David Kohlmeier, who worked as a police officer for 17 years and now is director of client relations at Las Vegas Defense Group, helped the law firm land its new home at a building formerly occupied by the UFC. The office is set for a tentative grand opening Sept. 17.
You’re originally from New York. What brought you to Nevada?
I fell in love with Las Vegas when I visited at age 17. I always thought the hotels, sunny weather and exciting town would be a great place to live. I became a New York City police officer at 22 and served about four years in Brooklyn.
I’ve always wanted to help people and be out in the world making a difference. I moved here after 9/11 and worked as a Henderson police officer on patrol and in the community relations unit. Having that opportunity in a newer city like Henderson was exciting, as was the Las Vegas lifestyle.
How has your service as a police officer influenced your role at Las Vegas Defense Group?
I was the type of police officer who wanted to help and spend additional time to resolve a problem so we wouldn’t have to come back to the same house again and again. I learned to talk to people and help them solve their issues. I actually felt bad for taking some people to jail, even though it was necessary. Life isn’t easy, and going to jail doesn’t always solve the problem.
At the Las Vegas Defense Group, I work with clients to make them understand that there is hope and we will get them through their difficult time. A lot of people need to be reassured. We have people who make mistakes and get arrested. We have people who get hurt in a car accident. All of these people need help to get through the legal system.
What has been your most exciting professional project?
Real estate has been my hobby for some time now. I have attended a lot of real estate seminars and met a lot of real estate investors and agents. I have learned a lot, and I am still learning.
I was able to help acquire the new building for the firm at 2970 W. Sahara Ave., and I was part of the team that worked to acquire one of the UFC’s old buildings. This was a huge deal for the law firm. The UFC spent a lot of money inside the building, and it’s a real beauty.
What do you see as the biggest issue facing Southern Nevada?
Unemployment and our school system: I think the goal is to get people to work and get them jobs. I’m hoping the north Strip projects, the stadium and downtown area really take off. The more projects, the more jobs, the more money that goes into the economy.
We need money for the schools. As a father of two baby girls, I’m concerned about their education. It appears the lottery works well in other cities to bring money into the school system. If everyone is gambling in this town, why not just add a lottery? Let the money help our kids and schools. It sounds like common sense.
If you could change one thing about Southern Nevada, what would it be?
We have a serious issue with the homeless, especially the ones who suffer from mental illness. We need to really tackle this issue. We have tons of nonprofits and money to make a difference in their lives. I have walked through the homeless camps and met with tons of homeless people. I have also worked with Project Homeless Connect at Cashman Center. We need to do more. I urge everyone to work with a nonprofit to make a difference and to teach your kids to give back. Pay it forward.
What’s your favorite place in Las Vegas?
Hopping from hotel to hotel is amazing. Las Vegas is always changing. Some fun places I recommend are Peppermill (fireplace lounge), Mon Ami Gabi at Paris (for people watching and steak), Top of the World at the Stratosphere (for lunch) and Mount Charleston Lodge. Just get out and enjoy Vegas. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I am hoping to take the model of the Defense Group to every state. I would like to create a network of Defense Groups that help people for criminal defense, personal injury, immigration and family law.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I hate people who complain and people who don’t take action. If you want something, get up and go get it. No one is going to give you anything for free. Make the sacrifice and make things happen for you and your family.
Whom do you admire?
I admire people who are real and not fake. Many people dislike New Yorkers because we speak our mind. We may be a little rough around the edges, but New Yorkers are the most honest people in the world. We won’t be walked over, and we don’t stop for anyone. It’s all about survival.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I probably need to relax more. I’m all about getting things done, and it’s my high in life to accomplish projects and to-do lists.
What is something that people might not know about you?
During 9/11, I worked as a police officer across the bridge from the Twin Towers. I was involved with the evacuation of New Yorkers to a safe location. I also helped with transporting railroad crane equipment and lighting to ground zero. I am proud to be a New Yorker and was sad and glad to be part of that terrible day.