Breaking Down Barriers

Join hosts Walt Walters and Earl White in this insightful episode as they sit down with Sheriff Joe Lombardo. The conversation delves into critical issues facing Nevada, including the need for building trust between law enforcement and the community, the importance of diversifying the state's economy, and the impending challenges of water scarcity. Sheriff Lombardo's candid discussion offers a glimpse into his vision for Nevada's future and his plans for addressing these pressing concerns.

What is Breaking Down Barriers?

Every 2nd Sunday of the Month, Walt Walters and Earl White from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department discuss local Las Vegas community issues and outreach programs.

Kevin Krall 0:00
You're listening to special programming brought to you by Glow fitness. The content of this program does not reflect the views or opinions of 91.5 Jazz and more. The University of Nevada Las Vegas or the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education. breaking down barriers is brought to you by Glo fitness a fitness studio offering a variety of classes and sessions like Mommy and Me for mothers wanting to connect with their children through fitness offering strength training boot camps and more. Glo fitness is located at 40 to 50 East Bonanza Road Suite 19 specials and class schedules are available at glow fitness dot Vegas or glow fitness dot Vegas on Instagram more information by phone at 702-612-6414 is massive. Born in God in any

Earl White 1:01
way. Welcome to another segment of breaking down barriers would walk neuro today and we'd like to thank you for tuning in this morning. We have a very special guests. I'm going to live wild. Go ahead and introduce our special guests this morning.

Walt Walters 1:25
Earl Thank you. I appreciate this. We're excited about our guest today. Our Sheriff Joe Lombardo is here. He He's very busy. But he took the time to come in and talk to you and the our audience and Earl and I about what he's done and what he's been and for all these years. 30 years or so, here in in Las Vegas. Joe welcome.

Unknown Speaker 1:49
Well, it's been 34 years on apart. I've been in town over 45 years. That's great. I'm just correcting you a little bit. Well, thank you.

Walt Walters 1:59
I can say a correction. That's great. All right. Our first question is just that. Joe, tell us about kind of your career and schooling and everything that you've done here in Las Vegas.

Unknown Speaker 2:11
Oh, absolutely. And thank you for having me. And thanks for the questions. I'm a little nervous about what questions you're gonna ask me though, but we'll get through it. So. So I was born in Misawa, Japan, a lot of people don't know that my dad was in the Air Force there. Obviously stationed in Misawa. And then, after I was born, we bounced around Europe for a period of time and then I ended up in Las Vegas. He was stationed out at Nellis Air Force Base. And I attended local high school here in Las Vegas, Rancho High School, go rams, rams go rams. You know, over in North Las Vegas, and then after graduating high school, I decided going United States Army. I was there for a period of time until I I was able to separate because I had an intention to enter the ROTC program here at UNLV. And UNLV, I got a master's or not a master's, a bachelors in science, and also had an obligation to the military. So upon graduation, from UNLV, I had to go back into the military. I was signed assigned both at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Fort Lewis, Washington. And then I got deferred from the military. So I can come back to Las Vegas, I joined the Nevada National Guard as part of continuance of my obligation to the military. And at the same time I did a fortunately, did a ride along on the police department. All right. And that's where I got the bug. You know, I didn't work anything into my science career, I worked for a short period of time for a civil engineering firm in Garden Grove, California. At that same time, I had friends back in Vegas, I did some visits, they were police officers already jumped in the car with them. And I decided to take the test to be a police officer because what I was doing was boring. Sure. And being a police officer was a lot more exciting. You know, a lot of people they make that canned answer when they say Why do you want to become a police officer is because, you know, for the people to help the people and do better. Yeah, that that's what came along the way. But the original one I was young kid man, I just wanted to have fun, right? Sounded exciting. Sure. And then, as I progressed through my career, obviously, it was for the benevolence of helping folks and and paying attention to the weak and people that couldn't help themselves and making our society or our communities better all along the way. And then, you know, in the in the thrill of critical investigations and all those things as you can imagine, but while I will was in the early throes of my career on the police department, I decided to go back to UNLV and get my master's degree in emergency management. I thought it was part and parcel to what I did as a leader on the police department and something critical I could utilize into the future. And as you very well know, we've had some critical incidents here in town. And I think that education has helped me in management and providing leadership in that endeavor, no doubt. And then, and then, fortunately, well, let me back up a little bit. So Doug Gillespie was the sheriff at the time that I'm making reference to and he had it fully intended to run for a third term as Sheriff. And eventually he changed his mind. And he approached me and asked me if I would consider it and I said, Yeah, of course I would. It wasn't on my radar. I was gonna get him through his election. And I said, yeah, if the opportunity presented itself, I was going to take advantage of it. So I ran for sheriff got elected in 2014. took office in January of 2015. And I've been your sheriff here in Clark County for going on eight years. Right. Yeah. And then, so the other piece on that is, is who the hell is Joe Lombardo? Well, I got a family and I'm married. My wife is Donald Lombardo. She's in the real estate profession. And she brought two kids to the marriage and I brought a daughter to the marriage, and she has a daughter, who works for the DEA slash CDC. Her son's going to college in Salt Lake City, and my daughter just finished law school. Wonderful. Congratulations. She's about to take the bar exam. So we got her fingers crossed there, she can work for the DEA is off. Yeah, she applied. Excuse me, the DEA already hired her one and they give them an opportunity. I believe it's 12 months to pass the bar to stay in appointment with the DHS office. So that brings us to today.

Walt Walters 7:05
Yes, sir. Okay.

Earl White 7:08
Thank you, sheriff. My question is, as governor, what would your top three priorities for our state would be?

Unknown Speaker 7:17
Well, that's fairly simple. I mean, I've talked about it through this year of campaigning. And I think there's three components associated with my platform that are more most important to me. And hopefully, it's most important to the people in Nevada. And that's the one is diversification of the economy. We saw as a result of COVID, you know, the failure of us to diversify our economy here in the state of Nevada. You know, unfortunately, we had to shut down businesses as a result of COVID, we saw that that problem reared its head, but I haven't all our eggs in one basket. So what I mean by that is, is the majority of our economy is based on gambling. Right. And, and we know across the United States that different jurisdictions are looking for already have gambling to solve their budget rules. And so that's going to make it harder and harder for us to compete in the national picture, it diminishes our tourist volume incrementally year over year, so we have to look at diversifying the economy in the state of Nevada. So we have longevity in perpetuity. In other words, we got to be able to sustain ourselves into the future, and not constantly have to reinvent ourselves every couple of years. So that's, that's my first priority. And how we do that is we make it attractive for businesses to put the roots down here. And in the Las Vegas Valley, more importantly, in like in the manufacturing space, you know, to include agriculture and livestock. I mean, that's a smaller portion of what we deal with in the rural parts of Nevada, but more urban parts of Washoe and Carson City and Douglas and, and, and Clark County, we have to look to bring those companies in, that have a robust workforce, ability to pay high paying wages commensurate to the work responsibility and diversify the economy that way. Second would be education, I personally believe the state and no no fault of any previous governor, they just haven't made it a priority enough for us to be successful in that space. We've, we've constantly aerated at the bottom of the barrel or when we evaluate or education processes and and we have to make that a priority and provide, you know, simple things like parental choice on school choice, you know, diversification of the workforce, workforce development, and then you know, things like opportunities scholarships, make them widespread and more available to the students take advantage of and we also have to try for Kate the state and what I mean by that is a lot of time our response Once in the state of Nevada is one size fits all. And that's not the case and my travels during this campaign, it's more than no more, it's more evident now than ever before that, that Northern Nevada is different than Southern Nevada and the rules different than the rest and in how we approach problems is is a three way address of the problem. We don't We can't paint us all with the same brush, we have to address the particular issues of those dynamics individually. And then third would be law and order, public safety, as we can see, and the proliferation of crime across the United States in the last couple of years. And in the violence, increasing the last couple of years, in particular to our youth, we have to make approaches from a different paradigm. And we have to make it a priority. And we had to fully support our law enforcement and our ability to do their job to include the judiciary and the ability to do their job. And the incarceration piece, put people in jail that deserve to be in jail, and the ones that don't give them option, give them resources, give them rehabilitation, all the other things that we can do in lieu of making them productive system citizen in the United States versus sitting in a jail cell at the expense of taxpayers.

Walt Walters 11:19
Absolutely, you know, when you mentioned that we see in some of the I think New York Cities, and LA is a pretty good example. They arrest people, enforcement, police do their jobs, and then they get released. Right? And some not all of them, but some of them are pretty serious criminals. Right. And so by getting our judiciary in order and working with law enforcement, that'll be what a difference.

Unknown Speaker 11:48
Yeah, quite often, you know, here in Las Vegas, in particular, Clark County, I personally believe we have a very good da, I think the DHS office does a robust job and prosecution of criminals. And unfortunately, some ill intended laws coming out of the legislature have softened that attitude towards crime, and it prevents even the DA from achieving the prosecution or the level of sentencing associated with the crime is committed to levy that upon the criminal and, and we're seeing that that detriment in that progressive thought, in the unintended consequences of that progressive thought, occurring in jurisdictions as you described, world and it's, and society is suffering pharma, and people are scared, and people need to have a quality of life that ensures them that they feel safe, when they go to church, when they go to work, when they go to entertainment, whatever they may do. may do so they're not having to hide in their house, in fear of what might happen to them, or their children or their kids.

Earl White 12:53
Sheriff, let me ask you this question. What, from the start of your career to now what do you think it's the big what have you seen as being the big difference between the police and the community?

Unknown Speaker 13:08
Well, I think you're talking about are you talking about type of crime? Are you talking about

Earl White 13:14
talking about relationships? Yeah, the trust? Okay. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 13:16
Well, when I first started, there was, I don't want to say there wasn't any trust. It was basically John Wayne effect. And within law enforcement, what I mean is that we don't need your help, we could do all this on our own. We're, we're the 800 pound gorilla, we're going to take care of society's problems on her own. And we soon not soon, it took us a long time to realize and you know, it's sort of sounds humorous, but it isn't. When you look at it in practical measures, it's a it's unfortunate, it took us a long time to realize that we needed the community to be part of us to be part of the community and community to be part of us. And, and for us to understand that we needed a community to have that trust factor to help us be a force multiplier and achieve what we're trying to achieve. And that's everybody's perception of safety and reality of safety. So I think over time, all I answer your question is the level of trust, you know, and it's gone up and down. It's not, it's not an actual loose, it's a constant battle. We have to work at it constantly, constantly, but the head of an organization that has influence on the law enforcement structure has to be part of the answer. And in other words, they have to embrace that concept and and force it to not force it hopefully convinced the troops to that's part of the solution, versus just going out and hooking and booking and and hoping that the jail will solve the problems. We're seeing the error of that mindset. And law enforcement has come a long ways in that space. Absolutely, absolutely.

Walt Walters 14:54
Yeah. Joe, you. You've answered this question to a certain degree. I just want To make sure we cover it. Nevadans across the state are really struggling financially right now, as you know, between inflation taxes, high cost of goods and $6 a gallon, gallon gas. Nevada families are struggling to pay rent, buy groceries and get gas as governor, what would you do to help Nevadans and improve our state's economic outlook?

Unknown Speaker 15:23
Right, great question. I think that's probably the most important question. In today's environment, I'll start a crime. You know, what, what can we do for you, because most of us aren't affected by crime in our lives. So what are the rest of the people concerned with nasty economy, you know, when you pull up to a gas pump, whether you can afford to put gas or you can take your kids to school and go to work, or whatever it may be? we all we all understand the issues or whatever the carton of eggs cost and as compared to what it was three years ago, so inflation, that's that's the secret word. Right? And and what can a governor do in that space, because inflation is more influenced by the federal space than in the local states. And we have to suffer as a result of those decisions coming out of the beltway. And my opinion, my simple economics 101 opinion is when you print money, without assets to back the money that that causes inflation, and how do you address inflation, that's the real interest rates. And we all suffer us, you know, mom, and pop and, and the kids and all our family members, friends, we all suffer as a result of that, that mindset, if you're extend one, the other one, reacts, counter reacts. It's simple math. And so they answer the question presented me it was as governor, what can you do about what one is, is expand the economy. One is create jobs. And the rest of it is ensure that the jobs are pay well paid jobs, not just minimum paid jobs, jobs that can help you sustain your quality of life, and make a decent living, and fulfill that vision, if you want to have a family to be able to pay for that family and sustain your family in a safe, beneficial way. That's what the governor can do. So you know, when we're talking about bringing in companies to put roots down in the state of Nevada, ensure that those companies are bringing jobs that are high paying jobs?

Earl White 17:26
Absolutely. You know, Sheriff, your dad, your new granddad, congratulations. Oh, yeah,

Unknown Speaker 17:33
oh, I'm gonna get in trouble.

Earl White 17:37
And once old? And so what six one of the biggest issues facing our education system? And how would you address those issues as governor

Unknown Speaker 17:48
was cut? Well, remember, I explained earlier, we, we tend to paint the whole state is with one brush. And we have to have an understanding of their education system as a whole. So in Northern Nevada, the issues up there may be different than Southern Nevada, and may be different than the rurals. And, you know, I just got done with on the campaign trail, a little rural tour, and I had the luxury of run into a couple of teachers, and they told me what the particular issues they were dealing with. One is Teacher availability, unfortunately, I just went to the town of Tonopah. And the young lady who's a teacher there, so she was the only teacher in the high school. And, and my, yeah, she was on her own. And so they had to change their learning environment by becoming virtual, so the kids will still go to school, they're going to have facilitators there to ensure that we, they don't have discipline problems, but the kids are being prevented from learning because they have to learn through a TV screen. And we know how that works. Because we experienced it through COVID. You know, you got to have that socialization, and you have to have one on one influence in the in the curriculum and the education environment for you understand it, you got to be able to do public speaking in front of your students and all the things I'm speaking to the choir, you guys understand that. So as the governor, the governor can address that issue, one is to pay has to be commensurate to the obligations associated with what the teachers need there, it's a little bit different, the people, the teachers have to travel more often not great, great lengths to get to where they're teaching, to address the students that are under their authority. So you know, and the per pupil funding formula associated with the State's got to be a little bit modulated. In other words, you can't have the same amount for a student in Washington as you do in Clark as an rurals. So those simple things have to be modified as part of the problem or part of the solutions. And to the future. When you get into Washoe. You talk to the teachers up there and it isn't, it isn't necessarily Your space problem like it is in Clark County. So the average for my my studies average teacher per student ratio is about one to 20. On the national average, in Clark County, it's about one to 40. So how can you create an environment of education amongst those kids and restorative reform? In previous legislative sessions, they decided to remove discipline as part of the process for disruptive kids. And it was more of a counseling type approach versus, you know, discipline type approach. And we see that that start that's failed, expected, in particular to Clark County. And you know, in Clark County, we got to have a increase in infrastructure to address that teacher per student ratio. And recently, the numbers are 1200 vacancies. So how do you fix that 1200 vacancies, you know, do you? Do you decrease the size of the administrative staff and put those individuals back into the teaching mode versus administrative mode, you got to look at different ways of doing business. And we've been doing it by the same old model for a long time. The other thing is interesting enough, in Clark County, they went from a performance model to an attendance model, and determining whether kids graduate or not, or grade level. So at a minimum, you're going to achieve a passing level within the education system simply by attending and not performing. So those kinds of things we got to get away from, we got to look at some of the old traditional ways to do it read by three before you advance. There's there's all kinds of mechanisms that we can put in place that the current administration and have failed to address it. And I think we can get there. I know we can get there. And then quite often they talk about the overwhelming size of the Clark County School District, whether it be better managed, if we broke it up, that needs to be robustly evaluate your robustly evaluated, because when you have a very sizable organization, it tends to take an exorbitant amount of ministration to manage it. And maybe we can have those administrators be teachers. And in lieu of. So those are the kinds of things we need to think about.

Walt Walters 22:13
Very important. Very important.

Unknown Speaker 22:17
And you say, Well, what's that got to do with the with the governor? Well, the governor provides that vision, he provides that direction, and you know, in the state controls, the purse strings is granted through local school boards provide a lot of that direction. But it still comes from the top. Right. And there has to be obligations associated with the distribution of funds.

Walt Walters 22:40
Okay, that's great. Sheriff, I'm going to ask you a question. And it's going to be a kind of a basic question. But I think it's the elephant in the room these days. about water? Are we are we going to have any water left in two or three years? And just your thoughts on it in general?

Unknown Speaker 23:01
Yeah, you know, what's interesting about politics? And I'll answer your question here in just a second anything about politics? It's usually the whatever the problem of the day is, right? And we're the week and, and they seem that they people seem to think that's the answer to all the problems and society is that one particular problem of the day, you know, whether it's Roe versus Wade, or a number of different things, associate crime, anything that you can imagine, but this water thing has been hanging over our head for decades, right? It's decades, unfortunately, we've been restricted by the Colorado River pack. You know, here we here we go. Again, I'm backing up a little bit and I'm bouncing around a little bit, but it's a cry for catered issue in the state of Nevada, the agriculture in the rurals. And the issue of watering efficiency of watering and reservoir system and irrigation or flood, flood irrigation, those kinds of things have to be looked at with more modern technology. In Northern Nevada, we have a lot of runoff of water that we can capture, recapture, recycle and realize, and we're failing to do that. But they're not necessarily in a dire need, like we are here in Southern Nevada, and Southern Nevada, we depend on 94 95% of all our consumable water via the Colorado River, Colorado River, right, and we see what's going on out at Lake Mead. So in that river, that pack associated with the allocation of that water was written in 1922. Interesting enough, it was one of the wettest years in history, right so didn't know everything. And the intent was to provide water in the majority to Southern California for agriculture. And we didn't come on let's be frank, we didn't have that much of a resonance our population population in Southern Nevada and, and but yeah, we've come a long way since 1922. So and we're seeing our errors are failing to address it sooner than later. I think part of the problem is each time a politician cycles through they, they just worry about it until the end of their cycle. Right? The next person person's problem, right? But you know what to be to be frank, though we got to we're gonna have to do some remediation, some of draconian remediation sooner than later. Yes, we do have eight years of supply available. And we haven't had to dip into that yet as a result of the level of Lake Mead. But we're soon going to be looking at starting to dip into that. So what is occurring is, I believe it's 2426, the Colorado River packs gotta be renegotiated, we're going to have to figure out some different remediation numbers for each state that participates in part of that pack, to adjust for current population structures. And then we're going to have to address right now we're addressing new construction as far as green space. And you know, that's the outside of agriculture, the number one use of water is landscaping. And so we got to figure out whether we adjust that now and even go backwards and provide, you know, subsidies for people to remove the green spaces of businesses and residents to address that, sooner than later. So there's some things that we can do on the forefront. And to be frank with you, we've done a fantastic job of remediation, and last decade, we are using water consumable water less now than we did 10 years ago, and we have more population. Why is because we've made it an area of concern, but we need to rise it to a level of higher concern than we have ever done before. Because what happens with that you have contraction in the economy. And eventually you have arid, arid space and in the Western United States, and people don't live here. Sure, right. Sure. So,

Earl White 26:55
you know, Sheriff, we have a minute left. And I'm gonna give that minute to you to just speak to our audience and just tell them what they can expect. Once you're in office as governor.

Unknown Speaker 27:06
Yeah, exactly. Well, before we make that leap, let's talk about how I get there. Right. So I need everybody's support. I need volunteers. Every successful campaign is success based off volunteers. I need folks to if they're interested, and they want to sign up or they want to participate, no matter what the measure the means, may be you can go to Joe Lombardo for, Joe Lombardo for And I can answer a lot of these questions you presented today and other questions that might be on people's mind. And you can also figure out how you help the campaign for a successful campaign come November.

Walt Walters 27:43
Awesome. Listen, thank you for being here. Thank you. Absolutely. For the opportunity. Know how busy you are.

Unknown Speaker 27:50
And I appreciate you guys doing what you do.

Walt Walters 27:53
We're not important, right? Yeah, you're

Unknown Speaker 27:55
Yeah, you're part of that what we've talked about trust.

Earl White 27:59
Well, I'm I like to end with this. I think that as Sheriff, you've been a great example for this city. Yes, sir. Your leadership, your direction, your just your involvement within our communities, especially in some trying times is has been way above any public servants. I can remember and I've been in politics a long time. But we'd like to thank you. We'd like to thank you and, and I'm speaking for members of this community, too. We'd like to thank you very much for your service as the chief law enforcement officer in southern Great job, you've done a great job, great job. It's

Unknown Speaker 28:36
also made my hair gray.

Walt Walters 28:37
Well see I gotta thank you all.

Earl White 28:42
Thank you share our pleasure. And thank you listening audience again Until next month, breaking down barriers will be in August and we'll see you again in August. Thank you very much for tuning in.

Kevin Krall 29:08
breaking down barriers is brought to you by Glo fitness a fitness studio offering a variety of classes and sessions like Mommy and Me for mothers wanting to connect with their children through fitness offering strength training boot camps and more. Glo fitness is located at 40 to 50 East Bonanza Road Suite 19 specialise in class schedules available at Glo fitness dot Vegas or Glo fitness dot Vegas on Instagram. More information by phone at 702-612-6414

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