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UNLIKELY SHERIFF’S CANDIDATE TAKES ON METRO

<p>Detective Gordon Martines speaking to supporters.</p>

Detective Gordon Martines speaking to supporters.

You may have heard of former Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody. If you follow local politics, you likely have heard the name of Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who is vying with Moody for the job of Clark County sheriff.

If you are that hypothetical person who follows local Southern Nevada politics, you’ve heard of Bobby Gronauer, a former Las Vegas constable who retired from Metro after a 24-year career. You may have heard of Metro Capt. Larry Burns or even Angel Barboza, a District Court marshal and former Wendover, Utah, police chief.

But it takes a real zeal for local police politics to know Gordon Martines, yet another candidate. Martines says he has 39 years of law enforcement experience, but few print publications have covered his campaign. CityLife jumped into the breach.

Martines is technically a Metro cop, a detective, although he’s been on health leave for a couple of years. His campaign platform includes refusing to send friends, family or neighbors to secret FEMA concentration camps and refusing to enforce the Clark County handgun-registration law.

Wearing a sporty blue Hawaiian shirt, Martines spoke recently at a tiny health-food and supplement store in tony Summerlin. (Health-food stores are no longer the province of left-wing hippies.)

“If Martines gets the position of sheriff in this county, things are going to change a bit,” he promised the small crowd of about 20 people squeezed into a storeroom, decorated with a few Ron Paul for President stickers, in the back of the store. “If I am sheriff, there is no law abiding citizen of this county who is going to be sent to a FEMA camp.”

Some people believe that the government is building secret camps to which people will be sent in an inevitable clampdown on the general population. Sightings of black helicopters or National Guard units in training, and reports of emergency response-mass casualty exercises tend to reinforce the conspiracy theory.

Martines seems like a nice guy, but he’s definitely not friendly with the leadership at Metro, against whom he has filed a lawsuit alleging workplace discimination. He makes some startlingly specific accusations against the department, including, but not limited to, a charge that 14 ranking officers of the organization have been implicated in, or are covering up, instances of murder, rape, rape of a child, kidnapping, robbery, assault, and burglary.

“Detective Frank Serpico, when I’m done, is going to look like a schoolyard snitch.” He told the group that ranking Metro officers are complicit in the coverup of at least four murders.

“This is the reason the majority of this community doesn’t trust the police department,” Martines said. “You must have a real cop at the top.”

He said the officers had “ransacked my desk, threatened my life, ruined my health.” Among some significant health issues, Martines said he has been shot. He did not say by whom.

He said a deposition by a former partner at Metro would have uncovered the corruption, but “he lied.”

“They got to him,” he said, matter-of-factly. “There is so much corruption that the public is not aware of.”

Martines’ lawsuit names as defendents Metro, Gillespie, Undersheriff James Dixon, a deputy chief, a sergeant, two lieutenents, a captain, four civilian department directors, Assistant Chief Moody, a Las Vegas cardiologist, and others, including John “Does 1-100.” The suit, in part, stems from a murder investigation in Alamo, in 2001. The case is complicated; Martines, in a deposition in the lawsuit, said an informant at the Clark County Detention Center provided information about the murder of another man, a confidential police informant, in Alamo. Martines, citing the detention center’s inmate, believed that someone in Metro provided the leak that got the second man killed.

But they never found a body.

Martines, at the health-food store, noted that he has been ill for years, and shot once (no one was charged with the shooting), and within the recent past has had heart surgery. Nonetheless, he said he felt fine.

Martines’ lawsuit, filed in 2011, appears to be stalled. His record of electoral success is also, thus far, anemic. He has run four times before for sheriff. But this year, he promises, it is going to be different. “I’ve never been as vocal as I am now.”

Metro did not specifically comment on Martines’ accusations, but in court filings they refer to “the Plaintiff’s unsupported and, candidly, bizarre conspiracy theories.”

Martines told the crowd that he would create a volunteer auxiliary police force answering to the sheriff and join the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a conservative organization devoted to blocking gun-control laws and the Affordable Care Act, among other issues. Martines also noted that he is an “Oathkeeper,” a group of conservative law enforcement officials who have pledged not to confiscate guns were there to be a federal order to do so. (Which seems unlikely, given that liberals can’t pass a law requiring modest background checks for many gun purchases.)

To some people, Martines might seem a bit of a nut. But he certainly has supporters. In the crowd at the health-food store, there was a man, who identified himself only as “a child of God,” wearing a Sharron Angle for Senate T-shirt. Another large man, with a large beard and a small child in tow, had a handgun holstered to his hip.

Some of the people attending said they were with the far-right American Independent Party (of which Angle is a former member). On the table in front of Martines, literature from the candidate for sheriff sat next to flyers for Independent American Party, the Nevada arm of the Constitution Party, candidate for Nevada governor David Lory VanDerBeek, with whom Martines has appeared in web videos. (For more about VanDerBeek, see the Jan. 14, 2013 Las Vegas CityLife.)

But you can find glowing tributes to Martines on the blog posts of zealous self-described patriots who value their vision of the U.S. Constitution, especially the Second Amendment (“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”) and the Tenth Amendment (“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”)

From a blog called Freedom Outpost: “We are taking our country back from the corrupt politicians and law enforcement that has inserted it’s (sic) infectious disease into our once great nation. More and more Americans are understanding the only way we are going to stop this country from being destroyed is to get corrupt politicians, sheriffs, mayors, city council (sic), board (sic) of education, school board members OUT and get REAL constitution (sic) loving Americans elected into these positions. Detective Gordon Martines is just such a man.” CL