Metro Police and the FBI continue to hone in on the motive behind shooter Stephen Paddock’s murderous spree one month ago and how he was able to pull it off.
That deadly tragedy weighs heavily on the minds of Las Vegas officials, especially with a huge New Year’s celebration just around the corner.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo says Metro is already re-thinking it’s security plans. He talked about that in an exclusive interview with I-Team Reporter George Knapp.
At a memorial garden that sprung up within a few days of the October 1 mass shooting incident, Sheriff Joe Lombardo reflects on a month that went by in a blur, one that will never be forgotten.
“Normally, people talk about just casinos in Las Vegas. This situation is all about community, the outpouring of support. Everything here was donated to help us remember what took place,” he said.
Like it or not, Lombardo became the public face of Las Vegas in the aftermath of the concert tragedy, answering questions at testy news conferences and on national news programs.
At the remembrance wall, he was recognized by visitors from California who attended the concert that night.
“You’re doing a good job,” he is told by one woman.
“I would never use the word celebrity and don’t want it. I happen to be the face of a tragic event.”
In a wide ranging interview, the sheriff addressed lingering questions about the killer, who else may have known? And assorted rumors still percolating online. If there is a silver lining to something so horrible, it’s the way locals responded.
“It’s important to talk about it. How the community came together. That word, community. We were considered transient. We’re real. Even to me, people say, where do you live? Yes, people do live in Las Vegas. We do more than go to casinos. It’s a real community.”
For years, Metro has prepared and trained for a large scale attack, in many scenarios. Gambler Stephen Paddock found a crease in the security — a strategic perch in a high roller hotel suite from which he rained death, like shooting fish in a barrel. Over the last decade, with each terror incident around the world, Metro has adjusted its plans. And it is already strategizing about how to proceed from here.
“Is there something we can learn from this? We started that immediately. Is there something to change? I met with all of the corporate security chiefs of the casino industry to spitball ideas, things we can do as a police department, working out nuances,” Lombardo said.
Las Vegas routinely has multiple large events going on simultaneously. As for the challenge of securing high-rise buildings, Lombardo says Metro will be heading to New York city to learn methods used by police in that skyscraper city, particularly on New Year’s even when Times Square is jammed with revelers. In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, New Year’s Eve looms large in Metro’s mind.
“Even without this, it’s a six-month process. With this, it will change, with more planning. We have to improve safety measures in place. It is important to continue as a community with our lives and not let those people win.”
Sheriff Lombardo also addressed some of the criticisms aimed at Metro, as well as prominent conspiracy theories still circulating.
Here is a link to George Knapp’s entire interview with Sheriff Joe Lombardo.