City of Lincoln
2006 Media Releases
Mayor Coleen J. Seng today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for March to Crime Analyst Charlene Estes. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City. The award was presented at the beginning of today’s City Council meeting.
Estes has worked for the Police Department since March 1982. She was nominated in the categories of safety and productivity by her supervisor, Sergeant Dick Kohles, for her work leading to the arrest of a suspect for burglary and sexual assault.
Last December, Estes was meeting with Police Chief Tom Casady to prepare for an evening meeting on crime trends. Casady reviewed a burglary and attempted sexual assault case that had occurred a few days earlier. Estes noticed that the crime bore several similarities to a crime that had occurred more than four months earlier. In both cases, the victims were Asian women, the burglar had tried to sexually assault the victim, and entry was made into a ground floor apartment by forcing open a window. Both victims also gave similar descriptions of the suspect.
The possibility that a serial rapist was at large was discussed with police personnel at the evening meeting. A detective recognized the similarities of the crimes with a burglary she was investigating. In that crime, the victim was not at home, but the entry was a ground floor window, and the resident was an Asian female. In this case, a suspect had already been identified through a fingerprint. The next day, this information was shared with all officers at shift briefings. The case took on a high priority, and for the next two weeks, officers actively sought the suspect. He was arrested January 6 and is now charged with several felonies, including two counts of attempted rape.
In his nomination, Kohles noted that Estes made the initial connection despite the fact that more than four months had elapsed between the cases, and hundreds of burglaries had been reported over that time. He said if Estes had not made this connection, the suspect could be at large today. Even if he had been arrested, he would have been charged only with a single, and much less serious, count of burglary.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are customer relations, loss prevention and valor. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor’s Award of Excellence except for elected officials and some managers. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are reviewed by the Mayor’s Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $100 U.S. savings bond, a day off with pay and a plaque. Monthly winners are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $500 U.S. savings bond, two days off with pay and a plaque.