Q&A: Officer Haynes
What makes working the Strip special?
The Strip is unique. It's a 24 hour party with hundreds of thousands in attendance at any time. As a cop you never have to look far to find something "interesting" to get involved in. Being a cop in Vegas is almost like working in an amusement park, constantly changing, very chaotic and always a good time. I refer to this as "controlled chaos." We can't stop the chaos but we can direct the ebb and flow and control the outcome to some extent.
What is the single most important skill you need to be a cop on the Vegas Strip?
The ability to communicate is by far the most important skill needed to be a cop. On the Strip, that is more critical than most places in the country. Las Vegas brings people from all over the world. Some of them speak little to no English, and are intoxicated or under the influence, making communicating effectively difficult. My job is to resolve problems in the least intrusive manner possible. If I can do this with effective communication alone then I consider that a win.
What is the most outrageous thing that's happened on the job that the cameras missed?
I can't even begin to list them all, but the camera catches only a tiny portion of the action on the Strip. I've seen everything from a car in the fountains to naked streakers to insane celebrity-filled after parties. I once saw a massive drunken birthday party with hundreds of British Marines. The Strip is truly a place where thought becomes action. If you can think it, you can see it happen on the streets of Las Vegas.
Has your life changed at all as a result of being seen on the show? Do people treat you differently while on the job?
My life has not changed in any way. I have been around for a while and had the opportunity to compete as a professional athlete on national television a few times. The exposure is not new to me and truthfully, helps me do my job. If a person believes they "know" you, even from television, it often takes the initial difficulties out of an encounter. I think of it as an instant ice breaker. If I'm recognized thanks to Vegas Strip, then contact is made, a conversation starts, and provided I ask the right questions, the rest takes care of itself.
What's an interesting thing about you that the audience never gets to see?
I compete as a professional Mixed Martial Artist, which is a big part of who I am. I have fought for a long time and competed on some of the biggest shows out there. The sport has helped me tremendously on the job, not because I fight more, but the training helps to make sure I don't have to. There is a certain way fighters carry themselves. A person can often spot a trained fighter. This works to my advantage. I train and I fight so I don't have to fight. Does that make sense?
Do your friends and family watch the show? Do they like it?
My friends and family like the show, maybe because they can tell that I'm the same on and off camera. The way I handle business does not change at all once the cameras are on. I love my job, and I think that comes across on the show.
What advice would you give a visitor to Las Vegas to insure they have a great time but also stay out of trouble?
Come to Vegas, have fun, let loose… but don't forget- you're still in America. We are a society of rules and laws, the vast majority of which were put in place to protect you and those you love. When you come to Las Vegas, treat the locals and those who are visiting as you would visitors to your own home. It's the Golden Rule, treat others as you wish to be treated.
What do you do to relax? Do you spend your downtime having fun on the Strip?
Down time? What is that? To relax, I read and train. I'm not much of a drinker and I don't really party. That being said, I still love the Strip. It is absolutely amazing. When night falls it glows and draws people like moths to a flame. That is a big part of why I work the Strip. I figure I'll eventually slow down. It will probably happen the day I take the long sleep. Until then, I'll just do what I do and find my peace in those instances where I know I have done something worthwhile. Something good.
What advice would you give to a new cop who just started working on the Vegas Strip?
If you're new, get off the Strip! This job requires two things in a cop: experience and desire. If you are young and haven't been on the job long, the strip is not for you. You also have to want to work the Strip. If you don't have a willingness to deal with the chaos combined with an understanding that you can't ever stop it, the Strip will eat you alive. Many good cops have lost their livelihoods when the Strip sucked them into the same nightlife they were trying to police. If you're a new cop, cut your teeth elsewhere before you come here. It will be good for the people you are helping and even better for you.