LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- In a joint press conference late Wednesday morning, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo and District Attorney Steve Wolfson reassured the public that local law enforcement remains in full force, despite closures brought about by COVID-19.
Both Wolfson and Lombardo underscored one point: serious crimes will take precedence. Lombardo said the majority of southern Nevadans are following orders to stay home, but if large numbers of people begin disregarding the governor's latest directives, he’ll focus on crime first and the governor's social distancing mandate second. Sisolak's new 10 people or less directive will be enforced by police at grocery stores, but officers will use their discretion, the sheriff said.
Those found committing such crimes will be cited, arrested and/or prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
"I think criminal acts will take priority and then we’ll do everything within our resources to continue to address people in violation to the governor’s directives," Lombardo said.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said his staff is still prosecuting criminals for the most serious of offenses like violent crime.
"The criminal justice system is still in operation and you should have faith in that system," Wolfson said. "If there are individuals that take advantage of the system, I'm going to be taking a look at those cases."
Less serious, non-violent crimes are being delayed for now and will be prosecuted at a later time.
"As the district attorney, I want this message to be clear," Wolfson said. "People who think this time of crisis is a good time to take advantage of others through scams or other criminal activity will face tough prosecution."
When asked at what point his department would need help from the National Guard, Lombardo said it was too early to tell how the coronavirus pandemic would impact public safety, adding he would make the decision to ask for help when the time comes.
But with the wave of closures and local government directives comes a wave of anxiety. To those people, Lombardo stressed patience.
"I think the best thing I can give as far as public safety is: we're there," Lombardo said.
Lombardo also said LVMPD is providing additional security resources for businesses experiencing a surge in customers.