spoke about a more drastic approach.

“If we start sending a lot of cops to prison and sending them to death row, it's going to be a pretty good deterrent to stop shooting people,” Deam said.

Sheriff candidate Larry Burns was not at the debate, saying he was ill. The entire debate will soon be available online through the Latino Leadership Council’s Facebook page.



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