TOURREADY INTERVIEWS FORMER LAS VEGAS SWAT FOR INSIGHT INTO POSSIBLE SWAT BUILDING AT SHOOTING SITE
THURSDAY // JANUARY 18, 2018
Keeping guests safe has increasingly become a frequent topic of discussion amongst law enforcement and all event industry employees.
Last week, MGM Resorts International released a statement regarding a discussion had with the Las Vegas Metro Police about establishing a Metro SWAT team center on the site of the Las Vegas Shooting on October 1, 2017.
The initial news came from activist Laura Loomer on her website, Medium, and soon after reported by other local news sources.
The Village site sits across from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, where 58 people lost their lives and over 500 were wounded after an active shooter opened fire from the 32nd floor. The tragedy is recorded as the worst shooting in modern U.S. history.
The site would not be used as a SWAT training area, MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong told The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The statement reads:
“MGM has had preliminary discussions with Metro regarding the possibility of using a portion of The Village site for the purposes of creating a facility for the Metro SWAT team. The discussions are in the conceptual stages and no final decisions have been made as to the future use of the entirety of the property. However, consistent with our history of working collaboratively with law enforcement, utilizing a portion of The Village site for law enforcement is one option we are exploring with Metro.” - MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong
Although Las Vegas Metro Police Sgt. Jeff Clark described the meeting as exploratory, the important discussion of safety and security at live events rose once again - as it always should.
Would implementing another SWAT facility benefit the city’s safety and security? If so, how much?
TourReady asked international security expert and former North Las Vegas SWAT point man, Dave Acosta, for his expertise surrounding the recent discussion.
“On one hand, absolutely. Having an additional facility where police are working in and out of the building provides a faster police response to that immediate area,” Acosta said.
But in reducing the amount of potential mass shootings in the future?
“SWAT does not respond to mass shootings, so it is not relevant to mass shooting prevention or an immediate response to an active shooter,” Acosta said.
In fact, the first two police officers had arrived to the 32nd floor approximately 12 minutes after the first shots were fired, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Past mass shootings such as the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, Acosta added, had changed everything when armed first responders waited 45 minutes for the SWAT team to arrive - while students were dying.
“Nowadays police academies train recruits using SWAT tactics in every academy curriculum, such as knowing how to properly clear a building,” Acosta said.
Former East Coast detective and Strip security director Dough Poppa told The Las Vegas Review-Journal he found it unnecessary for SWAT to establish another building, since two locations exist on Christy Lane and another near the North Las Vegas Airport.
Additionally, Poppa believes the MGM’s statement is solely a publicity stunt in order to make visitors feel safer. Poppa added the decision for MGM to announce it now would be bad timing since investigations are still ongoing.
Stunt or not, the Las Vegas Metro Police have not confirmed any plans of constructing a new SWAT facility. On the travel industry side of things, people will naturally feel safer with additional police presence in the area.
“Bottom line is, the more police presence and law enforcement structures are visible, the better people will feel,” Acosta said.