Police Reform in Nevada: The Impact of the 2021 Legislative Session
Following a year of protests and calls for police reform, Nevada lawmakers are expected to conclude the 2021 legislative session on May 31, having debated and voted on a number of police reform bills. During this special program, political leaders, activists and police representatives will discuss which bills passed and which did not, and how these legislative measures will shape the future of policing in Nevada.
This program will be held in The Mob Museum’s Historic Courtroom.
Attorney General Aaron D. Ford
Attorney General Aaron D. Ford, Nevada’s 34th Attorney General, took office on January 7, 2019, making him the first African American to hold statewide constitutional office in Nevada.
A former State Senator, AG Ford previously served as both the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader in the Nevada State Legislature and held leadership roles on several legislative committees. He also spent many years in private practice as a partner at both Snell & Wilmer LLP and Eglet Adams in Las Vegas. Before practicing law, AG Ford served as a public school math teacher, shaping hundreds of lives.
During his term as a State Senator, AG Ford led the passage of significant legislation that required police officers to wear body cameras. AG Ford was also the impetus for a local district attorney to create a “Conviction Integrity Unit” to review cases that allege wrongful conviction.
As the chief law enforcement officer for the state, AG Ford’s goal continues to be helping to protect Nevada families. AG Ford believes there is no task greater than the pursuit of justice and has adopted the office motto of “Our Job is Justice.” His priority areas include what he refers to as the “Five Cs”: constitutional rights, criminal justice and reform, consumer protection, client service, and community engagement. AG Ford has held several town hall forums to talk directly with Nevadans on relevant topics such as racial injustice, law enforcement policies, hate crimes, and identity theft.
Under his direction, AG Ford’s office has made protecting consumers from fraud, scams, and anti-competitive activity a top priority. During his tenure in office, AG Ford’s Bureau of Consumer Protection secured over $85 million in recoveries on behalf of Nevada consumers. Consistent with his commitment to help Nevada families, AG Ford has aggressively pursued those responsible for fueling Nevada’s opioid crisis. He is proud to have obtained the State’s first settlement of $45 million on behalf of countless Nevada families who have lost relatives to opioid abuse.
AG Ford always strives to help those around him, particularly our most vulnerable communities. He has held two statewide law enforcement summits with local and national experts to fight human trafficking; he helps lead Nevada’s sexual assault kit initiative and is proud to have completed the State’s initiative to test nearly 8,000 previously untested sexual assault kits; and he worked with his prosecutors to revive a cold case and bring justice for a Nevada mother who lost her daughter to a brutal murder more than 40 years ago.
AG Ford is proud to have earned five degrees, which include his law degree and Ph.D. in Educational Administration from The Ohio State University, as well as degrees in interdisciplinary studies, international education, and educational administration. AG Ford married his college sweetheart, Berna Rhodes-Ford, who is also an attorney. Together, they raised four children, Avery, Devin, Aaron II, and Alexander.
Leslie Turner, Organizer, Mass Liberation Project
Leslie Turner is a California native, but has lived in Nevada on and off since 2007 when she made her way back to the Valley to complete studies in criminal justice and sociology at UNLV. She brings over 15 years of experience working with adults, youth, and families who have been directly impacted by systematic racism on various levels. She most recently was working in a local juvenile detention center, assisting young people and their families break free from cycles of incarceration. Turner is passionate about ending mass incarceration and the school to prison pipeline. It is with that enthusiasm that she began working for PLAN as the senior organizer for the Decarceration Project. Turner spends her time away from organizing, chasing after her energetic 2 year old son, Nasir.
Senator Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas)
Senator Dallas Harris was appointed to the 11th district of the Nevada Senate on December 4, 2018. After graduating high school in Las Vegas, Dallas began her post-secondary career at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 2008 she obtained a B.A. in Psychology and in 2009 she graduated with a B.A. in Computer Science. From there, Dallas moved to Southern California to study at Claremont Graduate University where she earned a master’s degree in Public Policy. While there she studied economics, cost-benefit analysis, policy analysis, and statistics. This education informs her policymaking today. Dallas then headed to the nation’s capital for law school. During her time in Washington, D. C., Dallas interned at Public Citizen, the Federal Trade Commission, Facebook, and at D.C. City Council. She graduated from the George Washington University Law School in 2005 with a new understanding of law and policy. Since graduating from law school, Dallas has dedicated her career to public service. From 2015 to 2017, she worked as a Policy Extern at Public Knowledge, a D.C. based non-profit that advocates for expanded broadband access and consumer protections. She then returned home to Nevada and took a job as an Administrative Attorney at the Public Utilities Commission until mid-2019. There she gained experience in state government and utility regulation. In 2019, Dallas became a Consumer Rights Attorney in the Adult Guardianship Project at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.
Rick McCann, Chief Legislative Lobbyist, Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers
McCann is originally from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. He received his B.A. degree in 1977 from The Ohio State University and his law degree in 1980 from Western State University College of Law in San Diego, California. McCann moved to Las Vegas in 1980, at which time he joined one of Nevada’s largest and most distinguished law firms. For more than 25 years, he worked with firms emphasizing insurance, self-insured, personal injury, medical malpractice, contracts and business litigation.
In 2001, his work started focusing more on police and fire personnel involving disciplinary, wrongful termination, labor/management and civil rights issues. Although not licensed in Nevada, McCann has become highly experienced in representing peace officers during all phases of interrogation and administrative hearings pursuant to Nevada’s Peace Officer Bill of Rights, including representation at Internal Affairs interviews; pre-disciplinary and pre-termination hearings; arbitration hearings; actions filed on behalf of peace officers before Nevada’s Employee-Management Relations Board (EMRB); lawsuits filed for peace officers before state and federal courts; and he provides on-scene representation for Officer Involved Shootings, in-custody deaths and other critical incidents. He also represents public safety Unions in collective bargaining negotiations and he acts as a lobbyist before the Nevada Legislature and the United States Congress. In fact, McCann lives and works full time as a lobbyist in Carson City during the biennial Nevada legislative sessions.
It was as a result of his experience and success in representing law enforcement personnel that the California Organization of Police & Sheriffs (COPS) asked McCann to become its full time representative when it opened its Nevada office in 2008. In 2009, McCann was instrumental in launching the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers (NAPSO) where he is currently the Executive Director, chief labor representative and legislative lobbyist for NAPSO. In his legislative capacity, McCann and NAPSO became leaders in forming the Nevada Law Enforcement Coalition, a statewide group that represents nearly 10,000 members in Nevada and acts as a single voice for law enforcement’s legislative and political action needs. McCann has become the point of contact and spokesperson for the local and national media regarding issues in which NAPSO has become involved — including gun rights, statewide ballot initiatives, officer involved tragedies, newly created collective bargaining rights for state employees, and questions about statewide and national political issues.
McCann’s experience includes participation in thousands of internal affairs interviews and disciplinary hearings involving public safety personnel, jury and bench trials, arbitrations, mediations and other hearings in the state and federal court systems and before administrative agencies throughout Nevada. He has written and lectured on issues involving peace officer rights, pre-trial discovery, trial preparation, and general civil litigation strategies.