Joseph Michael Lombardo is an American law enforcement officer who is serving as the 17th sheriff of Clark County, the head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), the combined law enforcement agency for Las Vegas and Clark County. Lombardo has held this office since 2015. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Lombardo is not running for re-election as Clark County Sheriff and is instead the Republican nominee for the 2022 Nevada gubernatorial election. Former Nevada Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison serves as campaign chairman for Lombardo's gubernatorial campaign.
Life and career
Prior to election as sheriff
Lombardo was born in Japan on November 8, 1962. His father was an Air Force veteran. He moved to Las Vegas in 1976 and graduated from Rancho High School in 1980.
Lombardo served in the U.S. Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve. He became an LVMPD officer in 1988. He rose through the ranks, becoming a sergeant in 1996 and a lieutenant in 2001. In October 2011, Lombardo became the assistant sheriff in charge of the law enforcement services group, which included the department's divisions in charge of technical services, information technology, radio systems and professional standards.
Lombardo holds a B.S. in civil engineering, and a master's degree in crisis management, both from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Tenure as sheriff
On December 4, 2013, Lombardo announced his candidacy for sheriff of Clark County. On November 4, 2014, he won the election by a close margin of 51% to 49% against former Democratic LVMPD Captain Larry Burns, who was endorsed by former Democratic Clark County Sheriff Jerry Keller and outgoing Democratic Nevada Attorney General (now U.S. Senator) Catherine Cortez Masto. Lombardo was endorsed by former Republican Clark County Assistant Sheriff and 2014 candidate Ted Moody, former Republican Clark County Sheriff Bill Young and outgoing Republican Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie.
Lombardo took office on January 4, 2015. After becoming sheriff, Lombardo began the decentralization of LVMPD's detective operations, shifting detective operations from centralized crime-specific units to distribution of detectives throughout eight geographic commands.
In 2016, Lombardo connected the Las Vegas crime increase to a California law named Proposition 47 reducing prison overcrowding. Later that year, Lombardo responded to questions about a recent spike of violent crimes in Las Vegas, saying that the surge "keeps me up at night"; also in 2016, Lombardo disagreed with FBI director James Comey's statement attributing a recent spike in violent crimes in Las Vegas to a so-called Ferguson effect (or "depolicing" effect). In December 2016, Lombardo supported a high-capacity magazine ban, a call supported by the Las Vegas Sun editorial board.
Lombardo oversaw the investigation into the 2017 Las Vegas shooting at Mandalay Bay and Route 91 Harvest, the deadliest mass shooting in the modern history of the United States. Sixty people were killed in the shooting. In 2019, Lombardo's department issued a report recommending many changes to improve the police response to future critical incidents.
In 2018, Lombardo won re-election in the June 2018 primary election with 73% of the vote. defeating four challengers. He was sworn in to a second term on January 4, 2019, and during the ceremony touted an expansion of the LVMPD's staff levels during his tenure (an increase of more than 900 officers and 280 corrections officers).
2022 Nevada gubernatorial campaign
Main article: 2022 Nevada gubernatorial election
On June 28, 2021, Lombardo formally announced his campaign for Governor of Nevada. He won the Republican nomination on June 14, 2022 with 38.3% of the vote, defeating 11 other candidates including Reno attorney and former boxer Joey Gilbert and former U.S. Senator Dean Heller. He will face incumbent Governor Steve Sisolak in the general election.