Officer of the Year 2015
Captain Jeff Bucher
Sergeant Jeff Bucher, a nearly twenty-five year veteran of the Lincoln Police Department, has served as a uniformed supervisor on the street, a Sergeant in Criminal Investigations and in March of 2015, was promoted to the rank of Captain. The following narrative will focus on the last several months of his assignment in Criminal Investigations - a very successful assignment, indeed!
In June of 2013, two random and senseless homicides occurred early one morning. In separate incidents, two men were beaten to death as they walked on the streets of Lincoln. Numerous investigators within LPD collaborated on the initial investigation. Sergeant Bucher, however, inherited the lion's share of responsibility, decision making and coordination of the investigation. Several viable suspects were developed initially and Jeff spent a considerable amount of time and effort in attempting to prove or disprove the information pointing to these individuals. Sergeant Bucher demonstrated an ability to sift through what appeared to be reliable information versus that which was frivolous. He remained focused, no matter how difficult or hopeless the case seemed to be. He pressed on from late June through early November of 2013 when he finally received the critical break needed to link the suspects to the homicides. Within a week, two suspects with gang affiliations were arrested. As is usually the case, the hardest work occurred following the arrests and Sergeant Bucher continued to build airtight cases against the suspects, despite complications surrounding the lack of cooperation from fellow gang members as well as witness tampering. Another seven months passed and thirteen months following the murders, the suspects pled guilty to manslaughter.
Lincoln saw a series of armed robberies in the winter and spring of 2014. Again, Jeff teamed up with other investigators to clear the cases. Jeff was involved in the surveillance and subsequent interviews of the suspects when they were arrested. In another series of events - two robberies, felony assault with a firearm and a homicide, which began in the fall of 2014, Jeff gained the trust of four individual victims, convinced all four to identify the suspects and again coordinated the investigation with the County Attorney's office. Jeff interviewed one of the suspects and obtained a confession to a home invasion robbery that linked all three suspects to the crime and identified the person responsible for the homicide. In both of these instances, Jeff was straightforward with not only the officers he worked with, but with everyone he met in conjunction with these crimes - from the victims to the parties responsible. He has the innate ability to gain the trust and cooperation from most people he encounters, which no doubt, played a significant role in the clearance of all these very significant cases.
Sergeant Bucher has the respect of his coworkers. He seeks input from others and expects excellence not only from himself, but from his fellow officers, too. Jeff stresses the importance of family - at home and at LPD - and that could be one reason Jeff has a measured sense of empathy for victims and their families. The City of Lincoln is fortunate to have officers of Jeff's caliber who continue to make our streets safe. He is one who would rather not have the recognition or would prefer to share the recognition with others - that's an integral part of his character. However, a vast majority of his coworkers would agree he deserves high recognition for his accomplishments and contributions. The Awards Committee falls within that majority and is very proud to present Sergeant Jeff Bucher with the 2015 Officer of the Year Award.