Sheriff candidates hit at Metro's 'fender bender' policy - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Sheriff candidates hit at Metro's 'fender bender' policy

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Metro police on Monday announced officers will no longer respond to non-injury auto accidents.

The department says responding to each and every fender bender costs it about 250 man hours each week. Critics say the move could increase insurance costs and lead to dangerous situations.

The field to replace outgoing Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie is crowded. FOX5 on Tuesday spoke with a few of those candidates to get their take on the department's policy change.

"This is a giant, big mistake, and anybody who came up with it has got to be dumber than a rock," said sheriff candidate Gordon Martines.

Candidate Robert Gronauer said the change could leave drivers with higher insurance rates without a third party at a crash scene to determine who was at fault.

"[Drivers need] somebody who can just stand there and say, ‘Hey, hold on a second,' and be unbiased and make a report for the insurance companies, more than anything," Gronauer said.

Metro said the move will allow officers to focus on serious accidents and the prevention of road fatalities.

"They have plenty of officers who are nothing more than citation writers. If we have to diminish the number of citation writers, then so be it," Martines, an experienced police detective, said.

Gronauer said the recent failure of the More Cops tax initiative is no reason to punish taxpayers with a reduction in service.

"I joined the Metropolitan Police Department in 1974. We handled traffic accidents. There's nothing wrong with the patrol bureau handling minor traffic accidents," he said.

Sheriff candidate Ted Moody echoed his competitors' opinions, releasing the following statement to FOX5:

"It's almost unbelievable, but sadly this is a perfect example of the misguided thought process from the current administration. Yes, I want our cops to be focused on the incidents that matter most, but punishing the community by taking away services because you can't manage your budget is another in a long list of poor decisions by this administration."

Gronauer and Martines both said that if elected, the new policy will be reversed.

"I believe the citizens right now are discouraged with the service they've been receiving before this happened," Gronauer said.

FOX5 on Tuesday reached out to candidates Larry Burns and Joe Lombardo, but neither was available for comment. The Las Vegas Police Protective Association said it is still reviewing the policy and will have no comment until that process is complete.

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