It was a packed house at the Las Vegas City Council chambers Wednesday, with most in the audience there to see a promotion.
Surrounded by family, friends and police officers, Christian Montaño, an 18-year veteran of the city’s police force, was named chief of police after nearly three months serving as interim chief. Following Mayor Alfonso Ortiz’s recommendation, the council voted 3-0 to name him to the permanent position.
“I am truly humbled by this honor to serve as chief of police,” Montaño said, emphasizing his “overall vision of a model department committed to excellence.”
“We have a staff that’s second to none,” he said. “Together we can accomplish great things, but there a caveat: We have to avoid the pitfalls of negativism.”
He said the process of selecting his commanders is under way. A dozen officers have applied for four of the department’s top positions — including deputy chief, the position Montaño filled until his appointment as interim chief.
“We have more than enough qualified officers,” Montaño said. “I’m confident we’ll make the right choices.
Montaño, 40, was born and raised in Las Vegas. At 17, he joined the Marine Corps and served in Operation Desert Storm. After four years, he was honorably discharged at a sergeant, returned home and, in 1992, went to work for the Las Vegas Police Department. He was a patrol officer for 11 years, then moved into administration. He was promoted to captain in 2003 then deputy chief in 2006.
In 2004, he attended Northwestern University’s Police Command course, a nationally recognized program to train officers for top-level positions. Montaño is also certified as a physical fitness trainer, self-defense instructor; use-of-force instructor, field-training officer and basic narcotics investigator.
Montaño and Clarence Romero, who retired as captain of the Las Vegas PD, were the only two people interviewed for the job.
Montaño replaces Gary Gold, who retired as chief late last year.
Nearly 100 spectators packed the council chamber, mostly in support of Montaño’s promotion. After the vote was taken to name him chief, Montaño got a standing ovation.