DOJ Review of Vegas Police Shootings Hasn’t Changed “Cowboy Culture”


A review board recommended that a Las Vegas police officer be fired for shooting a man, but Sheriff Doug Gillespie rejected the panel’s unanimous decision. The Los Angeles Times said that decision last month has reverberated across a city with one of the highest rates of police shootings in the nation. In 2010, police were involved in four times the number of shootings per capita in Las Vegas as in New York, and twice as many as in Los Angeles — cities with far larger populations, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The alarming number of shootings prompted a review by the U.S. Justice Department, which found that Las Vegas police committed numerous tactical errors due to a lack of training and suggested a series of reforms, including a more transparent review process of officer-involved shootings. The federal review has done little to change what many see as a cowboy culture in which, critics say, police officers shoot first and ask questions later, knowing the department will bail them out of any trouble.

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