Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2018

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Mass shooting, 6 months later:

How has security in Las Vegas changed since Oct. 1?

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L.E. Baskow

The Nevada Army National Guard in the 72nd MP group begins patrolling at McCarran International Airport to supplement local law enforcement agencies during the New Year’s holiday period on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017.

The largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history led to one of the largest security overhauls for Las Vegas’ police force. Metro Police staffed snipers, a helicopter patrol originally purchased for search-and-rescue missions, and almost double the number of officers for November’s Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll marathon, Capt. Andy Walsh said.

Metro’s new $9.6 million Airbus H145 patrol helicopter was also used to monitor the Strip for New Year’s Eve, as buses reinforced fences at crossroads where hundreds of thousands of tourists gathered. Metro spokesman Larry Hadfield said police will continue “added measures” of security going forward.

Wynn Las Vegas partnered with Metro and added multiple entities forming a “layered security system” to detect and respond to any security-related incident in and around the resort, spokeswoman Deanna Pettit-Irestone said.

Wynn’s security—comprising former federal and local law enforcement officers, FBI agents, counterterrorism operators, embassy security guards and members from all branches of the U.S. military, including special operations—includes crisis and tactical response, a K-9 team, mobile and stationary officers and surveillance, Pettit-Irestone said.

Other casino and entertainment operators on the Strip were mum when asked about their post-Oct. 1 safety precautions.

MGM Resorts spokesman Brian Ahern said the company does not publicly discuss such operations, a change from MGM’s history of sharing security details with media as recently as 2015.

Speaking on behalf of SLS Las Vegas, spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson said the company did not wish to discuss security changes because of a change in ownership.

Representatives from the Cosmopolitan and Caesars Entertainment did not respond to requests for comment.

For other valley police agencies, the Oct. 1 effect has been minimal in altering police security and staffing policies. Rather, it served as a wake-up call for police in Henderson and North Las Vegas to stay “fresh and alert,” according to department spokespeople.

“It’s proof we need to be sharp in our training, especially our active-shooter training,” said North Las Vegas Police spokesman Officer Aaron Patty. “We need to make sure everybody is up to speed so the department knows what to do at all times.”

“Above all, we need to be vigilant,” said Officer Rodrigo Peña of Henderson Police. “While we haven’t really added anything new, each event is now looked at a little closer.”

Medical landscape

Although they had never responded to a mass injury tragedy similar to the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, area medical centers say they were adequately prepared.

The final number of injured individuals topped 800, and all major hospitals—University Medical Center, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, St. Rose Dominican and others—were satisfied with their responses.

Instead of focusing on what the hospitals themselves can do differently in the future, the medical world is focusing on citizen response.

Programs such as the Stop the Bleed campaign have been popular since the Oct. 1 shooting.

The free one-hour courses feature UMC trainers and other medical personnel from around the valley who teach attendees how to apply pressure to a wound, how to pack a wound and how to apply a tourniquet to stop life-threatening bleeds before emergency medical personnel arrive. The course also includes lectures, a question-and-answer segment and a hands-on portion where participants practice the techniques on fake limbs.

UMC trained more than 2,360 participants after the Oct. 1 shooting and 2,500 total since starting the program in June.

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.