Shayla Funk Libel Judgment
As the Chief of Police, I accept the responsibility for the missteps that occurred when Ms. Shayla Funk was improperly accused of fraudulent activity. It was also inappropriate for a member of the Lincoln Police Department to label Ms. Funk as a "crook" on the Crime Stoppers webpage and Facebook page. For these actions, I apologize and I am sorry that this happened to Ms. Funk. I believe the investigation into this matter did show that Ms. Funk was NOT responsible for any criminal activity.
Generally the department has done a very good job in investigating these matters. However, in this particular incident we had an officer who had been operating independently for just over 6 weeks who was detailed to this criminal offense. While he had been with the department for over a year, most of his time with the department had been in training. While the initial part of his investigation was appropriate, he failed to investigate the additional information that Ms. Funk had provided to confirm her story.
We received a Crime Stoppers tip on a Friday advising the posting of Ms. Funk on Crime Stoppers was still posted. On the following Monday, when staff came to work and saw this information, the posting was immediately removed. The Facebook page was maintained by a different unit. The Facebook page continued to show a partial photo. However, it didn't show her face or contain her name.
We have addressed these issues internally and are writing new guidelines to ensure this can't happen again. We are not a perfect police department. We have made mistakes in the past and we will make mistakes in the future. However, when we do make those mistakes, we will accept responsibility for them and we will adjust our procedures accordingly. I am sincerely sorry for any negative impact that has occurred to Ms. Funk, personally and professionally.
Chief of Police