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Former Metro Sheriff Bill Young Speaks About Shootings, Reforms
Former Metro Sheriff Bill Young Speaks About Shootings, Reforms

AIR DATE: December 19, 2011

Former Metro Police Sheriff Bill Young says that poor training and a lack of discipline has led to a number of police shootings in Las Vegas that might have been prevented. And if he were still in charge, he says, he wouldn’t be afraid to take the police union on in court.

Those are strong words coming from anyone, especially Young, who was a lifelong police officer before serving as Metro’s sheriff from 2002-2006. Today, he works for Station Casinos and is a civilian for the first time in his professional life.

Young’s also has questions about the most recent Las Vegas Metro police shooting of Gulf War Veteran Stanley Gibson.

“It appears that this shooting has some problems," he says, one of which was that Gibson was unarmed when he was shot and killed. "My biggest concern at this point...were all the resources called into play that could've been?"

"Time is always on your side when you have a situation where you have an individual who is barricaded,” he says, adding that from reports, it appears Gibson was sitting in an unmoving vehicle when the shooting occurred.  "From where I sit today, this doesn't seem to be the most prudent course of action.”

“I think the [Sheriff Doug Gillespie] needs to question why the officer had a long-gun or a rifle in this kind of situation," Young says, adding that rifles should only be used in specific situations. This, he says, was certainly not one of them.

Young says that part of the problem with Metro is the attitude of the police union. They view this situation as an “Us vs. Them” situation, and it’s not, he says.

“"I think that the police union looks at this from a completely different perspective,” Young says. “ I don't think they get it. I don't think they get this community.”

As a city employee, Young says, it’s any policeman’s job to be accountable to the public for his or her actions. "I think you owe them to answer questions about your performance at work."

Young added that the inquest system has been “blown up” by the union, and so will likely never be used again in Clark County.

So far this year, 12 people have died in police shootings. That’s 12 more than there ever should be, Young says.

“95 percent of our officers have never shot their weapon in the line of duty. They have the courage to stand in the line and not overreact,” he says, adding that the idea that all shootings are bad is as untrue as the fact that all shootings are good.

"The current sheriff is a good leader and he will respond to this,” Young says. 

Erin Dostal


Bill Young, Metro Police Sheriff, 2002-2006

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Bill Young was also part of the problem. This Metro issue was apparent back in the '90s. But I'll give him this, he admits that having stepped out of LEO role, he now sees some of the issues. You often hear police say, "We have this crime but nobody is stepping forward." Well let me tell you, I was a white, middle-aged woman from 7 hills...with no criminal background but if there were someone running through my back yard, hopping over to my neighbor's way in heck would I get involved if Metro were out front looking for them. I'd stay locked up in my house! I wouldn't ever, voluntarily get involved with Metro or any LEO in the valley. There is a mindset of the us vs. them, and I'd be the 'them' in that statement, even though in the scenario above, I'm just a citizen minding their own business in their own home. But Metro just do not get it!
Reason111Dec 22, 2011 04:53:33 AM
I have a hard time reading anything Bill young has to say, he...achieved nothing during his term, but a cushy retirement. Let Sherriff Gillespie do his Job.
Albert IvorDec 19, 2011 10:34:29 AM
Correction Bill Young my dogs were shot May 31, 2005.
paige davisDec 15, 2011 10:11:12 AM
Young people are watching the media and have opinions. I tried out for metro and was disqualified because of thing in my youth, never got in trouble for but was honest as I was told to be. We have officers that have never fired a gun been in a real altercation or seen drugs in person and expect them to react from a book or in class training. Be real metro need to re-think and hire real people in the community.
HenryDec 15, 2011 10:07:55 AM
To Bill young I would like to know when your officers shot my dogs in May 31 2001. They call my dogs personal property, did not release the officers name or police report, because they were personal property. If I shot a police dog I would be tried to the fullest. I never had my day in court for justice. That was on your watch too!
paige davisDec 15, 2011 10:04:11 AM
What are the quality control measurements of arrests? What is the net conviction rate- at the same charge of the arrest-compared to other metro areas ? How many times are preliminary hearings waived,in order to diplomatically avoid the question of the legality/validity of the original arrest ? How often are arresting officers required to justify probable cause on the basis of " totality of circumstances " ( the actual criteria established by SCOTUS- the Supreme Court ).
L. ReedDec 15, 2011 09:58:15 AM
If we accept your reasoning that a comparatively few officers are responsible for a preponderance of bad calls, who is responsible for training, disciplining and ultimately firing these bad officers? Who is responsible for catching incidents of bad judgement on more minor issues and intervening to hopefully prevent similarly bad judgement on more major events such as a shooting?
Scott SwankDec 15, 2011 09:56:54 AM
To what extent is over-charging of offenses monitored by local media /ACLU /community groups ? To what extent are misdemeanors overcharged as felonies, so that officers can proceed without warrant to make arrests,without prior consent from the bench ?
L. ReedDec 15, 2011 09:50:48 AM
To what extent are there arrest quotas still in effect in Clark County ? This last shooting -after 30 minutes of negotiation - suggests that the time was too much for officers used to resolving arrests within 5-10 min. ,as they are conditioned as patrol officers.
L. Reed Dec 15, 2011 09:46:21 AM
The police have poor training!!!!! They are not taught to use deadly force as an ULTIMATE LAST RESORT! When the police storm a marajiana suspects home in a SWAT-style raid, then kill Trevon Cole, it's is a SYSTEMIC problem!!!! Never should've happened!
Jaime PittonDec 15, 2011 09:31:23 AM
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