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Metro’s Gillespie supports federal probe into Las Vegas police shootings

I do not see this as an adversarial process,’ sheriff says in prepared statement

Sheriff Holds News Conference After Shooting

Steve Marcus

Sheriff Doug Gillespie addresses reporters during a news conference at Metro Police Headquarters Monday, December 12, 2011. Gillespie called the news conference after a Metro Police officer shot and killed a man early this morning at a condominium complex in the northwest valley. .

Investigation continues in Metro shooting

KSNV coverage of the ongoing investigation into the Metro Police shooting of Stanley Gibson, Dec. 14, 2011.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Douglas Gillespie said he supports a U.S. Department of Justice inquiry into the police department’s practices less than a week after an unarmed African-American veteran was shot and killed by officers. The shooting was the 18th officer-involved shooting in Metro’s jurisdiction this year.

In a press release Thursday Gillespie said he encourages the Department of Justice Patterns and Practice Program that is currently active in at least 17 other cities.

“I have always said that any input from an outside entity, with expertise in law enforcement, is a good thing,” Gillespie said in the release. “If they want to see how we do business and review the various systems we have in place, from preventative training to investigating cases involving officer’s use of deadly force, we welcome that. I do not see that as an adversarial process.”

Monday’s officer-involved shooting of Stanley Gibson, a Gulf War vet who was, according to his wife Rhonda, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain cancer, prompted some community groups to call for a review of Metro’s practices by the Department of Justice.

A Metro spokesman said it is unclear what prompted officers to shoot Gibson, who was unarmed and in a car that was pinned between at least two unoccupied patrol cars at the time.

Rondha Gibson said her husband had been unable to get his medication to control his anxiety and that he called her in a state of confusion Sunday night, thinking he was home while he was at the neighboring condominium complex. She also said Metro was supposed to have him under a three-day psychiatric watch this past weekend, but police have not confirmed that.

Officer Jesus Arevalo, officer Malik Grego-Smith, Sgt. Michael Hnatuick and Lt. David Dockendorf were involved in the shooting, which happened near Smoke Ranch Road and Rainbow Boulevard, police said.

Police have not said how many officers actually fired their weapons.

Police said Arevalo, 34, has worked at the department since February 2002; Grego-Smith, 31, since August 2008; Hnatuick, 45, since September 1988; and Dockendorf, 40, since July 1998.

Arevalo, Grego-Smith and Hnatuick are assigned to the Northwest Area Command patrol division. Dockendorf is with the Bolden Area Command patrol division.

The press release stares Metro uses “scenario and reality-based training methods to teach officers ways to de-escalate situations and avoid high-risk incidents.”

“The truth is, we have implemented a lot of changes here that the Department of Justice has suggested in other cities undergoing this review process,” Gillespie said. “But if more innovative methods come from this, everyone will benefit.”

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