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2008 Media Releases


Date:
January 14, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


MAYOR PRESENTS DECEMBER AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for December to Investigators Gregory Sims and Larry Bratt of the Lincoln Police Department. 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.

Both Sims and Bratt have worked for the City since the mid-1970s. Police Sergeant Kenneth Koziol nominated them in the category of productivity for their work to clear several violent crimes. He cited two cases:

  • Last September, Bratt and Sims were following up on two separate shootings. Sims determined that the vehicles in the two incidents were similar, and found that two suspects had been stopped in a vehicle matching the description. At the first crime scene, the victim’s brother was persuaded to provide information, and two suspects were identified through photo line-ups.

    On October 10, the vehicle was spotted, and one suspect was arrested after he fled on foot. A positive identification was made on the same suspects in the second shooting, and the next day, the second suspect was arrested. One suspect was charged with making terroristic threats, attempted first-degree assault and two counts of use of a weapon. The other was charged with two counts of being an accessory to a felony.
  • When more than 80 firearms were stolen in a burglary at Scheels in October, police had early suspects but no solid leads. The morning of the burglary, an informant identified a person selling a handgun who claimed to have additional handguns as well as rifles. Sims’ plan to try to purchase weapons fell through when the suspects claimed they no longer had the guns.

    Officers then tried to find the suspect vehicle. Through intelligence reports, Bratt linked the suspect to multiple people and addresses. He headed for northeast Lincoln and found the suspect vehicle early in the afternoon. Surveillance was set up, and at about 4:30 p.m., two suspects entered the vehicle. Officers found price tags to the guns on one of the suspects.

    An interview with the suspects revealed the location of many of the guns and further suspects. Sims started a process which resulted in three guns being located. He also obtained a search warrant served by the SWAT Team at about 10 p.m. That resulted in the recovery of 26 firearms, most fully loaded.

    In all, 29 firearms were recovered within 14 hours of the time investigators were briefed on the crime. Five individuals between 16 and 18 years old were arrested. This group had been on a crime spree for several months stealing cars, burglarizing businesses and homes and committing arson.

Koziol said these cases demonstrated great team work, the use of intuition and the value of knowing how to cultivate informants. “The results were produced by hard work, informants, excellent interviews and just plain good police sense and intuition,” wrote Koziol. “Lincoln is fortunate to have officers of this caliber.”

The other categories in which employees can be nominated are customer relations, loss prevention, safety and valor. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee’s job description.

All City employees are eligible for the Mayor’s Award of Excellence except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available on the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: personnel) or 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.


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