DTLV sat down with Downtown bureau captain Andrew Walsh on January 5 for the second interview for our 20 Minutes with Captain Walsh series. He was upbeat from having an uneventful New Year’s Eve but also because he was celebrating his two-year anniversary with LVMPD.
“Any time you stay on assignment for a period of time, you get a sense of comfort,” he says. “For me it’s more of a sense of comfort in knowing. Over the last couple years, I learned a lot of lessons about the area of command, the community, the businesses, the people that live here [and] the people that work here.”
But his comfort doesn’t bring complacency. We mentioned in the first installment that 2016 was an unusually tough year with a high number of violent crimes. We talked to Walsh about his goals for 2017 and how he intends to accomplish them.
We’ve had some horrific violent crimes in 2016 that just shock your conscious, but there were people in the community that got involved.
A Silver Lining: “If you can take away any moral victory, even though overall there were more violent crimes, there were fewer homicides,” Walsh says. There was 18 total.
New business attributes to safer streets, but Walsh says simply having a presence and interacting with the community adds to this as well. A “good report card” that they’re improving, he says, is seeing more people outside, pushing strollers on the sidewalks and enjoying their day. Another is community cooperation.
“We’ve had some horrific violent crimes in 2016 that just shock your conscious, but there were people in the community that got involved,” he says. “The feeling I get is that when there is a murder in some of these neighborhoods, everyone knows who did it except the police. So if you get the everyones who know to tell us what they know and help us put a case together, that takes that violent offender off of the street. But that takes having to have confidence in the police.”
The goal for next year is to reduce violent crimes (shootings, stabbings, murders, sexual assaults and robberies) 10 percent, which would equal 85 incidents total. In order to do so, he has to continue to build that confidence.
In trying to make an inroad with the community, part of the process for me is getting people to see cops as human beings and as people who care.
“In trying to make an inroad with the community, part of the process for me is getting people to see cops as human beings and as people who care,” he says. “What people usually see is the enforcement end, the stoic [cops] …sometimes I see [the uniform] as a barrier.”
Now Hiring: Sheriff Lombardo’s tax initiative to hire more cops was approved last October and the Downtown bureau is hiring to fill vacant positions. Walsh says Lombardo has given him the tools he needs to do his job, but it takes about a year for the hiring and training processesto see the effects.
“The good news is we are going to be running monthly academy classes starting this spring so the bodies will be in the pipeline and flowing steadily,” he says.
And they are hiring civilian positions as well.
“You don’t have to be a cop or corrections officer,” Walsh says. “We need good people from the community to come to the police department. We have jobs. We are hiring for everything.”
If you are interested in applying, visit protectthecity.com.