by Norm Jahn
July 9, 2013
A retired LVMPD Deputy Chief (Carl Fruge) made the news last week. He
was apparently in a private property accident, but had been drinking
and then got into a physical altercation with a member of another
police agency. He ended up being arrested for violating one of the
‘cardinal’ rules that cause grief to (and end the careers of) so many
young officers — Avoid off-duty incidents unless there is an
emergency, and don’t get involved in avoidable situations when you are
Fruge didn’t get the benefit of ‘professional courtesy’ or special
treatment because of the circumstances of the incident (possible drunk
driving with an accident and a fight with another police officer). In
the ‘double standard’ world of the LVMPD (especially what I saw under
Sheriff Doug Gillespie), there have been dozens (probably hundreds) of
‘regular’ officers who have been disciplined or terminated for
off-duty conduct. We even had a symbolic picture on the wall in my
first police academy of basically a three-headed beast that
represented the main hazards to police officers (other than dangers on
the streets). The three hazards were sex, money, and alcohol/drugs.
Drinking, gambling, stealing, or getting involved in ‘sexual’
misconduct are still common factors that play into the end of police
The bottom line is that if an officer shows poor judgment (especially
early in his or her career) it is almost certain that he/she will
receive serious discipline or get terminated. As the officer makes
more acquaintances and ‘learns the ropes,’ it would be more likely
that they could avoid a formal complaint or formal corrective action
for off-duty incidents. The officer would often be ‘warned’ or
‘advised’ at the scene if there was no mandatory arrest or
notification necessary. The days of calling a cab for a drunk police
officer are long gone as far as I am concerned. Police officers would
also be unable to call a friend or call a cab even for a citizen,
except in extremely rare instances. There is just too much attention
on these matters and the potential civil liability is huge. The same
thing holds true for domestic violence incidents. It seems like there
is almost a SWAT call-out these days when an officer is possibly
involved in a DV… lots of notifications are made (unless you get to
be an administrator where you can still wiggle out of the normal
A good example of this would be Captain Charles Hank and a DV call at
his home in the spring of 2010. He was never arrested and never
prosecuted. Sheriff Gillespie took Hank’s face out of a campaign
advertisement, but that was about all that anyone knows about what the
LVMPD did to him. He has apparently now married a civilian employee
who used to be a Domestic Violence advocate (of all things) and she is
now the Director of the Employment Diversity Section. I wonder if she
is reading all of my discrimination complaints and other
correspondence to the last Director (Walter Norris) and sharing them
with her hubby? An assistant sheriff also recently avoided public
scrutiny after a ‘domestic’ incident at his home (the media performed
a miracle for him).
Back to Deputy Chief Fruge… We competed against each other for
police captain in 1995. I ended up placing about 10 out of 12 on that
two-year eligibility list for LVMPD captain, but elected to leave the
LVMPD to become the police chief in Shawano, Wisconsin. Not a single
current member of the executive command (Sheriff Gillespie,
Undersheriff Dixon, or Assistant Sheriffs Lombardo, Moody, or McCurdy)
were even close to testing for captain in 1995. They now run the
LVMPD! This makes me wonder what might have happened to me (what rank
would I have eventually held) if I had stayed and competed for captain
in subsequent years. I know I would have never joined the current
‘cult,’ but I often wonder what I would have experienced working with
My story is unique. I returned to the LVMPD after leaving as a
lieutenant. I started over in 2004 and attended the academy as a
43-year-old. My classmates called me ‘old school’ and honored me by
awarding me the Academy Leadership Award at our graduation on 7/8/04.
I’m sure my peers now wonder how I went FROM LEADER TO LIAR and lost
my job. I know what happened and it is still very difficult to explain
how malicious Metro was to me!
The highlights of my career were ignored during the witch hunt that
ensured. At no time did anyone ever consider my performance record
- Being awarded a Lifesaving Award on 3/15/05 for an incident at the old
Frontier Hotel. We were able to extract a suicidal subject from a
panel van after he had poured gasoline inside and set himself on fire.
- Being awarded a Medal of Honor after an incident on 2/21/06 at
Harrah’s Hotel. During this incident we attempted to rescue a subject
who had been stabbed and shot by Billy Bonilla. This incident was a
drug-related rip-off and occurred shortly after Sgt. Henry Prendes had
been executed. Sgt. Reyes (again) formed a plan and sent a rescue team
down a hallway where we stood in front of the door where the suspect
was barricaded with a gun and carried the victim back down the hallway
in an attempt to save his life. We then evacuated the entire floor and
maintained control while the SWAT team responded. Even after a shot
was fired at SWAT, they took Bonilla into custody without firing at
- Being promoted to sergeant in May of 2007 (my first promotion to
sergeant was in 1987).
I look back now at some key events in my second career. I also look
back at the names and faces and memories that surface from my first
career. I have thank you cards from retired Captain Will Minor (after
I took him on a ride-along before he ever started his LVMPD career). I
have a thank you from current Deputy Chief Marc Joseph after I
assisted him with preparation for his oral interview for lieutenant.
He also met me for breakfast one morning and suggested that I read the
book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith. I
was told that I needed to focus on ‘relationship building’ if I wanted
to be successful in Gillespie’s LVMPD.
I have many mementos and plaques which remind me of my stellar first
career with the LVMPD. I also see several of my former students at the
Clark County Community College that have been promoted or have even
retired as lieutenants or captains and this is very rewarding. I often
wonder if they know what the LVMPD did to me and what they think of me
now (knowing the ‘story’ told by the LVMPD). I now realize that I was
not going to be given the opportunities to have great achievements
during my second career. I was viewed as more of a threat and a
dissident — pretty much from the day I graduated from the police
So what happened to me and how did my career end so abruptly? On June
30, 2011, I took a right turn while leaving the parking garage at
Bill’s Gambling Hall. I had just completed supervising a Teamster’s
Parade on the Strip and it was about 9 a.m. I drove over I-15 and
turned left on Valley View. I was reported by an officer for being
across the street because she had been given orders by her command
(Captain Matt McCarthy).
Sheriff Gillespie’s ‘Scout Troop Members’ had apparently decided that
I needed to be ‘corralled’ because I was actually trying to SERVE THE
PUBLIC and SOLVE CRIMES. I knew that a sergeant at the Enterprise Area
Command (Sgt. Chris ‘Weasel’ Whatley) had complained about me merely
being on his side of the street. I had received a Contact Report from
former LVMPD lieutenant Hans Walters (on orders from Capt. Todd
Fasulo). A Contact Report is not discipline but is a warning or
clarification of expectations. I was advised (11 times in the same
four-paragraph document) that I should not leave my area to conduct
follow-up investigations. I didn’t agree with this and asked for some
justification. I requested assistance from my police union (PMSA). I
prepared 5-6 written requests for clarification because this RULE FOR
NORM JAHN was so unusual and restrictive. I would later learn (during
Lt. Hans Walters’ testimony at my May 2012 arbitration) that he had
been told to ignore my requests. This was all occurring in April — two
months BEFORE I was accused of violating the rule!!! They carried out
their plan to perfection… and controlled the review of the entire
matter so to secure their desired outcome.
I had made formal complaints against those involved in this situation
which were ignored by Internal Affairs, Employment Diversity, and the
union (PMSA) that was supposed to provide representation to its
members — BEFORE I crossed the street! It turned out that Capt. Fasulo
had been doing about a week’s worth of ‘investigation’ before he
called me into his office on 7/5/11. He lied to Internal Affairs (and
later, while under oath at my arbitration hearing) about the purpose
of that meeting. He said the meeting was simply to warn me that he had
learned that I had crossed the street on 6/30/11. I argued with him
for almost two hours and told him he was ‘setting me up’ and ‘trying
to fire me.’ He denied this. He convinced Lt. Walters that he was not
trying to fire me. I heard this over and over from Lt. Hans Walters
for the next several months. Well then, why did they file a formal
complaint the very next day (7/6/11) and use it to accuse me of being
untruthful? And how did everyone miss the fact that they wrote in
their own complaint… “Sgt. Jahn denied leaving his area to conduct
I think only a handful of people know what really happened to Lt. Hans
Walters at work that set in motion the events that ended in a family
tragedy. Driven to a feeling of helplessness and despair at work, and
having his self-esteem systematically broken by the Metro MAFIA, he
was not truthful when called by the LVMPD to be a witness against me
in my arbitration hearing. I reminded him (and several others like
Internal Affairs Sgt. Kelly McMahill and Lt. Chris Tomaino and Capt.
Chris Darcy) and those at Labor Relations (Mike Snyder and Kelly
Sweeney) as well, along with Director Curt Norris from Employment
Diversity, of the facts between July of 2011 and my hearing in May of
2012 — after I was terminated. Nobody cared to listen or even respond
in most cases.
I was terminated in November of 2011. At no time did anyone ever
consider that I was once considered a LEADER and that my career ended
with a contrived case of being a LIAR ! I was the victim of one of the
LVMPD’s “truthfulness” terminations. An employee’s performance history
is supposed to be considered in the overall review of a discipline
case. Everything that I did for almost eight years during my second
career was ignored, and they focused instead on my crossing the street
to eliminate me from the LVMPD. Their ‘buddy’ the arbitrator
determined that I had left my area to conduct follow-up investigation
even though Capt. Fasulo and the LVMPD had never accused me of
conducting a follow-up investigation. The entire process was botched —
there was never any evidence that I violated a rule. It is really
troubling for me to now consider what lengths Sheriff Gillespie and
his people will go to in order to obtain a conviction on a citizen or
to purge a non-believer from their cult.
I was offered an opportunity to sign a gag order in January of 2012. I
declined this offer.
* * * * *
Norm Jahn is a former LVMPD lieutenant, who has also served as a
police chief in Shawano, Wisconsin, and has nearly 25 years of police
experience. Jahn now contributes his opinions and ideas to help
improve policing in general, and in Las Vegas in particular, through
his weekly column in the Las Vegas Tribune.
DEFINITIONS MATTER. When Las Vegas police responded (en masse) to the Cromwell Hotel & Casino because of reports of an ‘active shooter‘ on August 26th there was chaos. The LVMPD released video from some body worn cameras which showed officers attempting to employ their MACTAC training and approach the threat as a group. As officers scrambled to ‘form up’ and enter the building, literally hundreds of people (of all genders and races) were fleeing the scene and trying to get out of the way and avoid the police. Seattle Seahawks defender, Michael Bennett, brought major attention to the incident because of an open letter he wrote about how he was treated. That scrutiny is good…and I don’t mean scrutiny only on how Metro handled Bennett. The entire response needs to be evaluated. Far too many of these incidents get minimal coverage and the Las Vegas media is completely intimidated by Metro’s command and their browbeating mouthpieces.
Hopefully, in the interest of the TRANSPARENCY that they constantly preach, we will someday get more information from an after action report or other internal reviews of the overall response to the incident. Who knows how many other people were stopped and even handcuffed as police attempted to catch a ‘phantom’ named STANCHION!
After all of the chaos and confusion and HYPE…the incident was precipitated by a disturbance at a nightclub when one or more stanchions (not statutes) fell and caused a noise that people took for a gunshot. I don’t blame anyone in a crowded nightclub or in a dense crowd situation from being on high alert but just how did this call get classified as an ACTIVE SHOOTER? Active shooter calls bring on MACTAC responses and responses by the Homeland Security Response Team (or Saturation Team or whatever they call these groups these days).
A cell phone call to Metro dispatch reporting ‘shots fired’ or ‘illegal shooting’ on more routine calls is NOT an active shooter. Multiple cell phone calls of people hearing gunshots or seeing people get down on the floor is also NOT an active shooter! A man barricaded in his own home after shooting a few rounds through the roof or into the garage is NOT an active shooter. A suicidal suspect armed with a firearm who is drunk and does not want to be bothered by police after an accidental discharge or even after shooting at the door to try to get the cops to leave is NOT an active shooter.
An ‘active shooter’ IS a person actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. It is systematic and continuing behavior with the action continuing until the shooter stops or someone stops him.
We have reached a point in policing in some cities where the term is used far too loosely and this can cause tragic results-including loss of life to the POLICE themselves! The October 1, 2017 shooting at the Mandalay Bay could be considered a ‘sniper’ incident from a high elevation (in old terminology) and possibly even ‘active shooter’ (up to a point). The ‘devil’ in the hotel suite was not actually in a confined area with his victims and he did stop before police engaged him. The entry team the was cobbled together would soon find out that the suspect was dead when they entered his suite. Technically, even according to the LVMPD policy manual, this monster was a ‘barricaded subject’ once he stopped shooting. The longer the shooting had ceased, the more the matter would be classified as a barricaded suspect. Officers entered but, as far as the public knows right now, their entry into the room was not responsible for how or why the incident ended.
The definition of a ‘mass shooting‘ is a shooting in which four or more people selected indiscriminately, not including the perpetrator, are killed. With these two definitions in mind, the Cromwell incident was not an active shooter and the details should have been confirmed and clarified for all responders via a radio broadcast and repeatedly getting this information to responders. It was also NOT a ‘mass shooting’ because nobody shot a firearm and nobody was even known to be in possession of a gun-except for a whole army of police officers. Metro dispatch and Cromwell security/surveillance personnel should have been able to keep an open line, check the video in the casino and nightclub areas, stand by for any additional phone calls, question those callers to clarify whether anyone saw a gun or anyone was confirmed to be shot. The bottom line is that if there was an active shooter there would have been reports of ongoing violence and carnage and when this did not happen over the first 5-10 minutes the responders should have been told that there was NO CONFIRMATION of the active shooter.
Police respond and assess the magnitude of incidents all of the time-especially on the Strip where crowds can greatly complicate things. Responders and even supervisors could have tried to regain order and discipline by communicating that there was nothing confirmed as they continued to check. Police can use cell phones to call directly to security officers or to surveillance. I used to do it all of the time. A quick phone call to an ‘on the floor’ security officer can result in a prompt response that there is no known disturbance and certainly no known shooting going on.
I have been worried about policing ‘rushing in’ for a long time and as a supervisor for 12 years with the LVMPD, I tried to instill order and discipline in responding to emergencies when I worked with my officers. Now that some ‘Rambo’ officers think that every gunshot is a ‘terrorist attack’ there is so much hype that officers self-dispatch, race to the scene, violate policy and safety practices, and ‘freelance’ when they arrive. Too many officers seem to want to be a ‘hero’ and they often end up getting themselves killed in traffic accidents, or hurt other people and damage property, or they become part of the problem because of their undisciplined and poor tactical response.
In 2001, I wrote the following email to Lt. James LaRochelle who was in charge of the new Critical Incident Review Team. I expressed my concern about officer safety (yes, I was afraid officers were going to get themselves killed by over-reacting and exposing themselves to hazardous situations because they had been inadequately trained on how to assess and then mitigate various incidents.
From: Norman Jahn [N2563J@LVMPD.COM]
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 3:06 PM
To: James LaRochelle
Subject: Barricaded Suspects vs ACTIVE SHOOTER/MACTAC
A few years ago, I exchanged e-mail with Larry Burns because I was noticing what seemed to be a mindset from newer officers that they felt they had to make entry into hazardous situations. In the past, we would not even have considered making entry with patrol officers into most of these situations. For most of my career, we handled ‘barricaded subjects’ and ‘hostage situations’ by slowing the action, containing and isolating the scene, and by calling SWAT and Crisis Negotiators.
In my second academy in 2004, we did have ‘Active Shooter’ training and a video made by SWAT. This was a few years before we started hearing about Broken Arrow and MACTAC. Some officers did not seem to want to see the distinction between an emergency entry to stop an active shooter and a standard barricade (even if the subject was shooting inside his apartment or residence). I don’t think they get that much experience with ‘barricades’ because we now have 8 area commands and so many more officers.
My reason for communicating with Lt. Burns (who was in charge of SWAT at the time) was that I was afraid that we might start seeing newer officers getting injured because they seemed to think that we expected them to stack up at a doorway and ‘go in’. We had a major incident on Paradise Road that resulted in some officers being struck by suspect bullets and I believe there was discussion about why we would have approached/attempted to enter if it was not an “ACTIVE SHOOTER”.
Now that we have had a couple of years worth of Broken Arrow/MACTAC training…I see the lack of clarification/understanding and ACCEPTANCE by patrol officers as being even a greater problem.
I know we have come up with better definitions of ‘barricaded’ and other terminology but I saw an example of this again yesterday at AOST. Even though my group of 4 officers were told we were clearing a building on a possible 406…we ‘stacked’ at the door and entered as if we were doing a MACTAC response. We even had an officer grab a shield that was behind a door and we used it for the rest of our scenario. At the end, two officers ‘rolled’ into the room before they saw a subject on a bed with nothing in his hands. Once they entered the suspect came up over a chair and starting firing. The debriefing by the AOST staff pointed to the fact that almost everyone who has done this building search scenario has entered the room – rather than calling out those inside!
They mentioned that your unit is working on some of these officer safety/lessons learned issues. I thought that this would be a good time for me to express my concerns again. When I cover the distinctions between ‘criminal’ events and ‘terrorist’ events or barricades vs. active shooters…I am getting feedback that leads me to believe that many of our officers are going to be making entry when we would rarely, if ever, have made entry in the past. I’m not sure if they have more military training and experience or if they just have not had the differences between the different types of incidents clarified for them. I don’t want them to think they are EXPECTED to walk into gunfire or a clearly dangerous situation – when that is what we do NOT want them to do. I also have concerns that if we truly had a terrorist attack with multiple armed suspects and several fatalities/many victims (including police officers)…that we can’t count on every member of every squad putting on their gear, responding on an actual MACTAC, and going into what might be more like a war zone than a traditional police response. I don’t think that every officer is going to enter the fatal funnel with a handgun and personal body armor…it might not be within their ‘job description’…
I just wanted to let you know that there is far too much confusion right now and maybe the people at AOST (or others) can provide some further information.
I’ve had guys wanting to enter on 405Z calls were they see a shell casing on the porch .. and there are other examples where some officers seem to be willing to expose themselves unnecessarily to dangers that we can deal with if we call SWAT or use our robot, etc… Another aspect of this is the legality of entering a property and how much trouble we might have if things go bad inside.
I no longer work for the LVMPD but recent events demonstrate that there is still confusion over types of incidents, lack of discipline in responding, and lack of organization and control by supervisors. If Metro does not start getting officers reigned in by taking corrective action (including punitive discipline) then unnecessary and tragic results could be future outcomes. Honest and conscientious cops with the LVMPD (current and former) know how many close calls there have been over the years. There are times where you have to take a deep breath, consider the facts known at the time, slow down and realize that Las Vegas has not yet had an invading army, a terrorist cell, or any organized attack involving an organization or multiple attackers (and yes, I am aware of the tragic killings of Officer Beck and Soldo), but even that was not an active shooter incident!
Does it sound like a waste of time to worry about terminology and proper definitions/classifications of crimes? My entire purpose and concern leading up to the 2/17/11 email was the safety of both officers and citizens. After listening to radio traffic and seeing video of the Mandalay Bay Massacre it would not be a stretch to have reports of a military-style attack on the concert venue. There actually were reports of attacks in progress at multiple hotels up and down the Strip. Thank goodness they were all false but they caused hysteria, widespread fear, and probably some injuries.
There is also no telling how many police officer-citizen contacts were made with rifles, shotguns, and other weapons pointed at people and forcefully detaining them. I heard ‘commands’ being shouted as if people were being considered to be ‘suspects’ in some of the radio traffic. It is likely that we will never know how many people were upset with how the police treated them that night. The police must attempt to remain in control of themselves and the situation no matter how intense and tragic it becomes. They are the professionals. They have the training. They should have had plenty of practice on how to implement ‘pre-plans’ and conduct themselves in order to have the greatest effectiveness and to have the biggest impact on saving lives.
COMING SOON: What is a ‘pre-plan’ and is the LVMPD using best practices in their emergency response plans and procedures?
I sent the following email to my supervisor (the late Lt. Hans Walters) in May of 2011. Within two months, I was under investigation for ‘crossing the street’ and was terminated from the LVMPD on 11/17/11…but that is another story.
I had served as the patrol lieutenant with the LVMPD from 1992-1996. I held the title of Emergency Management (E.M.) Coordinator for the LVMPD for over two years. I was involved in pre-planning and working with all other agencies to implement the Incident Command System (ICS) for emergencies and to use best practices for E.M. which include components known as Planning, Mitigation, Response, Recovery.
Approximately 80 Clark County officials attended an Integrated Emergency Management Course” in 1996 in Emmitsburg, MD at the National Fire Academy. This was subsequent to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. We all learned lessons about communication challenges, resource convergence, how incidents can overload capacity to respond, media relations, and how important it is to plan and do table-top exercises and actual drills.
The LVMPD trained and implemented what is known as MACTAC in approximately 2011. This focused on stopping the attacker(s) and essentially did nothing to address ‘all hazards’ emergency management concerns which would include flooding emergencies, earthquakes, hazmat, or a variety of other natural and man-made disasters. MACTAC also did nothing to ‘organize’ the LVMPD response to isolate parts of the Strip or to coordinate with other first responders. I did drills with my squads. We heard alerts for our drills, met a the designated rally point, put on our helmets and arranged other equipment, drove to the scene in a group, exited our vehicles and aggressively entered the location of the (school shooter, terrorist attack, etc.) that was in progress. This training was as much for a ‘war’ (with multiple attackers) than it was for modern, urban, CIVILIAN, policing. It is NOT a one size fits all approach to the wide variety of incidents that need to be ‘managed’ by all emergency responders.
In 1996, the LVMPD had an Emergency Management Plan and so did virtually all other public safety and services agencies. Private property owners (such as the hotel/casino complexes) also had plans for emergencies. I’m sure these plans still exist and have been improved in the past 20 years-I sure hope so!
Rather than saying, “We told you so” (it was inevitable that major emergencies would occur on the Las Vegas Strip), the purpose of me publishing this information is to prompt the media (and concerned citizens) to ACT by asking for answers from government agencies and officials.
- Have plans remained in place?
- Have they been updated and exercised?
- Have they been improved as a result of massive additional funding through Homeland Security/Terrorism grants?
- Are first responders trained on their plans?
- Do they remain disciplined and follow these plans?
- Most importantly, do those plans WORK? (Could the plans have made a difference in the sniper attack from an elevated position at Mandalay Bay on 1, October, 2017?)
Below are two documents which provide evidence there were concerns shared about emergency planning and pre-planning after shootings on the Strip a DECADE ago (and there have been many more since then)…are improvements being made? Can citizens have confidence that first responders will be as highly coordinated as possible, that responsibilities will be clearly delineated, that disruptions will be minimized, and the threat will be neutralized or mitigated, and that this can all be done with life safety as the top priority?
From: Hans Walters [H4231W@LVMPD.COM]
Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 8:24 AM
To: ‘Norm Jahn’
Subject: RE: Strip Emergency Plans
Not that I know of, except for the FD plans that are in place.
From: Norm Jahn [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 8:51 PM
To: Hans Walters
Subject: Strip Emergency Plans
It has been years since the idea came up of how we would isolate different parts of the Strip after a major incident… So far, I think we have a truck with barricades downstairs. We need a pre-plan like the plan at the Sunset Road Post Office if there is a ‘hazmat’ event. This could be carried on the visor of all police cars and we could take up positions that have been pre-established to isolate the area and probably save lives and preserve the crime scene.
I saw A/S Moody at the Sam’s Club gas pumps quite a few months ago and mentioned this idea. We seem to have plenty of people working on the terrorist threats and MACTAC but this is really just a basic expectation of the police as far as I am concerned. Does the LVMPD have a plan in place to isolate and evacuate the Strip??? We could get a good start by copying parts of the lockdown plan for New Year’s Eve.
The tragedy in Las Vegas would have been much worse had all of the ‘regular’ citizens not helped out and had there not been a fantastic collection of people attending the concert or in the area who had prior military, medical, police, fire, EMS, security and other training, experience, and skills.
If there was a way to GUARANTEE even greater response and OUTCOMES (less loss of life and reduction in the severity of injuries and trauma) wouldn’t we all want (and expect) this? Lessons learned from Las Vegas and the other tragic incidents need to be applied and it begins with citizens asking their emergency responders (including the LVMPD) to assure them that pre-plans are in place, that employees are trained and are disciplined enough to follow the plans, and that LEADERSHIP take a strong position on supporting personnel and planning for comprehensive emergency management – not just a terrorist attack fashioned after the siege in Mumbai, India. There have been plenty of opportunities to learn from past incidents and seek and support continuous improvement over the past decade (or two) right on the Las Vegas Strip!