Cops busting down doors at the Riviera for training

15 July 2015

It's just like in the movies.

The cops knock on the door, announcing their presence. Then, they yell and bust down the door of the Las Vegas hotel room. With weapons drawn, they're in.

And then it's over.

It's practice.

The scenario has played out at the now-closed Riviera Hotel and Casino as law enforcement agencies and other first responders conduct training exercises at the dormant property while the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepares to demolish it to make room for a Convention Center campus expansion.

"It's fun to watch,"? said Terry Jicinsky, senior vice president of operations for the authority. "There's a lot of testosterone in the building and there's a lot of yelling and swearing when they build up the muscle and anger to break the door down.

"It's great for them because after they're done, they can do it again at the next room, it's real-life practice and they don't even have to worry about breaking down the door because it's going to be destroyed anyway," he said.

Jicinsky explained the use of the Riviera in a report to the authority's board of directors Tuesday.

The authority acquired the 60-year-old Strip hotel-casino for $182.5 million in February and the doors closed in May. Two weeks after the authority took possession of the building, various police and fire agencies made contact asking permission to use the building for training.

Agencies using the Riviera for training include the FBI breaching school and hostage negotiation school, the Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, Federal Air Marshals, the Henderson Police Department's SWAT team, the Metropolitan Police Department's SWAT and Multi Assault Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities teams, the U.S. Secret Service, the Veterans Affairs Police, the U.S. Navy, the Department of Homeland Security K-9 unit and the local police K-9 unit.

Meanwhile, Jicinsky said the authority is bidding a hazardous materials inventory project in preparation for the demolition of the building. He said once the report is completed, the authority may have to take steps to remove any hazardous materials and details of the report will lead to a conclusion on whether the building would be imploded or conventionally demolished.

Separately on Tuesday, three new board members were sworn in, replacing members whose terms had expired. Joining the 14-member board in two-year terms that expire in June 2017 were Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow, replacing Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman; Henderson Councilman John Marz, replacing Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen; and Wynn Las Vegas President Maurice Wooden, replacing Venetian President George Markantonis. Mandalay Bay executive Charles Bowling was reappointed to a new two-year term.

The board also appointed James Wadhams of Fennemore Craig as its legislative representative for $330,000 through the 2017 legislative session, a $120,000 savings from the previous contract. It also approved a $4.7 million contract to build a parking lot on 14.3 acres south of the Las Vegas Convention Center South Hall, awarding the contract to Las Vegas Paving.

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