Opinion: Addressing violence is not the time or place for politics | Rick McCann – Reno Gazette Journal

This opinion column was submitted by Richard P. McCann, J.D., the retired executive director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers.
As the recently retired executive director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, I can say unequivocally there is no place for politics or partisanship when it comes to condemning violence. But some politicians these days push their partisan spin at every opportunity, displaying their lack of character and morality to all who are watching.
When a video surfaced of two men accosting the governor and making violent threats as he and his family attempted to enjoy a meal together, I, like many Nevadans, was disturbed and disappointed by what I saw. But I was equally disturbed and disappointed by the lack of condemnation from the Republicans running for the highest office in the state.
After working closely with law enforcement for decades, I know the only appropriate response to the incident is to outright condemn it. No excuses. No ifs, ands, or buts.
And yet, not a single candidate running for governor could do that.
Two candidates — Michele Fiore and Joey Gilbert — applauded the attack on the governor and argued he deserved it. The mere thought that either of them could lead our state is frightening but, in all honesty, their responses weren’t surprising. Disgusting, but not surprising. They are, after all, the poster children for political extremism.
The truly surprising response came from Sheriff Joe Lombardo. The top cop in the largest county in Nevada denounced in one breath the near violence faced by the governor and his wife, while in the same breath referenced the governor as his political opponent and commented on his frustrations with the governor’s policies. Really? That’s the time and place to address politics and boost your campaign?
The sheriff of Clark County, or any law enforcement officer, should be able to openly condemn an incident of violence and threats to another — irrespective of who the victims are — without lowering himself to political commentary and promoting his partisan campaign. His statement was nothing short of inappropriate and disappointing.
There’s already an uptick in violence in Clark County with homicides and assaults spiking since last year. When Valley residents are depending on our sheriff to keep them safe and quell heightened levels of violence, there’s no room to give excuses for aggressive behavior.
We deserve better from our law enforcement officials than those who prioritize their political ambitions over the safety of Nevadans.
Some politicians will do anything to get elected. It shows with every candidate who chose to cloud the attack with partisanship rather than humanity and empathy. It shows in the way they are willing to sacrifice their integrity and character just to win an election. But we should be better than that.
It’s times like these when the character of these candidates is truly on display and it is up to Nevadans to hold them accountable, regardless of their political party.
Richard P. McCann, J.D., is the retired executive director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers.
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